We have begun our 2016 learning analytics projects, or rather learner analytics as this project is more focused on the student experience, with a recent kick off workshop.
The project, Improving the Student Experience through Learning Analytics, will use analytics to promote self reflection and self efficacy and the student experience, enabling students to learn in a more efficient and effective manner. Students will participate in their learning through the creation of meaningful data presentation resources, that are based on their learning behaviours, in conjunction with the aggregated data of their course cohort. By experiencing participation with an analytics process, they will gain insight into personal success factors that affect engagement and future grades. Teaching staff will also be able to better understand their student learning patterns, as well as identify students likely to be at risk. 900 students will be trialed during 2016. Ethics approval was gained in 2015 enabling commencement in first semester. This week Kat Daley is starting with her research strategies for humanities students. The participating courses come from degree and honours courses.
- Biostatistics online course, Lecturer James Baglin, SEH. 140 students
- Research Strategies – Social Science, Lecture Kat Daley, DSC. 400 Students
- Techniques for Project Planning and Management (BUSM3308) Lecturer Ehsan Gharaie, DSC, 170 Students
- Developing Mobility Solutions ISYS2048, Lecturer Chris Cheong,40 students
- Information Systems Solutions and Design, ISYS2047, Lecturer France Cheong, 70 students
- E-Business Systems INTE2047, Lecturer France Cheong, 70 students
This is obviously key in a student experience project. A student has been recruited to join the project team. It will be important to get student input into design of activities and will be helpful to inform how we sell the benefit. We will also need to clarify what is the learner data and define who has what access. It will be helpful to have a student to advise on sharing and spreading the practices and findings. Someone at the workshop gave a great example of how students from one college, have spoken to students of another college about new educational technology, causing it to spread through requests to staff. Students spread the word about what works well (or badly) in their courses and changes in teaching practices can spread in this way.
We also need to document how engagement with students occurs for best uptake and benefit of the tools provided. This will also include understanding the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Students want to know what’s in it for them and it will be interesting to find out how participation with their data might also improve their enjoyment of a course or study.
Staff need a way in which to approach analytics that is both consistent with other practice across the university and gives benefit for students. With the variety of tools being used we need to have a way of creating methods for teachers that tie together common practice.
It looks like the Experience API could be a useful approach to take. Experience API, also known as x API or TinCan API, may enable us to tie together with a common language, the use of diverse online learning and teaching tools. It may also help the need for nuancing application of different measures for particular course needs.
We have also set up this community for sharing as we learn about analytics. You might like to join and share something. You might find there are students watching and taking part too.
Ensuring intended impact
We will need to have good data, from appropriate platforms. As well we will need good analysis of the data and visualisations. One key activity that emerged out of the workshop is that we have some key people available to work on data and visualisations toward building student dashboards this semester.
Building on and refining previous activity will also help impact and evaluation of the project. We have the student survey from last year’s project and the work done by Kat Daley with her class, that will lead into the work done with students this year by the other academics in the project.
Dissemination will be via multiple channels, in particular the Digital Learn Team blog. We will continue presentations and workshops although there will be less this year in order to focus on the student outcomes.
Feature image licensed Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) by James Royal-Lawson https://flic.kr/p/cDW4QQ