Data Empowered Educational Practices (DEEP)

“We care about student learning, and we have access to data that, if used properly and responsibly, can help us advance equitable student learning. This includes carefully considering what we can do and what we should do in the context of our legal obligations and our ethical commitments.”

John Zumbrunnen, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning

Core Values of DEEP

Data Empowered Educational Practices (DEEP) are guided by the following values:

  • Mobilizing institutional data to enhance and advance student learning
  • Centering principles of equity, inclusion, diversity, and belonging in our educational practices in order to advance high-quality learning for all students and enable students to thrive academically.
  • Affirming the agency of the learner.
  • Respecting instructors’ academic freedom and intellectual property.
  • Embracing both the innovative potential of data and our ethical responsibilities and legal obligations in shaping teaching and learning practices.
  • Developing a path for collaboration and creativity with, and service to, university partners.

Strategic Commitments

As we engage in and promote the use of DEEP, we will:

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Focus on Student Learning

Using data to enhance and advance student learning is at the core of DEEP. As part of engaging in DEEP, we explore opportunities to draw on different approaches to, and understandings of, academic excellence and equitable student learning (e.g., measures of climate, engagement and belonging) within the classroom, while continuing to leverage available curricular and student measures such D/F/drop rates, retention rates, graduation rates and time-to-degree.

Collaborate with Campus Partners

The success of DEEP at an institutional level depends upon collaboration across multiple university divisions and school and college departments. This collaboration initially builds on the foundational commitments and contributions from the Division for Teaching and Learning, Division of Information Technology and Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research.

Responsibly Democratize Data

The ability to engage – and be successful – in DEEP, relies significantly on providing appropriate access to, and understanding, the data. Engaging in DEEP means recognizing data generated through student learning has inherent value as a strategic asset. These practices abide by the Institutional Data Policy and its associated implementation standards and data management approaches.

Use Multiple Methods and Approaches

Advancing DEEP will involve multiple approaches including: 

  • Using standardized, enterprise-level data visualizations, such as visuals that depict course profiles and grade distributions.
  • Supporting data utilization at the departmental and program levels, such as reviewing how course prerequisites are met, examining digital tool usage across a department or considering data tied to program learning outcomes.
  • Engaging in data-informed course design/redesign, which may include activities such as reviewing student engagement with digital course resources to determine which resources are consistently used by students.
  • Creating and supporting opportunities for data empowered innovation by individuals and teams across the university, such as reviewing maps of quiz/exam items to course learning outcomes.

DEEP Efforts

Learner Activity View for Advisors (LAVA)

Currently in the pilot stage, the Learner Activity View for Advisors (LAVA) is a learning analytics resource that provides academic advisors with high-level, real-time trend data about student performance and engagement in courses.

DEEP Microgrants

DEEP Microgrants support instructors as they explore how student learning can be enhanced by drawing on data to empower key educational practices before, during and after a course.

Committees and Working Groups

As previously mentioned, engagement in DEEP has been happening across the university for quite some time. The effort to more formally bring together the work – by name and in practice – is being coordinated through the following groups:

  • DEEP Executive Strategy Committee
  • DEEP Practices Coordinating Group
  • Ad hoc DEEP working groups, which include colleagues from the Division for Teaching and Learning, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Data, Academic Planning and Institutional Research (DAPIR), and schools and colleges.

This network is actively working to identify partnerships and opportunities across the university, with the DEEP Executive Strategy Committee ultimately responsible for determining how to prioritize partnerships and opportunities.


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