The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Institutional Planning Department hosted a two-day Data Day (D3) from 27 to 28 August 2019. DUT Data Day is about Knowing, Doing and Impacting.
Day One focused on training and upskilling (Knowing), consisting of various workshops at the Science Block at Steve Biko Campus for DUT staff and students regarding first year students and the usage of the DUT Beginning University Survey of Student Engagement (BUSSE), a second workshop on statistical data analysis of class marks using Excel and SPSS, a third workshop on analysing data and creating reports using Microsoft Power BI Desktop and an Excel workshop to help attendees to polish their data transformation skills.
The aim of the workshops was to allow participants to understand and to be able to perform basic data analysis using sort, filter, pivot tables and dashboards.
Day Two at the Ritson Campus Exam Hall culminated with the launch of the University’s new data warehouse, the PowerHEDA platform, as well as a presentation of AutoScholar, the student tracking and curriculum mapping system currently being implemented in the faculties, by Ashton Maherry (Siyaphumelela Data and Training Officer DUT Institutional Planning).
Welcoming staff to the event was the Director: Institutional Planning, Nicky Muller, who elaborated more on the institutional research that was undertaken on the institution for the institution as well as the Siyaphumelela-Kresge Foundation and bonus grants which allowed the Siyaphumelela team to focus on developing data skills, data infrastructure and data culture. “The aim was to become familiar with current needs and institutional capacities and processes as well as the development of the vision and initial planning,” she said.
Focusing more on the Siyaphumelela Project and the journey over the past four years was Dr Koo Parker ((Siyaphumelela Institutional Researcher DUT Institutional Planning). “In 2016, the project aims were identified which were to improve student success through effective use of data; create space and/or systems for an integrated approach to using data in student success improvement work; develop capacity for effective use of data and enhance engagement nationally and internationally with respect to student success initiatives,” she said.
She also added that milestones along the way included SASSE 2016, the first student success task team meeting in 2017, and the data warehouse dream which was conceptualised, to name but a few.
Dr Parker said the current journey in 2019 draws to a close with DUT’s customised first-year student survey, BUSSE 2019, a more holistic support for student success and the panel presentation of the Bonus Grant at the Siyaphumelela national conference.
Adding more on PowerHEDA (Higher Education Data Analyser) were Rajan Naicker (Director: Management Information), and Siyaphumelela’s Prabashnee Kisten.
Kisten showcased how DUT is using data to drive organisational effectiveness, and ultimately student success. She said that PowerHEDA has the ability to provide an integrated storage and reporting solution for all data available at DUT.
“It is a business tool used by 22 of the higher-education institutions in South Africa to facilitate real-time reporting for strategic planning and institutional research. The tool allows to draw live data from the ITS database and incorporating the HEMIS data with the goal of creating awareness, support and improving student success,” she said excitedly.
Besides the launch, posters and other exhibits were also showcased at the event, using data to inform policy and practice across diverse departments at DUT. Exhibits included displays from various faculties such a Finance, Physical Planning, the Library, Faculty of Health Sciences, to name but a few.
Pictured: Dr Koo Parker with Thulasizwe Mkhwanazi, at the launch.