As with other fields of endeavor, being a competent practitioner within the domain of student success demands a level of knowledge currency relevant to one’s specific job role and responsibilities (i.e., area of practice). Indeed, we may employ a variety of means and sources to this end, including participation in conferences with like-minded peers, subscribing to /reading journals specific to a particular topic within our domain, and faithfully monitoring news feeds, blogs, twitter, and other social media outlets or communal “watering holes” if you will, that we believe are relevant to our work.
Nevertheless, there are times, particularly when starting a new collaborative or cross-functional project or initiative, when it is helpful to step back from the current incoming flow of information related to our specific roles and responsibilities and examine a larger body of literature that may help inform our initiative. This is a type of “reality check” on our knowledge and understanding — examining what we think we know, against the established paradigms, theoretical models, scholarly and applied research, data, and informed commentary. This can also help us position our applied work within a larger context and advocate for a particular approach based on how well it aligns to the existing documented knowledge and practices, or perhaps more importantly, how the recommended approach addresses one or more shortcomings of previous models and practices, relative to demonstrated or desired outcomes.
To assist our own efforts and those of other student success practitioners and innovators in this regard, I recently compiled several annotated bibliographies representing a broad survey of the scholarly and relevant grey literature on the topics of adaptive learning, predictive analytics (includes learning analytics), and retention/persistence. By no means are these annotated bibliographies intended to serve as definitive or exhaustive representations of the literature within those sub-domains. Rather, they serve as starting points for the student success practitioner who has chosen to conduct a formal or informal review of the literature. Some of the bibliographies I compiled also contain annotations indicating the number of times the resource was cited when it was included in the bibliography. My intention was not to imply endorsement of the source in question, but rather to indicate how often other research writers have referenced that source in their own work. I used Google Scholar to obtain the number of times cited, simply because it is an open resource available to anyone who has access to the Internet and Google’s free services. However, those undertaking more formalized reviews of the literature may wish to consult a citation database, such as Web of Science, via their college or university library portal.
You can access these annotated bibliographies and others compiled by my colleagues on the research page of UMUC’s Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success web site. We plan on posting additional research related resources to that page, as they become available.