Project fulCRM, funded by JISC, at Roehampton University has brought together two existing processes, one technical and one manual, in order to reduce the number of students leaving their course early.
The initial challenges faced by the project team included:
- over 2000 mitigating circumstances requests were made each year by students in the University, which were all handled manually
- lack of consistency in the way in which mitigating circumstances were handled, which was a cause for student concern
- data formats that are not designed to integrate with other applications.
Two existing processes (a spreadsheet-based Early Warning System of lack of attendance and other indicators and the manual process of applying for mitigating circumstances) have been improved by taking a technological approach. This has resulted in a number of benefits for staff and students alike, including:
- improved communication by ensuring that students are kept informed via e-mail of the progress of the mitigating circumstances process
- flagging up of students who need additional support
- automated data collection which has replaced complex and time-consuming activities and reduced staff workload.
Students now feel that the technological improvements provide them with a safety net and they will also be able to view their performance alongside their tutor. However, arriving at this stage has not been easy and the following suggestions may help:
- in order to gain acceptance across a number of disparate Departments, ensure that any system can cater for the creation of different student performance indicators
- if data (such as data relating to the number of times a student accesses a VLE) is held in the cloud, accessing that data and moving it across to private university servers may pose a security risk, therefore additional servers with secure links direct to the VLE may need to be built
- do not underestimate the amount of manipulation required to access complex data which is often housed in various disparate systems.
If you would like to find out more about this project, the following resources may help:
- Blog: Shared Student Progression, Retention and Non-completion Blog: fulCRM Project
- Project Website: fulCRM Website
- Case Study: Project fulCRM Case Study (PDF format, 602Kb)
- Video: Project fulCRM.