Charge: Learning Analytics Group


In Summer 2017 an operational governance group was created to aid in the launch of Canvas as the UMN centrally-supported Learning Management System (LMS) and to guide the transition from the then current LMS, Moodle, to Canvas. This LMS Operational Governance group was sponsored by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Office of Information Technology and included representation from many colleges across the UMN Twin Cities campus, system campuses, and key central-unit partners including the University Libraries and Academic Support Resources (ASR). 

It became clear through the work of the LMS operational governance that there was a need for more coordination and governance in the academic technology ecosystem at the UMN, that goes beyond just the LMS and addresses some of the concepts found in the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) model. This led to the formation of an overarching academic technology governance group: DiaLOG. This operational governance committee is comprised of four groups: Course Content, Learning Platform, Learning Analytics, and Learning Tools and coordinated by a steering committee. This document provides the charge for the DiaLOG Learning Analytics Group.

A significant driver for work in learning analytics is Unizin. The University of Minnesota has been a member of the Unizin consortium since 2014. Unizin’s signature project is the Unizin Data Platform (UDP) which ingests data from Canvas, PeopleSoft, and other academic technology tools, and transforms the data using a common data model. The resulting standardized data is more readily useful for data application development. In AY2019, data generated in the University of Minnesota’s learning environment will be sent to the UDP. At the same time, work is being done to mature the security model, and to establish governing bodies and policy to ensure acceptable use of data (i.e., legal, ethical, secure).


The purpose of the DiaLOG Learning Analytics Group is to guide the operationalization of learning analytics as a sustainable educational practice at the University of Minnesota. The DiaLOG Learning Analytics group will work to bring clarity and transparency to the learning analytics environment, helping to determine the processes for supporting the use of these data. The DiaLOG Learning Analytics group will document processes and effective practices and provide guidance and feedback to administration, faculty, and researchers regarding learning analytics principles, policies, governance, and procedures. The group will coordinate and collaborate with appropriate partners and stakeholders to move learning analytics forward at the University of Minnesota.


In its first year, LA DiaLOG will focus on:


What are other institutions doing in the area of LA governance? Who is doing this work at the UofM? How are resources allocated? How are decisions made?


Establishing common language, transparent processes, and channels of communication; assessing ongoing resource requirements.


Identifying partners and stakeholders. Any projects moved forward in this first year should be selected with an eye toward growth in these areas. 

Toward these ends, the LA DiaLOG group’s efforts will initially be focused on the MyLA project, which has been discussed as the University’s first data/dashboard project. The work of piloting MyLA will help us to build out the environment to support future dashboard and data projects, and to support faculty in this area.


It is the responsibility of this group to:

  • Inform and facilitate the adoption or development of analytics tools for faculty, student and staff purposes.
  • Help faculty understand how to design learning environments that produce useful data and how data can be used to support students.
  • Communicate with students regarding learning analytics tools and projects.
  • Examine issues of privacy and ethical use of data raised by learning analytics tools and projects.
  • Help University administration communicate and provide documentation concerning learning analytics principles, policies, governance, and procedures.
  • Serve as a resource to other University groups and committees with missions related to data governance, analytics, academic technology, and teaching and learning.
  • Influence data standards, tool development, and partnerships through Unizin.

Dependencies and Related Groups

  • Provost’s Advisory Committee on Teaching, Learning and Technology (PACTLT)
  • Enterprise Data Management and Reporting (EDMR)
  • Senate Committee on Information Technologies (SCIT)
  • Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP)
  • University Learning Technology Advisors (ULTA)
  • UMN Unizin Coordinating Committee
  • TeachingSupport@UMN
  • Learning Analytics informal Community of Practice (LA iCOP)
  • DiaLOG Steering Committee

Meeting Schedule

  • Once monthly – entire group
  • As needed for subgroups


  • Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost 
  • Office of Information Technology (Keith Brown)


  • Lauren Marsh, Academic Technologist and Educator, Office of Information Technology
  • Emily Ronning, Director of Enhanced Learning, College of Liberal Arts

Chair Accountabilities

The chair plays an important role in coordinating group meetings and activities and has a responsibility to:

  • Manage meetings (schedule and communicate meeting logistics, prepare meeting agendas, assure appropriate meeting planning and follow-up, chair meetings).
  • Assure preparation of action plans and the completion of action items and project deliverables.
  • Keep group sponsors informed on progress and request meetings as needed.
  • Communicate and coordinate with partners and stakeholders.

Group Member Accountabilities

Each group member has a responsibility to:

  • Attend group meetings, actively participate in meetings, and promptly complete assignments.
  • Participate in framing-up recommendations and prepare deliverables.
  • Provide representation for the member’s respective department as well as other groups to which the member belongs; solicit input and communicate information and feedback.
  • Work to ensure group effectiveness and adherence to committee ground rules
  • Support group decisions and actions.

Ground Rules

First and foremost, all group members will participate in a manner that embraces the spirit of the DiaLOG charter: finding and embracing the healthy tension that is inherent to our work, talking through the tension in order to understand the issues, making sure everyone is heard and understood, and then finding a way to move forward as a group.

  • Start on time and work to stay on schedule. Come prepared.
  • If you must miss a meeting, you are responsible for all information and assignments. Contact the chair.
  • Post meeting notes within one week following meeting.
  • Monitor digressions and refocus the discussion.
  • Handle disagreements. Poll other co-workers on controversial decisions. Treat all members with courtesy and respect – regardless of opinions.
  • Honor confidentiality if requested. Otherwise, communicate with staff.
  • Take issues that involve a few people or further investigation offline.

Last edited October 2023