Trying to monitor student engagement

9 Sep

Over the summer months I have had several very productive meetings with key stakeholders from across campus to discuss the various ICT systems and student data that can be exploited to help our Pedestal for Progression project.  The idea is to see which data is easily available, that can be brought together to help tutors get a better picture of the progress (or lack of) of their students.

We have worked with the Library systems team, for example, on accessing both staff and student data on the borrowing of items from the library catalogue and access to books found on a the reading lists associated with their modules.  Loughborough uses the open source LORLS system (developed by the library systems team) which has just had a new release.  As part of the developments for our project, the team has worked on a library API for the library systems (including LORLS) which allows other applications to make requests for this information based on staff ID or student ID.  It’s an exciting step and the API is now up and running ready for external applications to utilise.  I intend to develop a page for the Co-Tutor system in the coming weeks, so that tutors can easily see a snapshot of this information throughout the year.

I also met with colleagues from the E-Learning Systems team and networks team in IT Services, the Student Information manager in the Registry, the Head of E-Learning, Chair of the E-Learning Advisory group, Head of Student Services and several academics on the topic of using the VLE and the Attendant system for ‘engagement monitoring’.  Some very useful and interesting items came up such as; it is preferable to monitor engagement at a Programme level rather than module level; activity logs within Moodle are too detailed at present and need some form of rationalising to make it useful for tutors; student activity with the VLE must be linked to staff activity on a module and student activity must be in the context of the cohorts activity in general for that module (likewise for attendance); different sessions require different monitoring e.g. some sessions and resources are more critical than others so automated emails etc need to take into account that fact; showing the information back to the students as well as staff would be useful; Student Services would like to be alerted sooner rather than later about a struggling student; confidentiality clauses are different within different Schools for the disclosure of certain information; would it also be right/ethical to check whether a student had been accessing emails or not?

As a result of these meetings and the research work done, developments have been planned to Co-Tutor, the attendance monitoring system and LEARN (moodle).  In the coming months, tutors should have a much richer picture of their students engagement!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: