Creating Framework for Connecting Learning Analytics with Course Design

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

In this presentation, we will discuss our journey to create a framework for incorporating learning analytics into our instructional design processes. While our final goal is big, we started small and employed bottom-up approach by identifying a few courses and recruiting interested faculty for the pilot. We will share what we’ve learned during the first six months of this journey and where we are heading next.


Alena Rodick is an Interim Assistant Director of Instructional Design at SUNY Empire State College. She has been a Co-Pi and/or project member on four SUNY Innovative Instructional Technology Grants, including Career Brand Management for Everyone: Expanding Access to Career Development Learning by Launching an On-Demand, Competency-Based OPEN SUNY Specialization on Coursera; Increasing Access to Online, On-Demand, Competency-Based Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education; Metaliteracy Learning Pathways: Fostering Innovative Teaching Across SUNY; Increasing Access to Nonprofit Management and Leadership Education. While working on these projects, she has designed courses in various platforms, utilized different project management processes, and built learning artifacts with a wide range of tools. She has facilitated workshops and presented at the regional and national conferences and has a special interest in application of design thinking process and learning analytics in instructional design. She is also an adjunct faculty teaching an undergraduate course for The College of Saint Rose and Senior Networked Instructional Designer at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds BS degree in Business Administration from SUNY Albany and MS degree in Information Design and Technology from SUNYIT, and currently pursuing another MS degree in Data Analytics.
Presently, I work for Empire State College as the Director of Instructional Design. I strategically direct College wide instructional design policy and procedures to ensure courses are current and in-line with current research on best practices for online learning. I also coordinate and promote collaboration and fact finding of existing resources with other members of the College to identify gaps and opportunities and determine boundaries to increase efficiency and effectiveness. I am also an adjunct faculty member with the College, instructing a graduate course on Assistive Technology and Digital Tools. I also teach for The College of Saint Rose, a graduate course on Assistive Technology and Interactive Whiteboards and two undergraduate courses, Introduction to Computer Science and Educational Computing for the Computer Information Science program.
Allison Moreland is an Instructional Designer at SUNY Empire State College based in Rochester. She consults with faculty on the development and revision of online and blended courses. She assesses online courses for alignment with college standards and accessibility. She is also focused on revising graduate courses as part of an initiative to create a program that is fully open. She is an adjunct instructor teaching courses in using technology in education and digital literacy. Ms. Moreland has a Master of Science degree in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication from SUNY College at Brockport. Her 18 years of work experience include development of competency models as well as curriculum and instructional design in higher education and corporate training. She has consulted with a variety of clients including, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Verizon, Frito Lay, PepsiCo, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., FedEx, and many others. She has supported several IITG projects, including STEM Open Educational Resources (OERs): Development and Integration of STEM OERs across SUNY; Ecology and Earth Science Virtual Field Experiences OERs: Expanding Access to Field-Based Research Techniques for Students at a Distance; and STEM Job Skills Development in a Competency Based Education (CBE) Model. She has developed processes that support Open Educational Resource development for Educational Technologies. Ms. Moreland is interested in elevating digital literacy for students, faculty, and staff. Her course Digital Literacy focuses on developing students' awareness of the importance of the Internet in work and daily life, in staying safe online, and in identifying that there are multiple options to accomplish any given task online. Her goal is to make students aware of the need to understand and manage their online presence. She has presented at SUNY Conference on Instruction and Technology in the area of digital literacy for faculty website development.
Mark Lewis is an Instructional Designer for SUNY Empire State College. He is also a Core Faculty Member in the Master In Learning and Emerging Technologies (MALET) program. He has designed and taught graduate studies in Instructional Design for Online Learning Environments; and Games, Simulations and Learning. He has also designed and taught undergraduate courses in Game Design and Development, Digital Photography, Interactive Multimedia Design, Web Site Design, Adobe Flash Animation, Graphic Design & Desktop Publishing, and Technical Theatre Production. Recent instructional design work has included the incorporation of UX design practices within the creation of collaborative next generation online learning environments and the creation of a faculty oriented instructional design portal. His prior technology and design related work experience includes graphic design, website design and development, technology training, and management of enterprise help desk support. He also worked for many years in technical theatre lighting and set design in the New York metropolitan area and frequently incorporated photographs and digital images in his designs. He was a technical editor for four editions (CS3 to CS6) of Photoshop CS6: Essential Skills published by Focal Press. He is interested in the application of UX design processes for developing learning environments and for game design, games and meaningful play in education, game culture, and games for social change. He has presented at many regional and national conferences on instructional technology, game design for education, game culture and gender issues, and accessibility issues for game design. He is a member of the International Game Developers Association. He holds an M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from Walden University, an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School, and a B.S. in Visual Arts from SUNY New Paltz where he worked in both painting and photography.

Extended Abstract

SUNY Empire State College is the number one provider of online education within the SUNY System. We  offer our diverse students a variety of programs while embracing faculty with multiple modes of teaching. ESC has a dedicated team of instructional designers and educational technologists that work closely with faculty and course developers to make sure our courses are of high quality and rigor. While we are always making adjustments to our course design processes, such as incorporating agile methods of development, using design thinking to solve complex problems, we started the project of leveraging learning analytics to inform course design so we can continue to innovate and search for better ways to serve our students and help them achieve their goals.

“Learning analytics is defined as the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs” (Siemens, 2011).  In other words, learning analytics can inform the design of learning experience to improve its quality.

While the importance and potential of learning analytics in course and curriculum design is obvious since it helps us make well-informed design decisions, there are different approaches to the implementation of these new instructional design processes and considerations. During the presentation, we will review a few models we explored during our research, such as Course360 at Arizona State University and BoSCO at University of Minnesota Rochester, and explain our model and processes. We will also discuss challenges we had to overcome and our high points through this journey. 

Our instructional design team chose to go with a bottom-up approach, where we identified a few courses, recruited interested faculty for the pilot, and established good relationships with our decision support office.  We have made a lot of interesting discoveries about our LMS, our processes, and our courses. We will share what we’ve learned during the first six months of this journey and where we are heading next. The presentation will be interactive to include discussions with the session participants to learn what they are doing, what they are planning to do, how, and what we can learn from each other.  


Siemens, G. (2011, August 5). Learning and Academic Analytics. Retrieved from