HEat Index, Issue 7 – Data Visualizations and AI Institutional Journeys



In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, where technology and data have become increasingly central to our operations and experiences, today’s issue shines a light on two critical tools: data visualization and artificial intelligence. We’ll explore the transformative power of visualizing complex data and investigate how AI is shaping the future of education, uncovering the strategies that institutions are employing to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by these technological advancements. 

After reading today’s issue, let us know what your favorite data visualization is and why in the comments! 


Data Visualization Introduction 

From The what, why and how of data visualisation for higher education | Times Higher Education   

In this primer, Andrew Moles offers an accessible introduction and helpful advice for how to get started with data visualizations in higher education.    

Our Thoughts 

As we see in the 2024 EDUCAUSE Top 10, data remains an important asset for higher education institutions seeking to leverage analytics to address challenges or improve learning outcomes. Visualizing data is an important part of data analysis, as seeing the data allows you to gain an understanding that is sometimes hidden by descriptive statistics alone (see the Datasaraus dozen for an example).   

Visualization is an integral component to data storytelling and helps you breathe life into the raw numbers, which rarely tell a compelling story by themselves (maybe just in the dad joke sense as in the classic “why was 6 afraid of 7?”). However, creating your first visualization can be intimidating for some and this article provides an excellent introduction, teeming with great advice to help you get started.  


An AI Interview with EDUCAUSE 

From Getting Comfortable with “I Don’t Know”: Educause’s 2024 AI Landscape Study | Campus Technology  

The Campus Technology Insider podcast speaks with EDUCAUSE Senior Researcher Jenay Robert to discuss its first AI Landscape Study and what it tells us about institutional AI journeys.   

Our Thoughts 

In the first issue of the HEat Index, we covered the 2024 EDUCAUSE AI Landscape Study, stating “this report is especially relevant as it provides critical insights into the integration and impact of AI in higher education and can help institutions understand how their AI initiatives align with the overall industry.” After listening to this podcast with the report’s author, which expands upon what was covered in the report, we believe the report has even more value to institutions.   

The interview humanizes the report and puts it into additional levels of context on campuses. More importantly, Jenay Robert reassures us that it’s okay to be comfortable with feeling like you don’t know enough about AI if you’re willing to look for answers at your institution.   

Overall, just a very interesting behind-the-scenes look at how this EDUCAUSE report was created. 


Addressing AI Literacy 

From We need to address the generative AI literacy gap in higher education | Times Higher Education   

Emphasizing the necessity of addressing the generative AI literacy gap in higher education to ensure that faculty, staff, and students understand how generative AI technologies work, Arizona State University discusses its AI initiatives across the university community.   

Our Thoughts 

Much like the above discussion about data visualization, AI literacy is another important and timely topic for higher education institutions to consider. Although AI was only recently introduced to the world, its rapid evolution and the need to ensure equity across our institutions are exactly the reasons why we should tackle the AI literacy gap before it grows too large.   

Drawing on examples from Arizona State University, the author compellingly advocates for the critical need to enhance AI literacy among students, faculty, and staff. ASU is not alone in working to address this with similar initiatives at the University of Michigan, the University of California Irvine, Washington University, and others, ensuring that AI does not create the next digital divide. 

Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor
Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions

Allen Taylor is a self-proclaimed higher education and data science nerd. He currently serves as a Senior Solutions Ambassador at Evisions and is based out of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years of higher education experience at numerous public, private, small, and large institutions, Allen has successfully lead institution-wide initiatives in areas such as student success, enrollment management, advising, and technology and has presented at national and regional conferences on his experiences. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Western Carolina University, a Master of Science degree in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Teaching, Learning, and Technology from Lehigh University. When he’s trying to avoid working on his dissertation, you can find him exploring the outdoors, traveling at home and abroad, or in the kitchen trying to coax an even better loaf of bread from the oven.

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