Notes from Derby Cluster Group Meeting

On 13th October Derby hosted a cluster group meeting – the first one that Southampton have been able to attend.

Derby are doing a traffic light / dashboard on Student Engagement. They have a  very useful Fried –Egg / target diagram of primary, secondary and tertiary indicators of (lack of) engagement and including miscellaneous  at risk groups.  We discussed the possible role of tutor /teacher  “hunches” in predicting engagement and future success. The contact is Jean Mutton.

Loughborough are looking at final year progression and factors that effected students, with a view to informing relevant people of issues. Malcolm King indicated that they had probably collected too much data – some of which indicated things they could do nothing about.

Roehampton are doing work on an academic warning system which is combined with an on-line system for handling mitigating circumstances. The early warning system is  using usage information from their VLE along with attendance information.

All three institutions reported that they had a lecture/tutorial attendance register system. This technology is quite advanced now…

We (Southampton) introduced our student dashboard as being the mash-up presentation of the data we have about students in different places at the “right time, in the right format for the right person” (See my previous blog post). And we discussed the issues of privacy and who should be allowed to see what data, and the student’s role in this decision. We were given some useful suggestions

  1. Look at what data other universities distribute to appropriate people. Apparently at Loughborough tutors have access to almost everything the university knows about the student (on paper). Tutors need to be frequently reminded of their responsibilities not to discuss this with the wrong people, over the phone etc.
  2. What is our initial contract with students concerning the use of data. Have they signed up for data being used this way? If not, why not?
  3. We could hold some kind of Hackfest/Camp inviting representatives of all stakeholders. The idea would be to look at privacy e.g. comparing Facebook with University systems.

Another realisation from the meeting for me was that what we are doing could be more than just data – it could be about “engagement analytics” (Jean Mutton’s expression). An interesting experiment that was suggested in the discussion was to compare tutor/teachers’ “hunches” with predictions for success/failure from other analytics factors.

We agreed with Lauren Currie (@RedJotter) that we would have a discussion again in a couple of months when we had developed our scenarios and story boards. However, we also offered the group that we at Southampton would be happy to host the next meeting in Southampton – and that in this meeting we would “show and tell” our storyboards and any early prototypes. I’m going to look at offering something early next semester (Feb 2012). It might make sense that if Lauren is attending this we could combine the two meetings.

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