Applications for Analytics Labs – now open!

We are delighted to announce that we are recruiting participants for the next cycle of Jisc’s popular Analytics Labs, running from week commencing 15 October 2018 through to week commencing 4 February 2019.

What is Analytics Labs?
Analytics Labs is an exciting research environment within which we co-design new data derived products and services with our members and other customers. It is offered free to Jisc and HESA members.

What is involved?
We are offering an exciting and unique opportunity for data analysts (with experience in Tableau and/or Alteryx or related products) from across the higher education sector to join our agile analysis teams developing proof of concept outputs for redevelopment and release to a far wider audience.

The effort required is just one day per week for twelve weeks (plus a day either end of the cycle for start-up and showcase events). Most of the time will be spent working remotely with team members from across the sector. You will also meet face to face with your team on a monthly basis. For that level of commitment, you’ll get a fantastic professional development experience as we create new content through:

  • Accessing a wider range of datasets than is currently possible, for safe experimentation purposes
  • Identifying currently unknown trends and insights to provide an evidence base for sound business decisions
  • Innovating through collaborative working, for example across institutional functions

In addition to team members we are also seeking team leaders. These will be heads, assistant heads or similarly senior roles charged with steering their team towards creating widely applicable outputs for demonstration at the end of cohort showcase event. Again, this role provides the opportunity to gain/enhance professional development experience in a number of areas, including providing leadership in a largely remote working environment. We anticipate the effort to average out at around 8 days for an entire twelve-week development cycle (this includes 5 days of face to face activity – start-up, showcase plus 3 team meetings).

There is no charge to take part, however participants are expected to cover their own travel and subsistence costs when attending face to face project meetings. Further details on Analytics Labs and the benefits of getting involved can be found on the Jisc Business Intelligence web page.

How do I apply?
We are taking applications for the upcoming Analytics Labs cycle running from:
Week commencing 15 October 2018 – week commencing 4 February 2019

Please note: you must be available for a face to face start-up event in Manchester on Thursday 18 October.

Application is open to Jisc Higher Education members only via an online form. This should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. Amongst other things you will be asked to confirm that you are able to commit the time required and have your employer’s full support to do so; indicate the themes/areas you’d be interested in exploring and explain in 500 words or less your relevant experience/why you’d like to be involved.

Applications close on 29 August 2018. We will inform successful applicants during September 2018.

What do I get out of it?
We provide a technical and legal framework, including governance (advisory group who oversee and guide themed activity), data protection training, project management, technical and data consultancy; access to data for experimentation purposes and all software (supported by technical experts).
In addition to this support, participants can further develop their experience and skills in:

  • Tableau – leading edge data visualisation software
  • Alteryx – an advanced data manipulation tool
  • Big data
  • Data science techniques and software
  • National data landscape – the what, where and how national data can apply to enhancing education
  • Agile development methods
  • Cross-institutional collaboration

Lizzie Haynes, Policy and Planning Analyst at the University of Bath and an Analytics Labs participant commented on her experience, “It’s a fantastic opportunity to work with people from different organisations to produce data visualisations and dashboards to benefit the sector.” Would Lizzie recommend the Analytics Labs experience to colleagues? “Yes absolutely. It was useful, we all got a lot out of it and it was really fun, so yes, I would definitely recommend it!”

What themes will the Analytics Labs be working on?

Teams will be exploring the following themes, as determined via our established stakeholder group. In return participants receive support and further develop skills.

  • Diversity benchmarking – covering e.g. Equality accreditation, Stonewall and Gender Pay Gap, Athena Swan, Race Equality Charter, others, may include staff and student body.
  • Learning analytics – Using selected ‘learning analytics’ data to improve mandatory data returns and performance metrics. Continuation of existing use of learning analytics data for student engagement benchmarking and insights.
  • Postgraduate research – including time to completion, completion rates, supervision and staff profiles, etc. To complement work already done in Labs on PGT admissions and REF 2021.
  • Professional teaching qualifications – Use HESA Staff return data (ACTCHQUAL) possibly with data from HEA to profile number, percentage and trends of academic qualifications held at institution and by subject, benchmark with relevant groups.
  • Financial sustainability dashboard and modeller – Operationalise range of financial health measures e.g. from providers and/or as set out by Council of University Chairs (CUC) and the Office for Students (OfS), Financial Sustainability Strategy Group (FSSG). Support University Executives in reporting to Governing Bodies.

We will acquire the relevant data for these themes and support our teams in agile rapid proof of concept product development.

What happens to the outputs of Analytics Labs activity?

All outputs are demonstrated to peers and representatives of the wider community at a showcase event.

The most promising dashboards and visualisations for higher education use are redeveloped by in-house staff into highly valuable suites of product. designed to help with easy exploration and decision-making within the sector. These are released through HESA’s Heidi Plus HE intelligence platform as ‘Community Dashboards’. Enquire how to access Community Dashboards via Heidi Plus.

Previous Analytics Labs participants have delivered insights into a range of areas including HE finance and the impact of Brexit, league tables, postgraduate teaching tracking and tracking the student journey and we’re always looking to build on and develop some areas and explore others.

Please email us if you have any queries.

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