Following the data…how to support online students through data-informed action

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

As online programming becomes the mainstay in higher education, it is important to understand the affordances of the data amassed during an online student’s journey to support their success from enrollment through graduation.  A series of dashboards will be shared in this session with scenarios of data-informed actions.


Dr. Bouchey is Associate Professor and Vice Provost, Digital Strategy & Operations at National Louis University where she is responsible for standards of quality and service for online programming and credit for prior learning across the institution, as well as Learning Experience Design. Dr. Bouchey has had the opportunity to lead all aspects of an online campus and programming in her career and spends time each week in deep dialog with an engaged personal learning network discussing the evolving nature of online education. Dr. Bouchey holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University at Albany, an M.B.A. in Entrepreneurship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. She is a co-founder of the CORAL Research collaborative focused on online leadership and scholarship; her personal research interests include the nature and future of organizational structures of online units in institutions of higher education, as well as inventive and high-impact pedagogical practice in online teaching. Dr. Bouchey writes and is widely quoted in the academic and popular press; her articles and curriculum vitae can be accessed here:
Dr. Graham is vice president of operations and technology at National Louis University (NLU), where he is responsible for enhancing operational efficiency, supporting academic and administrative technology, and leading instructional design and online programming. Mike holds a B.A. and an M.A. in history from Youngstown State University and a Doctorate in Education from National Louis University. His research interests span the rise and change of online program management organizations, as well as leadership and operational efficiency, as the disciplines of information technology and academic affairs continue to collide in higher education. Contact:, (312) 261-3227

Extended Abstract

As online programming becomes the mainstay at institutions of higher education, it is important to understand the affordances of the data amassed during an online student’s journey to support their success through graduation. Through the sharing of a series of dashboards in this session attendees will have an opportunity to see how this institution is harnessing the many data points collected and maintained throughout an online student’s journey for action and personalized supports to increase retention, sense of belonging, satisfaction, and ultimately keeping students engaged from matriculation through to their graduation. The session will highlight the key data and operations that this institution has found important in supporting online student success, knowing that attending to too much data can also become a hindrance to effective action. Dashboards designed to support an online student’s onboarding experience, their academic journey, and timely and differentiated student support services (including career development) will be shared with prompts to the audience to ask for their thoughts for actions based on what the data indicate. The institutional representatives will also detail the protocols that are used when common scenarios present themselves through these dashboards, to help inform and refine the action suggestions provided by attendees. Ultimately, a case for data-driven decision making and action planning will be made in this session meant to support online students in intelligent and informed ways.  

Attendees of this session will: 

  1. Be able to identify key data in student onboarding, academics, and student support, 

  2. Analyze dashboards to form action protocols based on the data, and 

  3. Consider the action protocols developed by this institution that may also apply at their home institutions based on the data.

Attendees will have an opportunity to view and propose action based on student dashboard views, through polling (or large stick-up notes if in-person) so that the entire audience can benefit from the experience in the room. They will leave the session with a call-to-action on the use of data to inform student interventions and support that lead to improved student outcomes.