Data Visualisation #3

“A week of Engagement Analytics”

This week I used the LMS system we use to track student’s engagement, to track my own interactions and ‘engagement’ with the course materials over the past week.

This week I used the LMS we use at school to track my own engagement with the course resources and materials over the past week. This reports shows how my ‘overall’ engagement this week was not perfect. Even when I got a lot done (and felt it was a successful week), the ‘engagement analytics’ reports shows a very negative view overall. If students had access to this information, how would they perceive their learning? Would they feel overwhelmed, demotivated or encouraged?

Although at my school we don’t use this engagement analytics system, I do have access to it from the admin side of the platform. I think it’s interesting to see the way the students interact with the platform, and how the softwares creates a profile of the students and their learning. Each student is marked as either:

  • Not engaged
  • At-risk
  • On-Track
  • Highly-engaged

The reports generated by the system are not customisable and the labels cannot be changed. I’m glad we don’t use this to evaluate student’s performance! After looking at my own report, I wonder how a teacher’s perception of a student might change by having this additional information, such as how often a student is logged-in, how long he or she looks at a document or if they have a ‘highly engaged’ tag next to their name. Will this ‘data’ have gradually greater influence on the evaluation of learning than the more traditional assessments?

2 Replies to “Data Visualisation #3”

  1. I like this line a lot: “Even when I got a lot done (and felt it was a successful week), the ‘engagement analytics’ reports shows a very negative view overall.” I think this speaks to how data can lead to very different accounts of human behaviour than we perceive it. For many advocates of Big Data this is indeed the point — to get at how things ‘really are’, free from the biases of personal subjective perception. However, I think you are rightly cautious about such aproaches. Your closing comments in the post here highlight some key issues to explore further in the ‘teaching with data’ block–how teachers’ professional perceptions might be reshaped, and with what effects for their own practices and for the students in their care.

  2. Hi Ana,
    Glad I’m not tracked that way either! I wonder what you would have to do to live up to its expectations. I also wonder if those designing it thought about the consequences of being labelled ‘At risk’ would have (to staff or student), even that it would be read differently by different people.

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