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SolStonePlus Provides BI for the University of Bedfordshire

Originally published February 17, 2010

SolStonePlus, a leading end-to-end integrated Business Intelligence provider has developed an indispensable Student Engagement system with the University of Bedfordshire.

The system is a valuable and cost-effective Business Intelligence (BI) solution based on the Oracle BI platform, which gives the University the ability to identify a drop in engagement level before it becomes critical, thus allowing a member of staff to intervene positively, and hopefully encourage the student to re-engage.

The University of Bedfordshire was created in 2006 by the merger of the University of Luton and the Bedford campus of De Montfort University. It has 19,000 students and aims to provide an environment where all students can benefit from transformational educational experiences in a vibrant, multicultural learning community.

The University has a commitment to provide an inspirational educational experience to as many people as possible and welcomes all students whatever their background. The University also leapt 18 places in The Times Good University Guide 2010 making it the highest climbing institution in the UK. Much of the University’s research has been described as world-leading.
Last year, data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) which was taken from 150 universities across Britain showed that nearly 23 per cent of students recruited in 2006 were expected to fail to progress to the end of their degree course. 
The University decided to look at ways of identifying those among its student population who might need more help and support through their studies to ensure they fulfil their academic goals. The University needed to find a simple and timely way of identifying those students who were struggling and considering leaving.

It came up with a conceptual solution to tackle the problem, but felt that a BI partner would be needed to provide a robust solution. Building on previous work with SolStonePlus the University contacted them again.

SolStonePlus rapidly recognised the potential of the solution and its relevance to the University and its aims. Working closely with the University systems team, SolStonePlus made sure it understood the brief carefully and had a clear plan on how best to tackle it. It created a solution that addressed all the requirements of the University as well as providing a proof of concept free of charge.

David Sowerby, University of Bedfordshire Systems Development Manager said: “The key to the solution was a strong working partnership and a team effort between SolStonePlus and the University. We used our respective strengths to utilise our knowledge of the systems we wanted to integrate, combined with SolStonePlus’ Business Intelligence expertise.”

The University now has a solution that enables it to identify and re-engage with students who appear to be at risk of drifting away. Although still in its early stages, the system has been very well received by University heads of department and administrators. Once the solution has been in place for a while, the University believes there will be a great opportunity to build on the strengths of the BI platform to provide valuable information about how and when students interact with the University and its systems and enabling more effective student support.

Graham Spicer, CEO at SolStonePlus said: “The University of Bedfordshire believes that education should be available to all and students should get a tailored teaching programme and we were happy to support this ethos. Education is a business and students are the customers, Universities must pay attention to their students’ needs and what better way to keep them happy than to know exactly when they might be struggling and reconsidering their higher education goals.  We worked closely with the University to develop an accurate and guaranteed business intelligence solution and hope the results will help students to stay engaged.”

This BeyeNETWORK news item contains information from a recent press release by the company mentioned.