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Public Sector

Data-driven insights to improve teaching and learning through the Unizin Data Platform are now available to any college or university

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When the University of Minnesota realized that Minnesota was facing a talent shortage in the critical field of healthcare, they knew they had to do something. The question of what action to take, however, was daunting. Though universities hold a host of data about their students, it can be difficult for university leaders to access the right data housed in multiple siloed systems to make decisions for educators and students. The University of Minnesota decided to address this challenge head-on. As a result, they are powering student success through a partnership with Google Cloud that brings together innovative education technology and data-driven insights to accelerate healthcare student learning, with the goal of addressing Minnesota’s healthcare talent shortage.

The data-driven insights surfaced through the Unizin Data Platform are key to the project. “The NXT GEN MED project leverages the important work completed by our technologists and data analysts, the Unizin consortium, and Google Cloud in the establishment of the Unizin Data Platform. Without that effort, the University would not be positioned to embark on this exciting project.” says Bernie Gulachek, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the University of Minnesota.

A new data-driven solution for higher education

Google Cloud has teamed up with Unizin, a nonprofit consortium of 14 leading higher education institutions, to broaden the availability of its Unizin Data Platform (UDP) to all institutions. Unizin created the UDP, an integration and warehousing solution for data generated by learning tools, to help institutions share and analyze data from Learning Management Systems and Student Information Systems, such as video management tools, proctoring tools, assessment platforms and more. The UDP collects, cleans, models, curates and stores all teaching and learning data to create a holistic view of each student.

Previously, the UDP was only available to consortium members. But now, Unizin and Google Cloud are providing all colleges and universities, including those who are not members of the Unizin consortium, access to the learning data platform. Institutions can adopt the UDP through the Google Cloud Marketplace, allowing them to use learning data to deliver more effective and engaging student experiences, and know which levers to pull when challenges arise.

“It’s not easy for higher-learning institutions to aggregate, analyze, and use learning data at scale—nor can many institutions, except for the very largest, operationalize learning data in advising, business intelligence, and machine-learning initiatives,” notes Cathy O’Bryan, Unizin’s CEO. “The UDP frees up colleges and universities from the technical challenges of integrating, normalizing, and managing data, so they can focus on using data for insights to enable student success during and post-college years.”

Accessing teaching and learning insights to support student success

Smart analytics provide the data and analysis that educators need to improve student engagement, achievement, and retention. The UDP enables schools to use their teaching and learning data for student insights, business intelligence, advising, and research. They merge data from learning management systems, which makes it easier for educators to generate reports and gather details, such as a student’s level of class participation, learning tool use, course design, and other topics. Institutions can glean insights more quickly. Educators can see which educational methods are most effective and if particular students are falling behind.

We believe that a data-informed academic mission must play an essential role in helping every student reach their potential. Every week, we see our institutions leveraging the Unizin Data Platform to engage, enrich, and empower their students and instructors with data, analytics, and insights.Etienne Pelaprat
Chief Technology Officer of Unizin

The UDP works with Google Cloud solutions to aggregate data from teaching and learning platforms and make it accessible through tools that campuses may already be using. So institutions can ensure that learning data use conforms with their student privacy practices, and they can govern access to learning data across their own organization and third parties.

“Data has value when it’s easy to gather, manage, and understand,” said Steven Butschi, head of education for Google Cloud. “By partnering with Unizin, Google Cloud helps institutions make a large leap in their digital transformation, helping enable smarter decision-making at scale.”

Colleges and universities face a critical need to improve their insights in order to support student success. Even after the pandemic recedes, educators and students will still be adjusting to very different learning environments. You can get started today with the Unizin Data Platform in the Google Cloud Marketplace.