A Week of Reading Platforms

This week I decided to record my various reading times on different media and platforms for both my courses: Critical Data and Education (Data Course) and Introduction to Social Research Methods (Research Method Course). The idea is to measure effectiveness and level of engagement of each platform in respect to the devise or media used e.g. a physical book, computer or iPad (a tablet).

The Data captured was the reading type: articles, books, blogs, Moodle…etc for each course and using which platform. Each data entry represents around a 15 minutes of reading engagement. For example if I read for 30 minutes I would addd two data entries. The readings I recorded this week were only related to my University studies.

The Legend

I used a library and shelves like design for the representation inspired by the reading element of this data collection. The Shelves represent the level of engagement and comprehension of the reading platform with the highest shelf representing a high engagement.

Observations from the data visualisation :

  • Articles and Blogs are the platforms of highest usage and highest effectiveness in terms of engaging with the reading material and comprehension. I was primarily using the computer as the media of choice and the iPad which was less effective at times.
  • The least effective and used platform is email and I used it once to read a response from a teacher. I saw the email on the phone but I preferred to read it further on the computer.
  • I added MS teams because for Research Methods, my group we are using it heavily to discuss assignments so there is a good level of reading and engaging in learning activities not only for chatting. The platform would be better leveraged if blogs and discussion forums are used in the same space.
  • Moodle was used mainly to read the weeks overview and activities text and summary for, mainly, the Research Methods course. The effectiveness really depends on the topic or how reading is flowing. It is more effective when there are videos and links that allows the reader to stay within the Moodle platform and not jumping between websites or external links. Since Moodle is not being used much for the Data course
  • WordPress is only used for reading weekly overview and engaging with blogs and forums. It is definitely a more engaging platform primarily on the computer.
  • Books are very effective and engaging for me. I can sense a bit of bias here for physical books.
  • Although I consider myself a heavy user of the phone but I rarely use it for educational or reading purposes. Even for emails or word press, the engagement is primarily viewing and scan reading then engaged reading.

Looking at this visualisation from a teaching with data perspective, if a teacher is monitoring these platforms and receiving analytical information about how each is being used, frequency, comprehension levels and overall how students are engaging with the course reading resources and platform, he/she can make interventions or be more critical of how to use the data to adapt learning environments to a specific educational needs or learner’s requirements. As mentioned by van Dijck et. al. 2018:

Personalized data allegedly provide unprecedented insights into how individual students learn and what kind of tutoring they need. 

van Dijck, J., Poell, T., & de Waal, M. 2018. Chapter 6: Education, In The Platform Society, Oxford University Press

But this flexibility and adaptability offered to teachers needs to be coupled with the assumption that teachers have the required ‘data literacy’ and “skills and knowledge to engage ethically and pedagogically with learning analytic”(Raffaghelli & Stewart 2020). In educational technology, the role of the teacher would then change from being seen as dashboard controller or “datafied” subjects (Williamson and Shay 2020) to a decision making and educational authority.


  • Raffaghelli, J.E. & Stewart, B. 2020. Centering complexity in ‘educators’ data literacy’ to support future practices in faculty development: a systematic review of the literature, Teaching in Higher Education, 25:4, 435-455, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2019.1696301
  • van Dijck, J., Poell, T., & de Waal, M. 2018. Chapter 6: Education, In The Platform Society, Oxford University Press

1 thought on “A Week of Reading Platforms

  1. It’s a really good visualization, and your reflections on how such data might be used for teaching purposes are well thought-through. Data about students’ reading is likely to be a major issue for teachers in schools over coming months, as it will be central to addressing so-called ‘learning loss’. Obviously this will be about measurable ‘skills’ of reading (as literacy) rather than engagement as you’ve tracked it. But you might want to think further about how reading is transformed into data in education, particularly as we move into the final block on issues of policy and governance. Children’s reading levels as an indicator of learning loss and ‘catch-up’ are now a major policy focus, with big assessment organizations generating and analyzing very large quantities of data about it.

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