Student Success Viewer introduced as new iteration of groundbreaking Student Explorer Tool

A person is wearing a black graduation robe and mortar board. They are holding their diploma victoriously in the air and they are smiling.
(Image by Leo Fontes from Pixabay)

The University of Michigan is launching its new Student Success Viewer, an early warning system that helps academic advisors identify at-risk students using Learning Management System (LMS) data from the Unizin Data Platform (UDP). It utilizes that data to present actionable intelligence to advisors about students’ current term grades, activity, and assignments.

This is not the first system of its kind in U-M history. In fact, the Student Success Viewer builds upon the success of an earlier version of an advisory tool that was revolutionary when it was first developed in 2011.

That tool, Student Explorer, will officially be retired on Tuesday, December 19. However, its legacy will not soon be forgotten.

Student Explorer was created by a group led by Professor Stephanie Teasley and Dr. Steven Lonn, working in partnership with M-STEM Academies. LSA Technology Services, the Center for Academic Innovation, ITS Teaching & Learning, and a number of students and other colleagues also contributed to the design, development, and management of Student Explorer.

“I definitely want to give credit to the wonderful group of students we had working with us at the time,” said Dr. Stephanie Teasley, research professor, School of Information. “Explorer became the brainchild of that group. It was very much the product of some really smart PhD students who were discovering all the things we could do with the data in the LMS that lived on our own campus.”

For the first time ever, this system gave academic advisors access to data visualizations about students’ progress in various classes. By helping them identify students at risk of academic jeopardy, Explorer enabled advisors to create timely interventions directing students toward resources that might facilitate behavioral change and academic growth. (The Student Success Viewer provides similar and expanded functionality on a new platform.)

“During development, our team asked, ‘What can we do with the student data in our LMS that might reveal patterns of behavior that would concern academic advisors?’” said Teasely. “So, very much in the spirit of the way we do things in the School of Information, we worked closely with our intended user population and figured out that we could, indeed, draw out insights on our students’ behavior on a class-by-class basis.”

These kinds of data tools are invaluable to U-M’s community of academic advisors, and that legacy largely began with the creation of Student Explorer.

“I am pleased that Student Explorer was a useful tool for academic advisors and academic coaches for so long and hope that it served to help students successfully navigate their academic pathways,” said Dr. Steven Lonn, HR data storyteller with University Human Resources. “My hope is that the Student Success Viewer and other student success-oriented tools in the future continue to provide timely, actionable information to students, instructors, and academic advisors and coaches to maximize the academic success of all Michigan students.” 

Student Success Viewer is available to professional staff/faculty advisors at the UM-Ann Arbor campus. Learn more information about the tool, including how to request access.