Improving the student experience with Bloom Thrive

A learning analytics pilot aims to highlight students who might benefit from help or advice in certain areas of their studies with us
screenshot of Postgraduate Laws eCampus
Student feedback is a very important part of improving the student support we provide
We hope that by analysing a wide variety of data we can better understand the student journey and provide support where and when it is needed, whether to individuals or groups of students

From October, the University of London International Programmes will be piloting an analytics system that will bring together and analyse all sorts of student data to try and understand more about your progress through our programmes and how we can support you better.

The system, Bloom Thrive, brings together information from a variety of sources, including modules you are enrolled in, exam performance, your interaction with services like the online library and VLE, and combines them all with live student feedback. This data is analysed and provides our student support teams with reports on trends in particular areas and highlights students who might benefit from some help or advice in certain areas of their studies with us.

Most of the data will be collected behind the scenes as you go about your studies. However, the system will also include live student feedback taken from VLE pages. You will soon notice a new addition to your VLE pages, which we are calling Pulse. This is a pilot tool that we are testing which allows you to tell us how you are feeling, along with an optional message box if you want to let us know something positive or negative. For example, you might be feeling particularly happy one day as you have completed a set of tasks in the Subject Guide, or you have done well in an online test. Alternatively, you may be feeling ill or tired and not able to concentrate well.  

Up until now we’ve had no way of measuring when students might need support – the new information we get may alert us as to when you do need some help. Student feedback is a very important part of improving the student support we provide, so during this pilot project we may follow up on your comments, though we will not be able to monitor every message.

One thing to note is that the Pulse feedback system is not designed to deal with specific questions about your student experience – for example, it will not deal with exam queries, exam results, transfer between programmes, appeals or other course-related queries. If you have a specific question related to your course please continue to use the Student Advice Centre or the student portal to raise the issue.

We hope that by analysing a wide variety of data we can better understand the student journey and provide support where and when it is needed, whether to individuals or groups of students. If you would like to give us feedback on the project please contact cde@london.ac.uk. Any new data collected and used as part of the pilot will all be held and protected within the current University data protection codes.

This pilot is based on the concept of learning analytics, which involves using new technology and large datasets to try and understand and predict outcomes. Bloom Thrive is based on a successful project that ran at the University of New England (UNE) in Australia. You can see a case study from the UNE project. Other universities in the UK are also getting involved – you can see some examples from Jisc