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Macon State Implements Analytics System for Data-Driven Decision Making

Macon State College in Georgia has implemented an analytics system to evaluate academic initiatives and measure progress.

The state's higher education completion plan, "Complete College Georgia," has tasked the state's colleges and universities to increase student retention, and University System of Georgia has implemented performance-based funding practices. In response to these pressures, administrators at Macon State are making the college more "mission-driven" and basing decisions on hard data, a change that required the college to implement an analytics system to evaluate its academic initiatives and progress toward meeting its goals and benchmarks.

The college selected Blackboard Analytics, which "unlocks" data from the college's student information system. The college faculty use reports and dashboards from the system to track student outcomes and determine whether courses are meeting their objectives. The system also helps administrators determine retention rates and make plans to improve them. So far, administrators have used Blackboard Analytics to optimize the college's course offerings and campus space. The faculty have already used the data to revamp a remedial class after data from Blackboard Analytics indicated that its success rates weren't meeting expectations.

"Our department was able to confirm that success rates for an introductory level course increased after being redesigned," said Barry Monk, chair of mathematics at Macon State, in a prepared statement.

Blackboard Analytics integrates with numerous enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, including Oracle PeopleSoft, Ellucian Colleague and Banner, and Blackboard Learn. According to the company, the Blackboard Analytics suite of products provider higher education leaders with "on-demand access to metrics and data for informed decision-making regarding enrollment management, academic affairs, finance, advancement, and more."

Macon State College is located in central Georgia, with campuses in Macon and Warner Robins. The college offers 18 bachelor's degrees and 33 programs of study to its nearly 6,000 students.

Further information about Blackboard Analytics is available on the Blackboard site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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