Institutional Research Using Data Mining: A Case Study in Online Programs

Institutional Research Using Data Mining: A Case Study in Online Programs

Constanta-Nicoleta Bodea (Academy of Economic Studies, Romania), Vasile Bodea (Academy of Economic Studies, Romania) and Radu Mogos (Academy of Economic Studies, Romania)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 37
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-857-6.ch005
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The aim of this chapter is to explore the application of data mining for analyzing academic performance in connection with the participatory behavior of the students enrolled in an online two-year Master degree program in project management. The main data sources were the operational database with the students’ records and the log files and statistics provided by the e-learning platform. One hundred eighty-one enrolled students, and more than 150 distinct characteristics/ variables per student were used. Due to the large number of variables, an exploratory data analysis through data mining was chosen, and a model-based discovery approach was designed and executed in Weka environment. The association rules, clustering, and classification were applied in order to identify the factors explaining the students’ performance and the relationship between academic performance and behavior in the virtual learning environment. Data mining has revealed interesting patterns in data. These patterns indicate that academic performance is related to the intensity of the student activities in virtual environment. If the student understands how to work and she/he is motivated to communicate with others, then he might have a good academic performance. Based on clustering analysis, different student profiles were discovered, explaining the academic performance. The results are very encouraging and suggest several future developments.
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The case study refers to a national university in Romania, called as the Federal University. The education and training programs of this university are delivered based on a public budget, coming from the Education and Research Ministry, and also on its own resources, such as: micro-budget activities and services, introduction of fees, scientific research, foreign loans, and so on. The university autonomy, along with its major components: the financial autonomy, the administration flexibility and the implementation of a high economic motivation are the key levers of the general strategy for improving the efficiency of the university management.

The Federal University is considered a remarkable representative of higher education in Romania. The university has 10 faculties or colleges. In 2009-2010, the Federal University has delivered more than 192 education and training programs, 26 of them being delivered as online programs (see Table 1). There are more than 49,000 enrolled students (35,500 students enrolled in bachelor degree programs, 9400 students in master programs, 2500 PhD students and over 1600 students enrolled in academic schools and post-graduate courses). The National University of Economic Studies has 2000 didactical staff and technical and administrative personnel, all together. The Federal University delivers online programs using several e-learning platforms, the most popular one being Moodle, which was adopted by the majority of programs organizers. Moodle ( is a course management system, also known as a learning management system or a virtual learning environment.

Table 1.
The education and training portfolio 2009-2010 of the Federal University
The National University of Economic Studies Education &Training ProgramsTotal NumberOnline Programs
Bachelor's degree in Economics130
Continuing education (Trainings)7516
Scientific Master's degree290
Professional Master's degree5610
International Master's degree90
Doctor's degree100

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
John A. Williams
Hansel Burley
Chapter 1
Hansel Burley
The author focuses on the institutional researcher as an institutional leader, over and above providing traditional reporting and support. IR... Sample PDF
The Dean of Information: A Theoretical Framework for Institutional Research Leadership in Higher Education
Chapter 2
James E. McLean, Alanna Rochelle King Dail
In today’s environment, external support for college activities has become much more than a luxury. While the basic teaching functions are funded... Sample PDF
Changing the Grant Culture of a College
Chapter 3
Dana L. Dalton
This case study describes the events from 2003 to the present surrounding the implementation of a relational student information Enterprise Resource... Sample PDF
From Silos to Sharing: An Institutional Research View of the Conversion to an ERP
Chapter 4
Garnett Lee Henley, Gerunda B. Hughes, Tawanda Feimster, Leo E. Rouse
Many institutions do not perform statistical modeling of student academic outcomes because they lack the ability to translate Banner® relational... Sample PDF
Parsing Banner Downloaded Data into a Flat-File Format for Analysis
Chapter 5
Constanta-Nicoleta Bodea, Vasile Bodea, Radu Mogos
The aim of this chapter is to explore the application of data mining for analyzing academic performance in connection with the participatory... Sample PDF
Institutional Research Using Data Mining: A Case Study in Online Programs
Chapter 6
Nicolas A. Valcik
This chapter will address the use of Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) for institutional research and strategic planning departments. Throughout... Sample PDF
Using Geospatial Information Systems for Strategic Planning and Institutional Research
Chapter 7
Rajeev Bukralia, Amit V. Deokar, Surendra Sarnikar, Mark Hawkes
This chapter outlines a case of identifying students at-risk of dropping out of online courses by using institutional research data. The case... Sample PDF
Using Machine Learning Techniques in Student Dropout Prediction
Chapter 8
Yen To, Hansel Burley
A primary feature of institutional research work is prediction. When statistics are used as the primary analysis tool, much of this work depends... Sample PDF
Principles for the Analysis of Large Complex Secondary Databases in Educational Settings
Chapter 9
Lucy Barnard-Brak, Valerie Osland Paton
Violations of academic integrity (e.g., cheating and other acts of academic dishonesty) are issues on every college campus (e.g., Turner &... Sample PDF
Experimental Design to Examine the Effectiveness of Honor Codes
Chapter 10
Stephanie J. Jones
Community colleges offer a variety of distance learning opportunities and continue to invest in technologies that better serve their students. This... Sample PDF
Developing a Quality Distance Learning Program in a Comprehensive Community College
Chapter 11
Kevin Gosselin, Hansel Burley
Today’s higher education professional is beginning to feel the squeeze of higher expectations and the need to deliver instruction in a variety of... Sample PDF
Developing an Online Course On-the-Fly with an IR State of Mind
Chapter 12
Aaron R. Baggett
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A Million Ghosts: West Point’s Long Line of Moral Development and Character Education
Chapter 13
Garnett Lee Henley, Wanda Lawrence, Candace Mitchell, Donna Henley-Jackson, Tawana Feimster
There are several excellent indices available to quantify diversity within a student body. Richness and evenness can be studied using Simpson’s... Sample PDF
Measuring Diversity at a Historically Black College of Dentistry
Chapter 14
Valerie McGaha-Garnett
Many non-traditional and first-generation students face multiple limitations to successful academic achievement, like the case of the student... Sample PDF
Examining University Retention Efforts of Non-Traditional Students
Chapter 15
Fernando Valle, Stacy A. Jacob, Zhaomin He
Higher education administrators constantly face tough decisions when assessing the feasibility of university programs. In fiscally responsive... Sample PDF
The National Research University: Toward Becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) at a Responsibility Centered Management University
Chapter 16
Robin Capt, Heidi Taylor, Gary Kelley, Mo Cuevas
Institutional Research (IR) professionals have diverse roles and responsibilities in universities across the country. The Office of Institutional... Sample PDF
Collaboration in Student Assessment Research: Beyond Data Collection and Reporting
Chapter 17
Annette E. Smith, Stephanie J. Jones
Assessment of student learning outcomes at institutions of higher learning has become a strategic initiative as accountability discussions continue... Sample PDF
Developing an Assessment Plan for the Arts and Sciences Division of a Comprehensive Community College
Chapter 18
Gita Wijesinghe Pitter, William Hudson
Increasing student retention and graduation is one of the most difficult challenges facing Traditionally Black College and University (TBCUs). This... Sample PDF
A Framework for Examining Data and Taking Action to Increase Student Retention and Graduation
Chapter 19
Mary Cain Fehr, Mary Frances Agnello, Steven M. Crooks, Fethi Inan, Raymond Flores
Assessing the effectiveness of academic programs is a critical element of institutional research. Changing demographics in the United States compel... Sample PDF
The Birth of a Survey: Developing an Assessment of Preservice Teachers’ Diversity Awareness
Chapter 20
Hansel Burley, Lucy Barnard-Brak, Valerie McGaha-Garnett, Bolanle A. Olaniran, Aretha Marbley
The purpose of the current study is to examine secondary school factors that predict the performance and persistence of African American students at... Sample PDF
African Americans and Planned Resilience: In Search of Ordinary Magic
Chapter 21
Gita Wijesinghe Pitter
Accreditation, whether it be institutional or specialized, is an essential and powerful part of life at academic institutions. This case study... Sample PDF
Establishing Continuous Readiness for Specialized Accreditation
Chapter 22
Robert Elliott
We know that a nationwide shortage of highly qualified teachers exists, and not enough people are becoming teachers. We also know there are... Sample PDF
A Case Study: Closing the Assessment Loop with Program and Institutional Data
Chapter 23
Valerie Osland Paton, Gerry Dizinno, Roy Mathew
During the period of 1970-2010 in American higher education, the burden of funding has shifted in proportion from the federal government, to the... Sample PDF
Developing Best Practices for Value Added Research in a Political Context
Chapter 24
Hansel Burley, Bolanle A. Olaniran
The researchers included 10 embedded assessments in the study for a mean gain effect size of .35. From the results of a pilot study, the authors... Sample PDF
Meta-Analysis as a Tool for Assessing University-Wide Student Learning Outcomes
Chapter 25
Margaret Johnson, Larry Hovey, Pam Tipton
Along the way, a number of personnel, organizational, and technical problems were encountered, and many were resolved. What did became clear is that... Sample PDF
Using Bad News to Make Good Decisions
Chapter 26
Thomas K. Martin
The latter finding, while complicating the interpretation of the analysis, contributed most significantly to answering the question of whether or... Sample PDF
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