Evaluate: Data Driven Instruction, Analytics, Reporting Tools Quest

posted May 24, 2016, 8:36 AM by Emily Kroutil   [ updated May 24, 2016, 8:39 AM ]
The great thing about teaching a completely online course is that the software often gives you excellent data about your students and their progress.  As an instructor of one of these courses, you can see a wide-variety of data.

The instructor can view enrollment and attendance.  You can see how many students are enrolled in the course and the length of the course.  You can also see demographic information about each individual student.  You can see who is responsible for paying for the course, whether they've taken the orientation course, who has dropped the course, and what sort of EOCT the students are taking if they are taking one.  In the example in the quest, the school was responsible for paying most of the students' fees, all had taken the orientation, no one had dropped (yet), and all were taking the EOCT at the end of the course.

Instructors can also keep track of communication with stakeholders.  In each instance, the instructor sent a welcome call via Dial My Calls to the student.  In one example, the instructor used Dial My Calls to call the parent about a failing grade.  It seems like in this instance it might have been helpful if the instructor had sent the welcome call to the parent as well as the student.  The student in this example ended up dropping the course, which would have changed the "drop" information in the previous paragraph.  I liked how this software recorded the date and time of the contact.  It is an excellent way to CYA.  In the second example, the instructor sent a Happy Gram email to the parents of students that did well in the course.  I love this idea!  Sometimes, I will have students that ask me to please email their parents a Happy Gram about their grade on a test or simply work ethic in class.  I happily oblige!  Whatever it takes to get the kids engaged and learning the material!

The LMS allows instructors to see how the students are progressing through the course, how often they access the course, how long they are spending online, and what they are doing.  This information is useful to see exactly what the students are doing online.  Are they spending their time wisely?  Are they procrastinating?  Are their habits causing a low grade (or a high grade)?  For example, if the students are doing all of their assignments right before their summative assessment, it might be useful to  have staggered due dates for assignments so the students cannot procrastinate to the last minute with their work.  Some students aren't particularly good at pacing themselves, so this might help those students.  I would, however, make the assignments available early, for those students that like to work ahead (I'm one of those students...).  This might allow students to work at relatively their own pace, but also provide some structure for those students that have difficulty with the unstructured nature of online classes.

The LMS also allows the students to look at their own data, which is quite nice.  The students can view their grades on assessments AND personalized feedback from the instructor.  This is nice because it allows the students to know why they lost points if they lost points, but also lets the student know that the teacher read their work.  I have to admit, I appreciate that the verifiers in this course provided detailed feedback for these blog posts.  It lets me know that I'm not wasting my time creating these entries and that at least one person will read them.  The students feel the same way about comments on their work.  Students can also look at questions they have missed on assessments, which is great because they can see where they are struggling and practice those specific types of questions a little more.  Reviewing these assessments would probably also be useful when preparing and reviewing for summative assessments.  It would probably be a good idea to allow the students to access their assessments AFTER the due date so "collaboration" (i.e. cheating) is more difficult.

At the beginning of the course, it would be useful to add instructions on how to access their own data in the orientation information.  It would also be useful to post the instructions on how to access their data somewhere on the LMS where they can view it easily.  This way, if they forget how to access this information, they can see how to access this information.