Austin Peay taking student success seriously

Using software to recommend classes.  Tracking students by location.  APSU is doing some interesting stuff.  From Jennifer Brooks writing in The Tennessean.

APSU goes high-tech to lift graduation rates

Sometime in the near future, students at Austin Peay State University might start getting some smart advice from their smartphones.

“I noticed you’re still in your dorm room,” a university-generated reminder might pop up for students who opt in for this still-under-development app. “Don’t you have chemistry right now?”

Austin Peay President Timothy Hall estimates the university is at least a year away from being able to tap into the GPS chip in students’ phones for that particular program. It’s part of a wave of high-tech attempts to get higher graduation rates.

Closed out of a class? Push a button on the school’s home page for help.

Not sure which classes to take? Austin Peay just rolled out advising software that makes Netflix-style course recommendations — and predicts the grade the student probably will earn in each class.

Hall outlined the Clarksville university’s initiatives in a presentation before the Tennessee Higher Education Commission on Thursday. All are part of the ongoing campaign to get students into the classroom and keep them there until they graduate.

Every public college and university in Tennessee is under intense pressure to improve graduation rates. State lawmakers, sick of seeing Tennessee at the bottom of national higher ed rankings, have begun cutting funding to universities whose students do not graduate within six years, and to community colleges who do not graduate their students within three years.

“A generation ago, universities genuinely believed that the center of the academic universe was the professor teaching,” Hall said during his report to the state’s higher education governing system. “Now we realize, no, that’s not right. The center of the academic universe is the student, learning.”


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