Edinburgh, 5 July 2013  #lasiuk

Event co-hosted by The Open University in Scotland, Jisc CETIS and University of Edinburgh School of Informatics
Part of the Learning Analytics Summer Institute Global Network


Institutions are collecting more data than ever before about their students and how they interact with the curriculum and each other.  This has opened up unprecedented opportunities to understand the learning process and to provide targeted, real-time support to students and lecturers.

LASI-UK was a free, one-day, interactive event organised by The Open University in Scotland and JISC CETIS and hosted by the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics.  The event explored ways of working with data to draw out and share insights that can make a real difference to learning and teaching.  Photos of the event will be posted on Flickr in the near future.

LASI-UK Programme    |    LASI-UK Flyer    |    LASI-UK on Twitter - Data visualisation

Photos of LASI-UK on Flickr


Sheila MacNeill (Assistant Director, JISC CETIS)
Sheila's main areas of interest and work are around the user experience of using and implementing technology for teaching and learning. Much of her work recent work has involved supporting a number of JISC programmes including; curriculum design and delivery distributed learning environments and developing digital literacies. Sheila is currently active in exploring the implications and potential of analytics to support teaching and learning; the learner experience of MOOCs and exploring the notions and realities of “digital” institutions.
View the presentation

Clare Llewellyn (PhD Research Student, University of Edinburgh School of Informatics)
Clare is researching the analysis of user generated content on the internet, in particular using the structures defined in argumentation theory to summarise conversations within user generated content. This analysis involves various methods including clustering data from streams of text to identify specific discussions, text mining to identify specific patterns that predict argument structures and machine learning to classify those structures. Her background is in digital libraries, natural language processing, data and text mining. Previously she worked as part of the Advanced Technical Research group at JSTOR, an online journal archive, and as part of the digital library research group at the University of Liverpool.
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Duygu Simsek (PhD Research Student, The Open University Knowledge Media Institute)
Duygu’s research interests fall mainly in the field of Computer Science and Education, with current research focusing on discourse-centric learning analytics to support computer-supported collaborative scientific writing. Duygu holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Instructional Technologies from Bilkent University, Turkey where she also gained an MA degree, which is a PGCE equivalent that allows her to teach ICT in schools. Prior to her PhD studies, Duygu completed an MSc. degree in Software Engineering from University of Southampton, with a thesis focusing on social learning analytics, titled “Learning Analytics Beyond Learning Management Systems: Proposing a Learner Dashboard which collects, analyses and reports learner-generated data from social networking sites”.
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Naomi Jeffery (Information Analyst, The Open University in Scotland)
Naomi joined The Open University (OU) in 2007 after completing her MSc in Statistics. Since then she has worked in three different MI teams, most recently moving to the OU in Scotland. Naomi has worked on a variety of key projects, including building the institution predictive models of student pass and progression rates, and has presented widely on these topics and other aspects of working with data.
Naomi has a keen interest in information design and effective data visualisation, reading extensively around this subject. She is currently focused on gaining a deeper understanding of cognitive models of learning and working on ideas for expanding our quantitative conception of success beyond the course and into individual learner aims for career and life as a whole. Naomi’s biggest concern may be the danger, in a world of fast-expanding ‘big data’, of disregarding the individual as merely the incidental construct of their own data identity.
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Giles Carden (Director of Strategic Planning & Analytics, University of Warwick)
Giles has 17 years experience of working in the university sector in both the UK and Germany. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in geochemistry at Ruhr-Universität Bochum he joined the University of Warwick's administration late in 1997. He has occupied 7 different roles at Warwick over the past 15 years in research services, planning, space management and capital developments. He has implemented major online registry systems, and currently involved in analytics development projects with the University's Campus and Commercial Services Group. In 2006/7 he directed operations for the University's RAE2008 return and he is currently coordinating its REF2014 submission. In 2006/7 Giles served as an RAE2008 panel advisor, he currently chairs the Brunswick Research Assessment Group and sits on the Higher Education Strategic Planning Association executive.
When Giles became a Director of Management Information and Planning 5 years ago he made it his priority that Warwick develop an advanced business analytics and performance management capability, his objective being to leverage competitive advantage and underpin strategy development and execution. Warwick is now recognised as having one of the most advanced business analytics capabilities in the HE Sector.
In 2011 Giles advised Professor Sir Ian Diamond on operational benchmarking for his review of Efficiency and Effectiveness in HE. In 2012 he was invited by the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s CEO to act as a consultant on its International Benchmarking project. He currently sits on the UUK Operational Benchmarking project team and JISC Gold Open Access Steering Group.
View the presentation (PowerPoint)

Chris Ballard (Innovation Consultant, Tribal)
Chris works with analytics, big data and machine learning. Chris is passionate about how Learning Analytics can transform education and is responsible for inventing innovative solutions that help people get insight from complex data. He has 12 years of experience in delivering analytics solutions to the education sector as a developer, product manager and consultant. Chris is the Product Owner and architect for Tribal’s Learning Analytics platform, Tribal Student Insight, which uses predictive analytics to identify at risk students.
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Em Bailey (Strategy Planning & Business Analyst, Heriot-Watt University)
Em has over 15 years' experience of data analysis and visualisation in the private and public sectors, including 10 years in various planning and management information roles within Higher Education. Since joining Heriot-Watt University in 2011, she has made significant headway in data reporting and the production and presentation of MI. This ranges across a broad spectrum of core business processes and KPIs, including student recruitment, funding and target setting, research performance, staff remuneration, and student satisfaction.
As the cornerstone of her analyses and visualisations, Excel has exhibited a versatile capacity for distilling, compressing and displaying data meaningfully for informed and efficient decision making. Belied by her youthful good looks (and modesty), Em has 21 years' experience of Excel and, although proficient with other reporting packages, has demonstrated better data visualisation practice through realising the potential of this powerful yet under-appreciated tool.
We will be adding some content from Em soon.

Who attended

Delegates at LASI-UK included analysts, curriculum designers and academics from across the UK and beyond.  Some early snippets from our feedback survey (still open):

"Personally found the morning talks fascinating, and later, the Excel talk was very positive, useful and hugely entertaining."

"...very easy to speak with people during presentations and at the breaks..."

"...helped give me confidence to have a go at some manipulation and visualisations."

"...gave a good feel for where the research is at."


LASI-UK was part of a global network of LASI-Local events linked to the Learning Analytics Summer Institute at Stanford (LASI), co-organised by the Society for Learning Analytics (SoLAR) and Stanford University.  The aim of LASI was to advance the emerging field of learning analytics by bringing together researchers and doctoral students from a mix of disciplines for an intensive five-day ‘summer camp’.  In the early evening LASI-UK linked to a live broadcast of the final day plenary session at Stanford.

More information about LASI-UK

If you would like to know more about this event please contact Naomi Jeffery or Hannah Jones at

Finding out more about Learning Analytics

SoLAR defines learning analytics 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.”

The CETIS Analytics Series explores a number of key issues around the potential strategic advantages and insights analytics can bring to the education sector. Funded by JISC, it is aimed primarily at managers and early adopters in Further and Higher Education who have a strategic role in developing the use of analytics in the following areas:

  • Whole Institutional Issues
  • Ethical and Legal Issues
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Research Management
  • Technology and Infrastructure

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