High-Impact Practices at UD

​By Kevin R. Guidry, Senior Research Analyst, Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning
University of Delaware

This image was originally created to inform discussion at a First Friday Roundtable on teaching held in the spring of 2013. The roundtable focused on high-impact practices, and this visualization illustrated baseline data for our discussion as we examined the extent to which we – faculty and staff – are engaged in practices that have the characteristics of these high-impact practices.  We used these data to introduce the broad topic and ensure we held a common understanding of things.  We then moved on to apply a high-impact rubric derived from the characteristics to specific practices in which participants engage.

Although this visualization was conceived as a poster to help with one workshop, its application has expanded. During the workshop it was useful to use snippets of this visualization, one practice at a time, to guide our discussion. We also provided the visualization as a handout (slightly modified to fit on legal-sized paper; the poster-sized aspect ratio and size made it difficult to directly adapt this for other uses) at the workshop and apparently it has been copied and handed out by attendees since then. We are now starting to use this in other discussions across campus as we look forward to our upcoming 2014 NSSE administration. Although this is a simple visualization of very straight-forward data, it has been successful because it’s an easy way to understand the relative participation of University of Delaware students in these powerful practices.

(See PDF of Image)    



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Total Comments: 12
JR posted on 2/12/2014 6:29 PM
This is an incredibly useful and attractive way to visually demonstrate levels of any type of engagement or participation. I could see readily adapting this approach [and will!] for a number of reports I am currently working on and I can imagine this being very well received and usable by faculty and staff alike! Like the simplicity and clarity, along with the ability to color-code the visuals as needed - great example!
Gary posted on 2/12/2014 6:40 PM
Where are the little women!? Just kidding - I like the gist of it. Maybe if you reduced the number of little men - perhaps replace the tiny men with bar plots - you could make the bulleted text on top a bit larger and add variation to the graphics. For it's purpose as a poster, I think it is fun and interesting.
Ghenet posted on 2/12/2014 10:24 PM
The presentation of the visual data of high impact practices is creative. Giving footnotes puts the presentation into context/perspective. I wish the red/pink & blue was used to differentiate male & female to easily catch readers' attention. In addition to that, it looks busy. A data that would have been in single bar now has multiple figures ... etc.
Ijay posted on 2/13/2014 4:08 AM
The optimism and meta-cognition that was invested in this wonderful graphic representation is awesome!One thing that has separated one faculty and the other is dearth of knowledge creation and knowledge transfe.This is indeed an excellent way of making research play visible and significant role in improving universities effectiveness in external appearance.In this visual display,the cursory attention of a lay man(usually scared by figures,charts,and their interpretations)is captured.This is the new paradigm that AIR should be poised to promote,dymystifying research process and research reports and interpretations.This is very very encouraging to students and faculty.Its self-interpreting.However,this results indicate that less attention is given to students research ,and I doubt if variations are actually significant among other universities and colleges,even across the globe.what do you think ?
Pam posted on 2/13/2014 8:27 AM
I LOVE infographics so I may be a little biased here, but I love this. It's equally informative and eye-catching. This is a great way to easily depict an area of institutional importance so that everyone understands and can discuss.
Betsy posted on 2/13/2014 8:55 AM
This is a very friendly-looking poster, and easy to get the point particularly of the disparities. I suspect it would work better as the topic by topic visual, especially on the home campus to generate discussion of why more high impact activities aren't happening, or aren't happening for specific groups.
Tim posted on 2/13/2014 8:58 AM
This is an extremely useful graphic in terms of facilitating discussion. Whether it was for round-table discussions or at a poster presentation, they visualization of the information is easy to follow and appropriately playful. You are talking about people, so it's nice to see something more than just bars and lines. The colors used are also an excellent way to engage the reader quickly.
Jeff posted on 2/13/2014 10:05 AM
This is a wonderful example of using NSSE survey data to better understand differences in engagement levels among subsets of your own population. Too many schools make the mistake of thinking the purpose of such survey data is to outscore other colleges.

As an expert in information usage, I am not a fan of infographics. It is harder for ME to find the information in this display than simpler more traditional graphs. However, if this display actually gets other people to actually look at the data, it may be more effective at getting people to learn the insights contained than a simpler graph.
Kevin posted on 2/13/2014 4:42 PM
Thanks for all of the comments and questions!

As many of you noted, we really strove for simplicity with this particular representation of data. It was originally used with a very diverse audience with a wide variety of statistical and measurement sophistication. Although this graphic glosses over or ignores many of the nuances that really exist in these data we had to keep it clear and straight forward to focus the discussion on high impact practices and their characteristics instead of focusing on statistical analysis or the many interpretations that could be offered.
Kevin posted on 2/13/2014 4:48 PM
@Ghenet I specifically avoided using blue and pink to represent men and women because that really bothers some people and I didn't want our discussions to be derailed by issues unrelated to the topic. Along the same lines, I also avoided using brown or yellow to represent "non-White" students.
Kevin posted on 2/13/2014 4:51 PM
@Betsy When appropriate (e.g., using other media like Powerpoint) we have displayed only one practice at a time. It works quite well and it's nice that we can very easily cut this poster apart to do just that. This was originally done in Publisher so it's easy to highlight the particular practice(s) in which we are interested and cut-and-paste them into other documents.
Mitch posted on 2/17/2014 6:45 PM
I think the overall presentation is nice, good font choice, and the colors are good. Visually, there are a few items that could be improved upon.

First, the text/stick figure relationship is a bit odd, especially with the smaller figures. With the text at the right side of the more transparent figures, the text appears to be connected to the figure immediately to the right, creating some confusion until the reader examines the images/text a bit closer (and more slowly -- both of which defeat the purpose of an infographic). Meanwhile, the text that does go with the figures in the second position in each row seems to be floating out to nowhere and attached to nothing. I would suggest moving the text to the immediate left of the opaque portion of the stick figure icons - that would essentially anchor the text to the portion of the figure the eye is naturally drawn to (the darker part of the icons).

Second, the word "all" is not necessary, as the % sign provides that information already.

Third, the UD logo at the top-left, with no counterpart in the top-right, makes the overall layout feel unbalanced (the same could be said for the fact that "Senior Capstone Experience" and "Study Abroad" are not aligned with one another).

Fourth, I would re-color the larger people-icons red(ish) as opposed to having a smaller set red; my eye kept getting drawn to the red figures first, since that is considered a "hot" color, and usually used to make the most important item stand out.

Overall, I think it is a very nice piece of work!