Street Team: Academic Dashboard

Academic Dashboard – Andrew Wyschnskyj

             I recently contacted Gerry Donahue, Assistant Director of Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Office of Information Technology, about the Academic Dashboard.  The Academic Dashboard is a newly released tool, created by IT.   Gerry me some insight about how the Dashboard is used and what the purpose of the Dashboard is.  IT designed the Dashboard, with input from Faculty and College Deans, with the hopes of improving the campus environment.  The overall goal of having the Academic Dashboard is to make SJU a better place for all students and faculty in general.

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The purpose of this article is to explain to my fellow students how the Dashboard can improve the lives of SJU students, so I had to find out how it works. The Dashboard takes different information and data from SJU’s administrative database and uses multiple tools that allow for easy access to the information. The Dashboard conveniently makes that information available for the faculty administrators and deans.  Those individuals will use the data from the Dashboard in the course of their decision making.  IT wanted to keep the tool as simple as possible so everyone can understand how the system works without needing advanced computer skills.

Some pieces of information that will be available are different class sizes, and how many sections there are for each course being offered. Different courses would benefit by having a smaller student to teacher ratio.  The Dashboard helps to determine that.  By having an appropriate number of students in each course, the students can have a closer relationship to the teachers and improve learning conditions. The teachers would have an easier time keeping track of all their students. Since the Academic Dashboard can show how many students are enrolled in each course, they may notice that the class sizes are getting bigger than what the University wants.  Because the appropriate people have access to this information through the Academic Dashboard, they will be able to make an informed decision to increase the number of sections available for students to take. This will not only benefit the students and professors, but the University as a whole by maintaining a distinguished standard of classroom environments.  Similar situations can be improved due to the availability of information in the Academic Dashboard. There may be certain courses that have too many classes available during certain semesters. This can lead to classes not being filled because the students enrolled in the class are distributed relatively evenly leaving openings in different classes. Now that this information is easily accessible they can make decisions to reduce the amount of sections for this particular course.

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The Academic Dashboard is a great asset to the SJU community. There are many advantages to having the Academic Dashboard on our campus. Maintaining the Dashboard, and updating the system whenever necessary will help improve the experience the students have during their time at Saint Joseph’s University. It will also help make the faculty and staff’s lives easier by preventing a surplus or deficiency of students in each class. Overall it will help improve everyone who is involved with this campus, and we should be very thankful to have the Academic Dashboard at our disposal.

If you have any questions about the purpose and function of Academic Dashboard, please contact the TSC!