University of Gloucestershire
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"[OCLC has] been a great partner so far at the University of Gloucestershire. They’re very open to innovation and sharing ideas and working together really in a collaborative way. It’s been very positive from my point of view."
Associate Director of Library Technology and Information, University of Gloucestershire
The University of Gloucestershire prides itself on the high level of support it provides its students and sets itself high standards in terms of student engagement and personalized support. These goals fit very well with Jisc's vision, which is why OCLC and the University of Gloucestershire have collaborated with Jisc to share datasets from WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) and EZproxy® hosted services to generate valuable insights into the library’s impact on learning.
“We’ve always prioritized student support and retention,” said James Hodgkin, Associate Director of Library Technology and Information, “and when Jisc started looking for pathfinder institutions for a UK learning analytics project, we were keen to get involved.”
The implementation of WMS at University of Gloucestershire provided a great opportunity to build learning analytics capabilities into a library management system from the ground up. The project has analyzed user transactions involving both print and electronic resources datasets from WMS’s circulation data and EZproxy’s detailed usage logs.
Integrating the data feed with the university’s student record system opens further insights. Although the university focuses on general student engagement without the need for title-level data, Lee Baylis, Senior Analytics Innovator at Jisc, sees the potential for this data more broadly. “With the user ID, we can now link to the student’s course and department,” Lee said. “So, we can see how many students in a certain course accessed ScienceDirect, for example. The student record data that we hold is quite comprehensive, so we can even start to compare library resource usage across demographic groups.”
“What we’ve done for the University of Gloucestershire, we’ll be able to extend to other OCLC members. We’ve got the standard processes and data structures in place to process WMS and EZproxy data straight away.” --Lee Baylis, Senior Analytics Innovator, Jisc
Libraries could include other sources of library data into learning analytics, including gated entries and reading lists. By using the data provided by WMS and EZproxy, it is possible to map student behavior to reading lists and to identify which items the student has borrowed. “Alternatively, we can identify items that they didn’t borrow, which academics can use to refine their reading lists,” said Lee. “We can also start to map the transition from prescribed reading to self-directed learning.”
Ultimately, with a more granular picture of student engagement than qualitative student feedback can provide, the university will be in a stronger position to apply the right support and interventions to each student. This gives the library an increased profile in terms of its impact on student success.
James and Lee are working to increase the profile of libraries in the emerging area of learning analytics. “It’s not universally accepted that all library usage data should be involved in learning analytics,” said Lee. “But we see library attendance and resource usage as fundamental indicators of student engagement.” By working closely with OCLC and Jisc, the University of Gloucestershire has taken a leading role in evaluating WMS and EZproxy data and contributing to Jisc’s national hub for the benefit of all UK libraries.
- Supports libraries on each of the university’s three campuses for 8,500 students
- Includes the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society Library, which holds 12,000 titles dating from 1520 to the present day, as well as the Independent Television News (ITN) Stills Archive, which has photographic stills from the 1960s to the 1990s documenting national and international news
- Makes more than 100 laptops available across the three libraries with loan periods from two hours up to one week
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