“The real educator-focused characteristic of LoudSight is that the user can choose which data points he or she is interested in,” added Harp; “for example, content students accessed, forum posts for classwork, cumulative class scores, etc. The system itself chooses the options available using aggregated data within the institution that signals indicators, or triggers, of student engagement and retention. These indicators can be differentiated by institution and even course by course. We tried to limit the data reports by four on the educator’s dashboard to better visualize key points they want to focus on.”

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Instructor Login for Class Dashboard.

“You can also break the data down to small actionable points,” explains Kutty. “Educators can correct curriculum instantly because the platform has the ability to break down individual course work or test questions by analyzing metrics such as: how many students got the questions right or wrong, how long students spent on the question, and how many answered the question.”

However, Kutty noted that, in general, the system tries to have minimum data for individual educators to wade through, keeping more configurable indices for the admin level. “Keeping complexity for the higher-ups and simplicity for folks on the ground makes student data, which is inherently messy, organized.”

Student Login and Instructor Login: Student-specific reports.

Student Login and Instructor Login: Student-specific reports.

What Mildenhall and the administration at GCU have found beneficial with LoudCloud is that it allows them to not just interpret the data being captured but to act upon the data in an effective manner.

“We actually trigger automatic actions based on the data, and that’s the transition that people need to have,” says Mildenhall. “We’ll watch the participation of the students in the classroom, and if that participation level drops below what we’ve defined as a threshold we put an action in our academic counseling work queue to say ‘follow up with this person. Their activity seems to have dropped below this threshold.’ We’ll [also] establish an expectation with our faculty that we want papers graded in so many days, and we’ll watch that, and because of the data coming out of LoudCloud, we can say ‘ok, here’s a faculty [member] that is outside of the tolerances’ and so we’ll have a note for follow up with the faculty.”

Seen here, is an example of a ‘Class Progression Report’ from the LoudSight Dashboard. Tracking information, as well as drill-down menus, for each student is presented:

Class Progression Report.

Class Progression Report.

When asked by eCampus News if his experience with LoudCloud would incline him to recommend the system to other institutions, Mildenhall’s response was an emphatic, “Yes, definitely.”

“Number one, they have a different window into the classroom which our students and faculty responded very well to as far as making it intuitive and easy to use; [the] second thing is it really provides that wealth of information out of the experience so you can go just as far as you want to in using that information to improve the academic experience and the students’ success.”

Doug Walker is an editorial freelancer with eCampus News.


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