Marist College Higher Education Tech Innovation

OAAI Early Alert System Overview

The Innovation: The Open Academic Analytics Initiative (OAAI)

Early detection of at-risk students can trigger proactive support to help students get past roadblocks and stay on a path to academic success.

The OAAI offers an open-source solution that identifies at-risk students through predictive analytics. The model applies data mining techniques to a large set of student demographic and aptitude data as well as event logs and gradebook data stored in the Sakai learning management system (LMS). 

When used in conjunction with intervention strategies like student awareness emails and the Online Academic Support Environment (OASE) of remediation resources, study skill development, academic supports, and student mentors, the OAAI promotes student content mastery, semester-to-semester persistence, and degree completion.

Marist College Open Academic Analytics Initiative
Open Academic Analytics Initiative Introduction Video
Presentation: Open Academic Analytics Initiative OAAI
Open Academic Analytics Initiative Introductory Presentation

Results Achieved: The project demonstrated that predictive models can be “ported” from one academic context to another and retain most of their predictive power.

In addition, the OAAI exhibited a positive and statistically significant impact on students’— including low-income students—average course grades and content mastery.  SRI, the project evaluator, deemed OAAI to be a project that experienced significant positive average effects, meaning student project participants earned better outcomes than those enrolled in conventional versions of the same course.

Long term Goal: To enlarge the open analytics user base, especially within the Sakai LMS community; and to build a library of “tunable” predictive models designed for specific academic contexts and course delivery models.

The Grant Project:

Marist College received a grant from NGLC in April 2011 to do the following:

  • Develop and deploy an open source academic early alert system and the OAAI predictive model
  • Improve our understanding of how learning analytics can best be scaled across higher education institutions
  • Determine the effectiveness of intervention strategies on student performance


  • Savannah State University
  • College of the Redwoods
  • Cerritos College
  • North Carolina A&T

Since the grant period ended, Marist College worked with other institutions and commercial affiliates under the Apereo Foundation's Learning Analytics Initiative to continue developing OAAI as an open platform for predictive learning analytics. In 2015, Marist College and the Student Success Plan (SSP), also funded by an NGLC grant to Sinclair Community College, began working with Jisc to develop OAAI, SSP, and other components into a cloud-based service offering for UK colleges and universities.