New Tools for Digital Education

We are currently hoping to procure and implement two new Digital Education systems to support students and staff; a learning analytics system and an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio) system.

Learning Analytics

Our vision for the use of learning analytics is to enable students and staff “to work together, ethically and transparently, to understand individual learning journeys and circumstances, to support students to reach their full potential and maximise their chances of success”.

After initially consulting with staff and students last year, we agreed a strategy and code of practice. This strategy included the procurement of a learning analytics system, to aggregate student data already collected by other University systems (e.g. VLE usage, lecture capture, library use, attendance etc.) and present it in the form of a dashboard view.

Dashboard views allow students to monitor their own learning progress, and appropriate staff to review engagement and hold more informed conversations with students about their progress.

The impact of coronavirus (covid-19) has highlighted the urgency for the University to have access to information on student engagement in order to better identify when support may be needed – information a learning analytics system can help to provide.

A steering group is in place to oversee the delivery of learning analytics across the University, in line with the new strategy and code of practice. Overseen by the Learning Analytics Steering Group, sessions took place with staff and students between October 2019 and January this year, which gathered and developed the requirements for a learning analytics system. These included a user-centered workshop, meetings with representatives of key stakeholder groups from across the University and an event with potential system suppliers.

Staff and student dashboards

It is envisaged the student dashboard will ultimately provide a view of core learning activities to show an individual student their engagement with education activities and progress with learning, including marks and coursework submissions.

The data will be displayed numerically or graphically, and there will also be the option for students to compare their own status with that of an appropriate cohort. They will be able to view their engagement score, as calculated by the system, following induction activities and conversations with personal tutors.

The personal tutor’s dashboard is expected to display a list of all their tutees, from which a view of each student’s core learning activities and learning progress is available, including personal and basic demographic information.

The dashboard will show comparisons of tutees with others in their cohort. Data will be displayed numerically or graphically, and with patterns and engagement analysis possibly using an algorithm to calculate an engagement score or RAG (red, amber, green) status.

Phased delivery

The implementation of a system will be delivered in phases, starting with dashboards for students and personal tutors from a limited number of data sources.

Ongoing development will increase the number of data sources included and widen the dashboard views available, to include those for Student Support/Student Success colleagues, Module Leaders and Programme Leaders.

Tenders for the procurement of the learning analytics system close on Friday 12 June. These will then go through an internal evaluation process.

A short-list of bidders will be asked to provide demonstrations of their systems. These are expected to take place in the week commencing Monday 29 June and will be open to all staff and students.

Electronic portfolio

The delivery of learning analytics will be complemented by an institutional electronic portfolio (e-portfolio) tool.

E-portfolios are sophisticated evidence records, allowing students and staff to create and share multimedia content. Students can also record and reflect upon their academic, professional and personal development.

Such tools are used widely across the Higher Education sector and are already in use in some Schools at Leeds to meet the statutory requirements of degree apprenticeships and professionally accredited programmes.

Among the aims of an institutional e-portfolio tool are to incorporate the management, delivery and reporting of personal tutoring at Leeds. The learning analytics system will sit alongside the e-portfolio system, enabling more informed personal tutor meetings.

Proposed Implementation

It is anticipated implementation of the learning analytics and e-portfolio systems will start from September 2020, subject to approval of the business cases by the University Executive Group.

Product Demonstrations

Two potential e-portfolio providers will be providing demonstrations of their tools via MS Teams on Friday 12 June 1.30pm to 3.00pm and Thursday 18 June 9.00am to 10.30am. To attend please email the Digital Education Service.

The three learning analytics system demonstrations will be held on Monday 29 June (11am to 12.30pm), Tuesday 30 June (2-3.30pm) and Friday 3 July (10-11.30am). Contact Debbie Gibbs to register.

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