The State Way – Blackboard Predict Pilot


Tracy Adkins
Georgia State University, Director, Learning Technology

Timothy Harfield
Blackboard Analytics

Lisa Kafati
LMS Director, University System of Georgia


Since 2011, Georgia State University has been a pioneer in the high impact use of predictive analytics in support of student success. Until recently, however, GSU’s predictive analytics only used data from the Student Information System. In 2016, GSU began working with Blackboard to pilot its LMS predictive analytics solution, Blackboard Predict. This presentation will outline the Georgia State approach to piloting, evaluating, and scaling educational technologies and describe the results of our pre-pilot with Blackboard Predict. We will describe lessons learned and how these have informed the shape of the full pilot program that is currently underway.


Tracy Adkins leads the Learning Technologies division for the Georgia State University Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Her organization provides faculty development, learning technology solutions, and technology education programs for employees and students. Current areas of focus include learning analytics, adaptive learning, and next-generation digital learning environments. Prior to joining Georgia State University, Tracy held various staff and leadership roles at Georgia Perimeter College for over 14 years. She was previously employed by Mercer University as an Instructional Technology Specialist. Tracy holds a BS in Computer Science and M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Georgia College & State University.

Timothy D. Harfield, PhD is Senior Product Marketing Manager for Analytics & Assessment at Blackboard Inc. A philosopher by training, Dr. Harfield has published and presented widely on how learning analytics can be used in a variety of contexts to promote student success in a way that is compatible with humanistic values. Prior to joining Blackboard in 2016, Dr. Harfield served as Project Director in the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success at Georgia State University, and as a Fellow with the University Innovation Alliance.

Lisa Kafati is the Director of Learning Management Systems for the University System of Georgia. The USG is comprised of 28 public higher education institutions across the state of Georgia consisting of over 300,000 students. Lisa served as the Project Manager on the system wide transition from Blackboard Vista to D2L and since as the LMS Associate Director and currently Director. Previously, Lisa Kafati held management positions in information technology at Hewlett-Packard and Electronic Data Systems.