Blackboard + Caliper + AWS = LRS

Analytics, Architecture
No, this equation isn’t the foundation of the Grand Unified Theory.  It’s just a simple way of getting LMS activity data into a Learner Record Store where it can be analyzed.  Arizona State University is among institutions that are pushing the learning analytics envelope, and continuing down that path requires agility when it comes to accessing and analyzing data.  To address this agility, the Action Research Lab and the University Technology Office partnered to build a cloud-based LRS using the Amazon Web Services cloud platform.  The goal of this post is to illustrate the steps we took to get Blackboard LMS data loaded in to a cloud-based Amazon Redshift database. Blackboard has long since committed to the IMS Caliper standard, so extracting events from the LMS is easy.  Unfortunately, there…
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Do You Want the Plumbing or the Sink?

Here at Blue Canary, we've made a reference to being a 'Data Janitor' on more than one occasion.  There was this article/tweet from back in March: We've always called ourselves data janitors...great to see it highlighted. Thanks for the find, @johncwhitmer ! — Mike Sharkey (@mjshark) March 25, 2015 ...and also a mention on my last blog post about 'Free like kittens vs. free like beer'.  So, in the spirit of our somewhat self-deprecating janitorial duties, I figured I dedicate a whole blog post to it.  Here goes. The reference started out as a joke with a few of us in the company.  We would be working on a predictive model or some complex data analysis problem, and then read an article about how data scientists are the hot, up-and-coming,…
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