C21U worked with others at Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE), Georgia State University (GSU), the University System of Georgia (USG), and USG eCampus to plan a series of events on “precision academics.” A relatively new term, we’re using it to describe technology-enabled, data-informed, and empirically-evidenced instruction.

At its core, precision academics is using digital data from student learning activities to inform and improve instruction. Just as precision medicine is being driven by extensive laboratory and clinical data that can now be parsed, mined, and focused into solutions for ever more finely-grained categories of individuals – precision academics is technology-enabled, data-informed, and empirically-evidenced instruction.

During the 2018-19 academic year, the USG Precision Academics Workgroup produced and promoted activities to:

  • Create awareness of the precepts, paradigms, and possibilities of precision academics.
  • Develop an understanding of the emerging and exemplary practices and practitioners of precision academics.
  • Foster discussion and discovery activities that develop an ability for USG faculty and institutions to adopt, adapt, and support precision academic designs and methods.


  • Increasing the Utility of Open Competencies: “Competency Catalyst” - a joint project proposal from the University System of Georgia, BrightHive Inc., and Credential Engine to pilot an automated approach to the mapping and linking of competencies to instructional content - was chosen as a winning proposal as part of the Department’s Reimagining Higher Education Ecosystem Challenge.

  • Inside Higher Ed on Precision Academics: Technology is enabling the rise of precision academics in higher education, writes Myk Garn, who describes the game-changing potential of mapping and coding the academic genome.

  • C21U Blog Post on Precision Academics: Matt Lisle (C21U) interviews Myk Garn (USG) on the precision academics workgroup activities.

Four adults studying at a table

Past Events

Deploying Precision Education at National University
May 3, 2019

Panelists shared a model of delivering education in an adaptable platform capable of considering the specific needs of each unique learner, informed and guided by evidence-based data analytics. 

Chancellor’s Summit on Precision Academics
June 14, 2019

The Precision Academics Workgroup hosted the day-long event day focused on informing and improving instruction through the use of student learning data at Georgia State University.

The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)
April 26, 2019

Featuring Charla Long, executive director of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), this presentation focused on: What is CBE? Who is doing CBE? Why are institutions pursuing CBE? What is the current state of the field? (featuring the AIR survey highlights and C-BEN's Quality Framework), and how to take the next steps in CBE by participating in Network and CBExchange.

On-Time Intervention Using Analytics in Online Classes
April 12, 2019

For over a year, eCore has utilized Knewton (adaptive learning platform) and LMS analytics to provide on-time intervention for its Math 1113 (pre-Calculus) students. Assignments are given regular due dates, and students' progress is monitored by faculty teaching the courses as well as embedded STEM tutors. Reports on student progress can be generated in real-time, allowing faculty to provide, create or emphasize resources targeting the specific areas in which students are struggling. In this presentation, the panel discussed each element of this plan and how teaching practices have evolved over time due to its execution.

Data-Driven Learning Design
March 20, 2019

The webinar presented two studies: The Application of Analytics To Renovate and Improve Content in an Online Introductory Computer Course and How Data From an Online Platform (edX) Can Be Used To Quantify an Archetype for Course Design.

Designing and Digitizing Transparent Course and Program Outcomes
January 28, 2019

Transparency of course and program outcomes to students is essential for student success. As such, the infrastructure for assessment of the pharmacy education competency-driven curriculum at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy is anchored to the Visible Learning philosophy, designed to provide real-time, meaningful feedback to all stakeholders, informing student learning and program and instructional effectiveness (Hattie, 2012). In order to guide students to move from surface learning to deeper learning, course learning outcomes are integrated and hardwired to a robust curricular map which is also connected to the knowledge and skills called for by employers representing a vast array of professions and jobs that don’t yet exist. Digitizing the process allows all stakeholders to see the connections and progress toward mastery of competencies. It also provides an end-to-end comprehensive learner record for students, employers, and higher education institutions.

IBM Watson Education
January 10, 2019

IBM Watson Education is a platform-centric, partner-led group whose mission is to transform education using A.I. This webinar focused on the Watson Tutor technology, a 1:1 intelligent tutoring system used to improve student performance and provide deep, actionable insights to educators. IBM has partnered with Pearson, Sesame Workshop, and Edmodo to develop the Watson Tutor and reach students across the learning spectrum. In 2019, IBM plans to enable educators at universities to build customized Watson Tutors for their students.

Library Instruction and Its Impact on Student Success
January 3, 2019

Libraries across the country have been conducting research studies to demonstrate the impact our instruction has on student success. The libraries in the University System of Georgia are no different. In this webinar, presenters shared case studies from Kennesaw State University and the University of West Georgia that indicate library instruction, be it a 50-minute “one-shot” or a full for-credit course, is likely to result in increased student retention, progression, and graduation rates. The presenters also discussed recent changes to professional standards for library instruction and the various modalities in which librarians teach.

Precision Academics - GSU Adaptive Implementation
November 7, 2018

Georgia State University is one of eight institutions that received a grant from the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities to explore adaptive learning at scale. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with oversight from the APLU Personalized Learning Consortium, the three-year pilot explores adaptive learning courseware in high enrollment, high DFW courses. Related to the grant, this session covered the development, implementation, and results of the 2017-19 shift to adaptive learning in GSU’s Global Issues course (roughly 2,500 students annually). Drs. Brown and Grussendorf explained their journey along the adaptive learning path, their full-scale launch of adaptive learning courseware (Realizeit), and their to-date findings in an ongoing academic study.

Webinar featuring a keynote from Dr. Tristan Denley, USG Chief Academic Officer
October 2, 2018

USG Chief Academic Officer Dr. Tristan Denley showcased examples, exemplars, and entrepreneurial efforts to apply the models and lessons learned from predictive analytics using end-of-course and term data to explore the potential of lesson-level data collected during a term.