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University of Nevada, Las Vegas Melds Operational Intelligence with Learning Analytics

For several years, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has used Splunk Enterprise to monitor the efficiency of its IT infrastructure and to help identify potential issues. Now, the institution is tapping into the analytics platform for academic research, mining data from the learning management system to better understand how students learn.

UNLV first used Splunk in its Network Operations Center "to ensure fast resolutions, system uptime and performance across the university," according to a press release. For example, the technology will help keep UNLV's web and network infrastructure running and handle expected traffic spikes when the university hosts the final presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Operational successes led the university to look for ways to expand use of the technology, according to Cam Johnson, manager of the Network Operations Center. "We immediately made an impact across networking, datacenter and application support using Splunk Enterprise as our platform for machine data. Inspired by Splunk's flexibility and impact out of the box, we quickly realized we could expand our use of Splunk into academic research too," he said in a statement. "Our research into how our students learn is helping us identify where and when student support is needed, enabling instructors to lead students toward academic success based on early indicators. Retention, progression and completion are very important to our mission and Splunk helps us meet these goals."

Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, UNLV researchers are now using Splunk to gather clickstream data from the LMS and analyze which learning resources and behaviors most impact student performance. The university has developed an Early Warning and Learning Strategy Intervention program, which uses the data to help identify at-risk students and intervene by providing customized learning materials. As a result, UNLV has seen up to a third of students in pilot programs improve from C grades or lower to A or B grades, with lower class dropout rates overall.

For more information on UNLV's use of the technology, visit the Splunk site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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