Meet Kristyn Muller
Open SUNY COTE is pleased to introduce you to Kristyn Muller, Impact Analyst for Open SUNY.
What is your role with Open SUNY?
- Analyze the impact of Open SUNY on system goals/priorities as they align with the SUNY Excels framework (Access, Completion, Success, Inquiry, Engagement).
- Assess the effectiveness of Open SUNY services to ensure that they align with the needs of campuses. Although we already collect data about many of the services, we do not have a system in place to ensure that we are using the data to continually improve our services. I will be establishing and facilitating an on-going assessment plan to make sure that we are providing valuable and effective services to campuses.
- Articulate Open SUNY’s work and outcomes using engaging data visualizations. I will be creating and regularly updating interactive dashboard websites that will be shared with Open SUNY staff, System Administration, and campuses to make it easier for all stakeholders to access data about our operations and impact.
What is your background/expertise/prior to SUNY?
I was formerly the Assistant Director of Residential Life for University Apartments at UAlbany. During my time on campus, I was very involved with assessment work in various capacities. For example, I was the Co-Chair of the Residential Life Assessment Committee, Chair of the Student Affairs Research Committee, a member of the Council on Academic Assessment and the General Education Assessment Committee, and the part-time Assessment & Data Analyst for the Division of Student Affairs. I have presented at several conferences, provided assessment training to staff, and engaged with the higher education assessment community. Furthermore, I am currently working on my PhD in Educational Administration & Policy Studies, in which my dissertation examines the efficacy of using e-portfolios to enhance and assess student learning.
What do you think impacts online student success?
I think that it’s very important for campuses to take online learning seriously and think strategically about all of the components of online learning (i.e. enrollment, technology, student and faculty supports, infrastructure, quality). I believe that if online learning is intentional, it is more likely to positively impact student success.
How does data tell our story?
Data provides us with evidence to support our efforts and demonstrate our outcomes. Through data, we can identify trends such as growth of online enrollments over time, demographics of online students, and online student completion rates. Data can help us illustrate a picture of what is happening with online learning and Open SUNY initiatives.
How can we use the data to inform what we do?
Data tells us what we are doing well and what we are not doing well. It should not only be used to celebrate our successes, but also to identify what areas are in need of improvement. Data can help us to prioritize our efforts and ensure that our work aligns with the needs of campuses.
What are some challenges associated with using data for these purposes?
For Open SUNY specifically, one of the greatest challenges is inconsistent definitions for online learning data elements. For example, one campus could define “online student” as a student enrolled in at least 50% online courses, while another campus could define “online student” as only students who are enrolled in a fully online program. These difference make it difficult to get a clear picture of who our online students are and how they are performing. Open SUNY is working to clear up these discrepancies, but with 64 campuses, it’s not a simple task.
What about the anecdotal evidence, how do we incorporate that into our story?
Anecdotal evidence can help guide our assessment efforts. We should not rely solely on anecdotal evidence to influence our practices, but we can use anecdotal evidence as a reason to further investigate particular topics or concerns.
Is there anything else you would like campuses to know?
If you are conducting research or assessment about online students or online learning on your campus, I would love to hear about your work! Please feel free to send me any data or reports that you have that might be of interest to Open SUNY. You can email me at email@example.com.
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