Learning Analytics

Analytics, the big buzzword.  What does it mean here?

learn.gold is a data driven website that requires you, the user, and me the admin to log in.  This means that your actions are logged as data, mine are too.  

This data is not destroyed at the end of each session because it is kept in a database.  Millions of actions can happen inside learn.gold over the course of a day and these actions can be read and analysed.  This is what we are talking about when we talk about analytics.

Who does that help? Well if you submit assignments, it recognises you and remembers you submitted, someone marked and what your grades were, the same goes for everything else in learn.gold and this means that it will deliver the content that you are supposed to see.  This is all done by linking certain things about you, user id, courses you are enrolled on, interactions you have made etc to the tools and resources that you use.

Why is that useful?  Say Professor Aardvark has been delivering a course on Fourier Transforms for 10 years and for some reason the professor notices that one document is being downloaded a lot more than any of the other documents according to the reports on usage, it might make sense to question the students why they keep downloading this document. It could uncover an issue with the document.  

Some people are worried that analytics can be used as a means to point out productivity and effectiveness with a course area.  A busy course being a successful course and a course with regular peaks and troughs being classed as unsuccessful.  Without a benchmark to compare this with, such claims are meaningless.  Some departments use the forums as their main means of communication and expect students to regularly login and look at the postings.  Some departments only use their course areas for administration and assessment submission.  Analytics are only useful if you know why you are looking.

Accessing Analytics: Everybody in learn.gold has access to their logs, which is all of their interactions that are recorded in learn.gold.  The quickest way to look at your own is to go to your profile and look at the Activity Reports.

Analytics and activity reports in learn.gold

learn.gold also keeps logs about the usage of tools by users.  Logs are always available to the users who created the resources or to the people with the same permissions as the person who created the resources.  

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