Webinar Series: Practical Approach to Program Data

Posted by National College Access Network on September 21, 2015

A Practical Approach to Program Data

The collection, management, analysis, and reporting of data all affect a program’s capacity to serve its students, but these topics can sometimes be confusing. Even programs with a seemingly good handle on working with data can learn new tricks and techniques to help them get better. In order to help college access and success programs improve their capacity with data, NCAN is teaming up with Idealware to offer an exciting benefit for our members! Later this month, we will kick off a six webinar series titled “A Practical Approach to Program Data.”

Starting Thursday, September 24, webinars will take place approximately every three weeks. Topics will progress from which questions to ask of data all the way through how to make use of data both internally and externally. Although programs will get the most benefit from attending all six webinars, each individual webinar is intended to stand alone.
Please join NCAN for the following webinars:

Thursday, September 24 – 2PM EST – “Asking the Right Questions of Your Data”


Simply collecting data is not enough. Deciding early on what you will do with that data—and why you want it in the first place—will help you to define goals and approaches. We’ll talk through how to define what metrics would be useful to your organization—from your mission down, from the ground up, and by connecting your work to existing research.

Thursday, October 8 – 2PM EST – “Technologies for Managing Data”


You’re likely already tracking a substantial amount of useful data—whether already neatly laid out in a database, in staff spreadsheets, in software you haven’t looked at in six months, or public repositories. We’ll discuss where different data can live, which sources of data might be useful, and where and how you can collect it to be ready for analysis. This session will include discussion on case management platforms specific to the college access community.

Thursday, October 29 – 2PM EST – “Defining Your Metrics”


Through the process of the course so far, we’ve defined what metrics might be useful to measure your fuzzy mission, what’s straightforward to collect and track, and what you can practically analyze. In this session, we’ll talk about how to put those together into a useful, practical plan for what you should actually measure, as well as how you can analyze your data to create those metrics. We’ll look at a series of case studies, customized to the college access community to understand what other small-to-medium-sized organizations are actually measuring and how it connects with their mission.

Thursday, November 19 – 2PM EST – “Analyzing Your Data”


What do you do with all that newly harvested data? How do you take those piles of raw data and make sense of them? In this class, we’ll break down the strategies you can use to analyze data and what your data can teach your organization.

Thursday, December 10 – 2PM EST – “Making Use of Your Data Internally”


This session will discuss using data to make programmatic refinements and adjustments, and to contemplate program expansion and next steps. We will also look to answer questions about how to get staff on board with effective data entry and tracking.

Thursday, January 7 – 2PM EST – “Making Use of Your Data Externally”


In the final session of the “A Practical Approach to Program Data” webinar series, we will discuss using data for marketing and promotion as well as public and funder relations.

These webinars will be posted in NCAN’s Webinar Archive after their broadcast date. If you have any questions about the webinar series, please contact Bill DeBaun at [email protected]! We look forward to seeing you and learning with your programs!


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