While in the United States many higher education institutions struggle with exactly how best to use the data they collect, in some European countries there is an automatic financial incentive to organizing the data. In Sweden, education is publicly funded, and a university gets money from the government depending on the number of registered students.
Such is the case at Dalarna University, which has campuses in two locations in Sweden. Dalarna had about 14,500 students in 2017, and about 60% of its students are internet-based. Dalarna uses Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform to help organize the data that it needs to report to the government in order for the university to be successful.
Data organization is key to success
Dalarna doesn’t collect tuition from students the same way a university in the United States would. The government pays the university for each Swedish or European student enrolled there and each time the students complete a course. Diver helps Dalarna organize the data surrounding course completion and registered students, including how many students are not from Sweden or the European Union. Those students, of which there are a small fraction every year, do pay a tuition.
Diver is instrumental in putting together an annual report that Dalarna must send to Sweden’s Department of Education. The report includes statistics, reports, and funding calculations related to the two key metrics of registered students and completed courses. Dalarna uses Diver to calculate and display those statistics.
Dalarna also uses Diver to help measure progress. It has a number of critical KPIs that apply to a number of different levels – the entire school down to each department, program, or course. The KPIs are:
- Number of annual full-time students
- Number of annual performances
- Performance grade
- Application rate
- Financial outcome versus budget
Not every KPI is actively used, but the fact that they are in the system is helpful, especially since there are possible government reforms on the horizon that could require universities to report about some of these metrics. Managers at Dalarna have also talked about the possibility of a warning system that would alert users if a KPI is not performing the way they would like.
Dalarna uses Diver to help the university make plans for the future. The three schools within the university (School of Education, Health, and Social Studies; School of Humanities and Media Studies; and School of Technology and Business Studies) use the information in Diver to plan future programs and courses. They look at the current and historical data in Diver to figure out what courses should be offered, which affects other elements like, for example, how many teachers each department needs each year.
Like with any BI tool, the more people at Dalarna see it and what it can do, the more interested they are in what it can do for them. While for now the university is turning its data into information that it needs to report to the government, it is constantly keeping an eye on how it can use that data in ways to improve its programs.
To learn more about how the university is using Diver Platform, read the Dalarna University case study on our website.
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