Learning analytics – A learning management system based early warning for academic advising in undergraduate engineering

I chose this chapter for my reading because it seemed to have relevance to the other chapter from this book, which concerned itself with the Point of originality tool. This chapter also concerns itself with analytical ways of identifying students with an under-average results to try to help them correct their path before it is too late.  Specific tool that was described in this article is called „The Student Explorer“. It was developed for the uses of STEM academy (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The tool works with data obtained from learning management systems and takes into account items such as grades, background, LMS use acros time  and the number of times student accessed the course. The tool then analyzes data and creates a profile which can hint as to the probability of student failure in course. It then not only gives this information to the instructors, who can engage, explore or encourage student, but also to the student himself to allow him to catch up.

In the process of writing this article, the tool was still in developement. It seemed to suffer from bad user interface which confused teachers. Overall teachers told the researchers that it was not beneficial in some great amount at this stage of developement. It however proved usefull for safeguarding students of second and third years, who are not so closely under the radar as the first years. To these people it priovided feedback that can be usefull in their study life.

In my opinion, the idea behind this tool is making a lot of sence. It could be helping students who dont have sufficiently developed study skills and prompút them to alocate more time into their study. The most important factor in this case would be well formed user interface which is easy to understand and provides you with methods from which you can benefit. I just cant figure out why the researchers did not first finish the product before testing it and writing article about it. The idea behind the tool seems sound, but at this stage of developement with much more tweeking neccesarry, it just feels like trying to present a half-baked product that is not currently using all of its assets to the maximum. Well programed product on these bases could in my oppinion serve as a safeguard for student and good notification tool for teachers.


2 thoughts on “Learning analytics – A learning management system based early warning for academic advising in undergraduate engineering”

  1. Hello Richard,
    thank you very much for your reflection and the map! 🙂 It is very nice and helpful.
    I can see two main ideas in the reflection:
    The importance of the user interface of the tool – I am curious if you already saw a similar kind of tool with a good user interface, or how you imagine it?
    The form/timing of the article – I didn’t read the article, right, but I am thinking if there could be something useful to see something in the process, not only the result. Especially in academia, it could mean that somebody else could give me some reflection or use my information about tool/process/research. It could start a conversation.
    I am wondering you may like chapter what I have read. There is a list of tools, you can check if you are interested more: Pardo, A. (2014). Designing learning analytics experiences. (pp. 15–38).

  2. Hii, I am sorry, but I can’t post on the Linking Thinking articles, so I am writing here. Feel free to delete this comment and post into the right place, but from my side on PC, it just can’t be done. 🙁
    About the first chapter, The digital revolution – are we there yet?, I share your disappointment a bit. I was hoping for something capable of the aha moments. But to be fair, the text was published in 2004, so it cant be that surprising. Even so, I would expect deeper insights, as you suggest too. I was also trying to think about the part of edtech experiments in teaching, you described them as „spicing the teaching up“, which is actually cool way how to say it. But I would not mind this experimental phase in general, as long as everyone is (was) aware that the state of experimenting could not (still cant!) be held forever. I mean, the edtech is still so new and more importantly, is keeps being new, because techs are new, therefore you really cant change the whole education based on the first feelings and expectations and hopes for technology in education, which was one of the reasons, technology have been finding its ways into edu processes slowly (yes, there are plenty of other reasons and this is oversimplification, but I hope I describe one of the viewpoints). What do you think about that? Where or for how long or is there really a place for experimenting in small measures with anything new, in this case, technology when changing the education? And if so, where would be the best moment to stop just trying and start changing for real? (#metaquestion, arent experiments the beginnings of change?)

    And the second chapter, Self-directed learning online and offline. The boom around self-learning in the 19th century really surprised me! And to not answer, but to give one of the thousands of viewpoints for one of your questions. 🙂 I agree, that it is truly hard to choose something and just stick with it. But my association goes on the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, which you could really like. He actually differs people in two groups. The members of the first group have cleared up their own specific stable standards and once they reached them, they are ok, they do not think about better possibilities. The second group always wants to explore more, see more, search for more; no surprise, that members of the second group are more often dissatisfied with the whole situation and final decision as well. (Good news for us from the group 2: a person should not belong just into one group, you can be really ok with choosing your clothes in the morning, but really picky with online courses. 🙂 The book is nice to read and I think it can learn all the unhappy picky people to think less about their decisions once they´ve made them. 🙂

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