Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#LAK12 Recap of "Purdue Signals" presentation by John Campbell

Great presentation by John Campbell of Purdue's Signals Project! If you didn't participate live, you'll want to watch the recording. Highlights for me were:

1) Hearing from a creator about the nuts and bolts of design, implementation, and ongoing maintenance and improvement of an analytics tool that is currently used by students in 80 introductory courses, with the goal of use by 20,000 unique student users.

2) Students have lodged no complaints about privacy issues and are positive about its use; participating faculty are so positive that it works that they have begun refusing to participate in controlled trials of Signals.

3) Privacy considerations include: faculty can only view data for their own students. They have begun IRB approval was obtained for both testing (easy IRB process) and implementation (more time-consuming IRB process) phases. They don't let students "opt out..." I guess the principle is that

4) Customization of messages to students and the platform on which they're delivered is important...email doesn't work; slight customization of messages does work for grabbing student attention. (I've found that Facebook works for getting instantaneous responses from students, especially during class time when they are ALL monitoring it!!)

5) Excellent "practical suggestions" which he ended with...such as, "think about the theoretical basis of your analytics project." The Purdue Signals project is based on Tinto's input/environment/output model (actually I think it's Astin's model as the link shows...)

6) AND last but not least...that it is very difficult to find people with the teaching/learning AND technical skillsets that are required. They are finding that in-house training works for the technical part.

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