Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 – Back in-person, Back to Driving Student Success

Written by Explorance.

Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022

After 2 years of virtual conferences, Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 marked a major milestone in Bluenotes Community history, with the return to an in-person event. In collaboration with the University of Louisville and sponsored by Explorance, Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 took place in Chicago from July 30 – August 3, 2022.

As the world continues to slowly re-open and many higher education institutions begin to prepare themselves for the first full “normal” semester ahead, this year’s conference focused on accelerating insight to action and driving student success. Over five days, leaders and practitioners in institutional effectiveness, institutional research, teaching and learning, technology, and faculty gathered to re-connect and share their best practices in using data and analytics to turn student feedback into actionable insights, driving teaching effectiveness, and student success.

Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 group picture

An Inspiring Keynote About Communication

Mark BowdenWith over 100 Bluenotes Community members and practitioners from more than 80 higher education institutions across the globe in attendance, Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 kicked off with an inspiring keynote from Mark Bowden. In his keynote titled Winning Body Language Connect, Influence & Persuade, world-renowned body language thought-leader and founder of TRUTHPLANE Mark discussed universal body language techniques to help communicate with others to win trust, gain credibility, and get what is best for students.

“If you choose your behaviors, you may be more likely to get the results you want or need.”

In an entertaining and interactive presentation, Mark showcased the most effective nonverbal tools to help conference attendees connect with people, share insights, learn from them, and grow as a community. With the tools to realize change to increase student success and help others be more data literate, Mark shares his acclaimed techniques that help Fortune 500 CEOs and G7 political leaders influence and persuade across any culture.

Whether you are presenting in front of stakeholders, industry peers, faculty members, or students, Mark’s skills inspire others to communicate in a style that is courageous, compelling, persuasive, and influential.

Faculty Research Findings on Mitigating Implicit Bias in Student Evaluations

Implicit feedback bias is a constant issue that troubles any form of assessment, with student and course evaluations being no exception. In a presentation led by Vladmir Kogan, Brandon Genetin, Joyce Chen, and Alan Kalish of Ohio State University, the recipients of an Explorance 2022 Faculty Research Grant presented the findings of their study – discussing implicit bias in student evaluations of instruction.

In their presentation titled Mitigating Implicit Bias in Student Evaluations: A Randomized Intervention, the Ohio State University team conducted a randomized control trial, where students were randomly assigned and shown “cheap talk” scripts referencing implicit bias, high stakes associated with student evaluation, or a combination of the two.

After analyzing the impact of the assigned treatments on both evaluation completion rates and average instructor ratings, the analysis indicated that there were significant effects for those who were assigned the combined treatment, whereas those who received the high-stakes treatment led to higher average scores for racial/ethnic minority instructors.

Explorance Faculty Research Grant Recipients

Engaging Presentations Driving Student Success

Only made possible with the support of the Bluenotes Community, this year’s conference was jam-packed with institution-led presentations and panel discussions. From sharing best practices to tackling different trends and issues affecting higher education, many experience-rich presentations left attendees with valuable insights to help them further drive student success.

“A fantastic event to learn, connect, grow, and share your ‘notes’ with other people also using Blue.” – Krista Dziuba, Western University

Candace Girard of Tufts University presented on Day 1 of Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022, where she put Blue’s Question Personalization feature on full display. Describing the feature as an “absolute game changer”, Candace strongly advocated for Blue’s Question Personalization, highlighting its full value as an admin, an instructor, and a student. While giving her very own expertise and best practices with the feature, Candace displayed how any institution can effectively and efficiently drive student success by implementing Question Personalization into their own course evaluation process, enabling feedback that matters most to them.

From insight to action, Karlie Scafidi and Joshua McCuaig of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology perfectly summed up the importance of not only collecting data but utilizing it. In their presentation, Being a Data Enabler: You can Lead an Institution to Data, but You Cannot Make It Think, Karlie and Joshua showcased various strategies that helped them enable users to harness data and apply it to their respective roles.

Before closing Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022, attendees gathered one last time in the Grand Ballroom for an engaging panel discussion titled Handling Comments of Concern – Practices, Policies, Competency. Moderated by Explorance’s Chief Community Engagement Officer Yeona Jang, panelists included: Brad Wuetherick of the University of British Columbia, Elena Zaitseva of Liverpool John Moores University, Lisa Votodian of the University of Pittsburgh, and Meagan Morrissey of the University of Newcastle.

With advancements in text analytics and machine learning technology such as Explorance’s BlueML, more and more higher education institutions are attempting to take advantage of the ability to efficiently analyze qualitative comments in course evaluations for feedback-informed actions. Panelists set out to address various topics and challenges regarding comments of concern, including how they are determined and handled by whom.

Discussing the need for guiding policies and procedures to handle comments of concern, panelists shared their experiences and current practices. From manual screening efforts to the use of text analytics, panel members shared various approaches used at their respective institutions to identify concerning comments and escalate them accordingly.

In addition, panelists presented various approaches to proactively support students in improving feedback literacy by giving constructive feedback. From awareness campaigns that showcase what constructive feedback looks like to revising survey questions to better elicit constructive feedback, panelists discussed the importance of feedback literacy to further improve the institution’s learning environment and as a fundamental skill for students as they transition into the workforce.

As the need to address comments of concern becomes a greater priority for higher education institutions, the Bluenotes Community is eager to continue problem-solving together to further advance this topic as a community.

Watch the Full Panel Discussion

Re-connecting the Community

Before Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022 began, many attendees arrived early to kick off their trip with some pre-conference fun. From training camps and pre-conference workshops to Bluenotes Community meetups, attendees took the extra days to re-connect with one another, help shape the future of Explorance, and learn new skills.

“I would recommend the Bluenotes GLOBAL Conference to any Blue administrator. The Blue users you’ll meet are smart, creative, and always willing to share and collaborate. The Explorance staff are so genuine, knowledgeable, and accessible. The conference is a great opportunity to embed yourself in a very cool community. I left BNG 2022 feeling excited and empowered to use Blue in new and meaningful ways.” – Bluenotes Community Member

In response to popular demand, Explorance hosted two specifically designed instructor-led face-to-face Blue Expert and Blue Report Master Certification training camps in the lead-up to this year’s conference. After completing the hands-on, 3-day training workshop, the new Blue Experts and Report Masters gained the necessary knowledge and skills to take their expertise to the next level. Congratulations to all freshly certified Blue Experts and Blue Report Masters!

The weekend before the conference, many attendees who arrived early had the opportunity to join various Explorer-led workshops and Bluenotes Community meetups. Led by Solution Engineers, Consultants, Customer Success Managers, and Professional Services from Explorance, attendees were greeted with a host of different workshops, covering all the features Blue has to offer.

“BNG2022 was a great event, enabling me to engage closely with new and existing colleagues on key elements of evaluating the student experience. There were several tangible takeaways for immediate change, and opportunities to network collectively about longer term future directions.” – Bluenotes Community Member

Additionally, Bluenotes Community members hosted their very own meetups, where Blue Experts, Medical and Health Sciences institutions, and Reporting & Analytics enthusiasts all had specific get-togethers to meet one another and share best practices.

Explorance’s UX team also hosted their very own workshop before and during Bluenotes GLOBAL 2022. At the UX Lab, attendees were introduced to the Blue 9 and had the opportunity to co-create a customer journey map – helping the UX team identify gaps in current processes, optimize workflows, and explore potential solutions together.

What’s Next?

The Bluenotes MENA conference will be returning for the first time in two years! Due to the global pandemic, we have been unable to host an in-person event with Bluenotes Community members based in the MENA region since 2019. Fortunately, we are excited to announce Bluenotes MENA 2022, hosted by Zayed University in Dubai and set to take place from October 25-27, 2022.

Don’t forget to also save the date, July 30 – August 2, 2023, for Bluenotes GLOBAL 2023, as we return to Louisville, Kentucky for Bluenotes GLOBAL’s 10-year and Explorance’s 20-year anniversaries! Be sure to stay in touch with Bluenotes Community to find out more information, as well as the 2023 Explorance Faculty Research Grant Call for Applications.

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