Industry Insights

Jisc using data analytics ‘for good’ in education

Panintelligence recently attended an intelligent campus Hackathon at Aston Conference Centre sponsored by Jisc, and came away with some great insights into how data is being used ‘for good’ in education.

The five-day challenge brought together 12 teams to explore digital solutions to problems on campus. Teams had to bring their own idea for how technology could improve education, research, and student life based on their own experiences.

Student data collected by universities and colleges has huge potential to help organisations to tackle big strategic issues such as improving student retention, boosting attainment, and providing a high-quality learning experience.

Making Business Intelligence available for SMEs

With the wealth of data available, the challenge for organisations is how to make sense of that data and get timely insights to inform future strategies. Business Intelligence tools have been around a while and allow users to interrogate data easily and spot patterns and trends, but due to the hefty price of the biggest solutions, these tools have often been out of reach for SMEs and public sector organisations with limited funds to spare.

Newer self-service tools are now highly affordable and, increasingly, organisations are looking to use self-service analytics to go one step further in gaining deeper insights from their data and allowing them to understand not just what is happening, but also why things are happening and then being able to use those learnings to improve future outcomes.

Jisc is a great example of such an organisation, using ‘learning analytics’ to help educational organisations to improve student outcomes.

Jisc is a membership organisation providing digital solutions for UK education and research. Their Janet Network is a high-speed network which supports over 18 million users and is the busiest National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Europe. We can only imagine the amount of data being collected and processed on such a network!

Here are just some of the ways Jisc is helping educational organisations to improve student outcomes.

- Identifying at-risk students to stage interventions to maximise their chances of success

- Understanding how the curriculum is functioning to plan and implement improvements

- Reviewing data about student engagement with their learning activities such as lecture attendance, online learning, assessments and achievement of learning targets

At the recent Hackathon, the Jisc team were exploring how data could be used in ‘the intelligent campus’. SafeHouse LoRa sensors were being used to collect temperature data from lecture theatres and meeting rooms to understand how the learning environment is influencing student outcomes. Panintelligence dashboards allowed the team to visualise heat map data from the sensors to enable decision-making.

The Panintelligence software keeps pace with evolving technologies such as AI, machine learning, and IoT, and because we partner with leading researchers through our work with universities and government committees, we will ensure it remains fit for purpose and relevant.

New products such as Pi Analytics enables businesses and organisations to self-serve analytics and make key predictions to improve outcomes. Putting tools in the hands of the domain experts and ensuring they are as user-friendly as possible delivers data insights in context and can help organisations thrive. The team at the Aston Conference Centre came away with some great insights into the power of data being used ‘for good’ to benefit students and the university too.

Sue Attewell, Head of Change, Further Education and Skills at Jisc, said:

“We’ve run these kinds of events before, but rarely have we been in a position where solutions are ready for the market at the end of a challenge.

“The basic problems that inspired all these products came from real user experience, and this is what allows students to think about solutions differently to institutions. That's the main reason we do these challenges.

“We are grateful for the support of Panintelligence for this successful event, including the provision of technology that can be used to highlight the impact of the intelligent campus.”


Phil Richards, Jisc’s Chief Innovation Officer, said:

“Jisc and Panintelligence have a common agenda to understand how the power of data can help students and institutions. We are working with our members to explore opportunities to use intelligent campus data to enhance the student experience and bring benefits to universities and colleges.

“Jisc plays an important role in leading research around the possibilities of data and analytics in education. We bring together researchers in universities interested in exploring the power of data and analytics with companies who have similar interests.

“We welcome companies like Panintelligence, who are willing to participate in the data and analytics research network. Panintelligence’s expertise in data and analytics tools aligns with this work.”

About Jisc

Jisc is a not-for-profit organization, providing the UK’s national research and education network, Janet, and technology solutions for its members – colleges, universities, and research centres. It is funded by the UK higher and further education and research funding bodies and member institutions.

Jisc does three main things for its members:

1. Operates and develops the super-fast and secure Janet Network and its built-in cyber security protection

2. Helps save time and money by negotiating sector-wide deals with IT vendors and commercial publishers

3. Provides trusted advice and practical assistance on digital technology

Jisc’s vision is for the UK to be the most digitally-advanced education and research nation in the world.