Kaneb, OIT, and FYS Team win 2018 Apereo Teaching And Learning Award (ATLAS)

3 min trailer about the project

A cross-campus team composed of faculty and staff from Kaneb, OIT, and FYS were awarded the 2018 Apereo Teaching And Learning Award (ATLAS). This international award recognizes innovation and excellence in the use of Apereo tools (Sakai), which enhance teaching, academic collaboration, student engagement, and learning. The major goals of the award include:
-Promote excellent pedagogy and innovation in teaching and learning;
-Create a community of educators who want to share teaching and learning practices;
-Encourage greater faculty involvement in the Apereo community.

The Apereo Foundation (http://www.apereo.org/) is a non-profit organization, with members drawn from higher education on four continents. It’s core mission is to provide a framework to assist and facilitate educational organizations to work together to foster, develop, and sustain open source technologies and innovation to support learning, teaching, and research. Apereo also provides a common organizational umbrella for higher education open source software projects and communities. Many of Notre Dame’s peer organizations are part of Apereo. Those include Duke, Yale, Stanford, Brown, Princeton, and others.

Each year, the Foundation selects nominations for the ATLAS award (Apereo Teaching and Learning Award) from the open source community that demonstrate innovative teaching and learning using an open source learning tool. Those awards include recognition at the annual Apereo international conference and funding for those team members to attend the conference and present on the winning nomination.

Our proposal was on the Moreau First Year Experience which is a required, two-semester sequence that helps first-year students make a meaningful transition to collegiate life at Notre Dame by integrating their academic, co-curricular, and residential experiences. Apereo tools form the digital framework of our courses. Our open-source learning management system, Sakai, contains all resource materials for both students and instructors as well as weekly reading/viewings and short reflections; a real-time gradebook; and a seamless interface with midterm and final ePortfolios assignments. Apereo tools ensure an innovative and transparent learning environment for our students, instructors and course administrators. We also worked with Digication, our ePortfolio provider, to create an LTI that would connect Digication to Sakai.  That work was funded by Digication and we assisted with testing. The LTI was released by Digication for use by the Apereo community.

For more information:
-Click here for the announcement and to learn more about the award.
-Click here for our award submission
-Click here to read the story on the Academic Technology @ Notre Dame Blog

The interdisciplinary cross-campus team included:

  • Kevin Abbott, Office of Information Technologies
  • Alex Ambrose, Kaneb Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Alison Lanski, Kaneb Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Laura Cira, Office of Information Technologies
  • Laura Gekeler, Office of Information Technologies
  • Kevin Barry, Kaneb Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Maureen Dawson, First Year of Studies
  • Xiaojing Duan, Office of Information Technologies
  • Patrick Miller, Office of Information Technologies
  • Trunojoyo Anggara, First Year of Studies
  • Chris Clark, Kaneb Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Paul Turner, Office of Information Technologies
  • Munira Syed, Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science & Applications
  • Nitesh Chawla, Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science & Applications


Abbot, Kevin, Dawson, Maureen, Ambrose, G. Alex (2018) “How to Use Sakai and the Open Learning Record Warehouse with Learning Analytics to Empower First-Year Students to Thrive”  Apereo Teaching & Learning Awards (ATLAS), Open Apereo Conference, Montreal, Canada.

For more information:
-To hear the full presentation you can watch the recorded webinar on YouTube here
-To view the slide deck from our presentation see the embedded google slides below

Award Presentation Abstract

At Notre Dame, our goal is for all our freshmen students to thrive. According to U.S. News & World Report, Notre Dame ranks in the top 10 of national universities for freshman retention with a 98% retention rate. You might be wondering why we would be concerned with our students thriving since 98% of our freshman class succeeds. Our challenge is to engage those struggling 2% early enough to take action.

Our First Year Experience course was designed to help our students reach their highest potential. We maximized Sakai for the overarching structure of the course and Open Learning Record Warehouse for gathering data. These ensured that all resources were available to students, at no cost, throughout the semester; that student work would be evaluated promptly and fairly; that course design and student progress were transparent; and that data was gathered for learning analytics and research.

This session will walk you through how we designed and implemented the course, connected the data to the Learning Record Warehouse, how we used predictive analytics to move 83% of students identified as underperforming to thriving, and what is the best and earliest predictor of student success.


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