Diverse, inclusive illustration with zeros and ones to represent data

How can data support inclusive teaching?

Reflections on completing the inaugural year of learning analytics microgrants in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB)

4 microgrants were awarded for the 2022-23 academic year—and the impact and ripple effects for students, departments, schools, colleges and colleagues continues to grow.

“Based on my reporting of this research to my department, I’ve been connected with department leadership and our director of corporate relations. This mini-grant has had an immediate, tangible impact on our department’s DEIB efforts. We’ve made 3 years of progress in just 1 semester.”

—Andy Kuemmel (Computer Sciences) investigated why students were not enrolling in a course designed to meet their needs for academic support and belonging.

“I had a fantastic time meeting and learning from the LACE group (Learning Analytics Center of Excellence). The teaching techniques they shared with me have made a significant difference, and my students have quantifiably enjoyed the new strategies (as seen in the poster).”

—Kaiser Pister (Computer Sciences) focused his project on understanding question patterns of students in classrooms.

“Our goal was to evaluate current strategies to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment in our 1st-year, team-based engineering course. This microgrant has provided us with valuable resources to analyze current data, and plan new strategies to promote inclusion in the future.”

—Tracy Jane Puccinelli and Sara Hagen (College of Engineering) collaborated on how to best foster a collaborative and inclusive environment in a 1st-year, team-based course.

“We sought to understand course grade disparities among Doctor of Pharmacy students by disaggregating data and looking at both demographic and learning analytics variables through a regression model. While our selection of variables is discussed, we suggest how others can disaggregate their data to examine similar learning disparities in their settings.”

—Beth Janetski and Casey Gallimore (Pharmacy-Pharmacotherapy) collaborated to conduct a systematic review of learning disparities in Doctor of Pharmacy courses.

The microgrant program is a collaboration between the Division of Information Technology: Learning Analytics Center of Excellence and Academic Technology and the Division for Teaching and Learning: Student Learning Assessment and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring. It was created to encourage innovation, exploration and iteration in teaching and learning that supports diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging through the use of learning analytics.

Project teams were awarded $5,000 over the course of an academic year and worked with a resource support team that could help them with evaluation, analytics, pedagogy and data governance support. Teams were also provided with an individual point person to help them navigate their action research project. Participants met regularly as part of a microgrant learning community to collaborate, obtain support and share what they learned with each other.

The 4 microgrants have already impacted over 1,500 students across 3 courses and 4 programs. Microgrant project teams have shared their projects at local and national conferences to talk about how incremental change from a DEIB lens advances equitable student success and outcomes. Participants discuss how their work is helping them connect with colleagues and stakeholders to talk intentionally about their work, and how actionable innovation can make a big difference.

Although the projects have officially concluded, participants have plans for next steps:

  • Beth Janetski and Casey Gallimore are taking their work to the Pharmacy Education Annual meeting this summer.
  • Kaiser Pister has created a chat application as a result of his project and is looking forward to connecting with others on making it work for students’ sense of belonging and engagement in their classes.
  • Sara Hagen and Tracy Puccinelli are looking at how to create a sense of community in the 1st-year engineering class with some redesign ideas on how to intentionally build a team.
  • Andy Kuemmel is working with student organizations to make sure student voices are heard in the next phase of his project.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about the amazing work of the participants, please access the slides from the 2023 Teaching & Learning Symposium presentation and view more details about each project on their individual posters. Interested in submitting a microgrant proposal for the upcoming year? Find out more.