Ribbon Tool

The Ribbon tool’s visualizations help to identify patterns and reveal data points that help shape questions, whether from an overall view or focused more granularly on particular points in curricula or other factors that appear to impact success within a major or group of majors.  Why do students in a particular major leave at a certain point in the 4-year pathway?  Are there things that could be done to mitigate migration?  The tool was recently highlighted in the international science journal Nature’s article, “University learning: Improve undergraduate science education,” as a way to use longitudinal student data to inform retention and recruitment efforts.


Using the Tool

Categories can be subdivided one or more times. Example: Students at a university could be categorized by enrollment status, college, or general academic discipline, and then major. This allows you to see flows between majors and colleges over time.

The ribbon tool can show student population flows within a university over time.

A category of students can be broken down into any number of sub-categories.

You can isolate categories to track a certain group over time. Example: Starting from the entire student population, isolate students enrolled as chemistry majors at a certain time and then follow them over time to see how many graduate.

A category of students can be isolated in order to examine them more closely.

Here, we only wanted to examine students who were enrolled in a certain chemistry course at a certain time and then see their course taking behavior in subsequent courses in a series.

You can filter population based on user provided demographics. Example: You want to see the attrition rates of first generation college students as opposed to non-first generation students.

Providing optional demographic information allows different populations to be compared.

Here we filter the overall student populatioin to see only students who enrolled as freshman.

These categories and demographic filters are completely flexible which means this tool can be used to understand any sort of population movements that may interest an institution.

Try it with your own data by preparing CSV or JSON data in this format.

When you sign up, search for your university or institution in the list or create a new one. Each university has its own private environment within the tool. The Ribbon Tool is hosted by Amazon Web Services and any data you upload is kept encrypted and private. Diagrams and data you create are only accessible by you until you explicitly share them with other users in your university.

The Ribbon Tool is still under development and feedback is always appreciated.  We would be excited to hear suggestions for new features - please send your feedback to tea@ucdavis.edu.

The Ribbon Tool was developed as part of a Helmsley Trust grant in collaboration with the TEA community.


Contact: tea@ucdavis.edu

Supplemental content

Math and Physical Sciences Attrition:

Visualizing who leaves and when

There are many initiatives to increase the number of students with degrees in STEM fields. One way to increase the number of students with STEM degrees is to reduce the number of students who leave STEM majors. A first step to reducing attrition is understanding who leaves STEM majors, and when, in order to target interventions for at-risk populations prior to departure.

The ALEKS Summer Preparatory Chemistry Course:

Measuring student progress in an online course to target interventions

The chemistry department, in partnership with Educational Effectiveness Hub, is piloting the use of ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces), a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system, as a summer course that will prepare students to enroll in General Chemistry in the fall term.  Many students are underprepared for this required foundational course, often because they have not taken chemistry since sophomore year in high school.  A series of ribbon tool visualizations identifies students to target for interventions prior to the deadline to finish the preparatory course.