Data Analytics to Inform and Enhance Learning (DAnIEL)

Quigley, Cormac and Kiely, Etain (2021) Data Analytics to Inform and Enhance Learning (DAnIEL).


This presentation reports on the National Forum SATLE funded project, Data Analytics to Inform and Enhance Learning (DAnIEL) based in GMIT.

This project is a capacity building project which has aimed to build expertise and practices to harness the power of Data Analytics within the institute. The project builds on the development of personailsed feedback forms within the school of science and Computing within GMIT and, amongst other, aims seeks to:

• Provide feedback to learners on their learning interactions and progress that empowers students to improve their likelihood of success.

• Transform student engagement data into descriptive statistics to explore student behaviour for optimisation of assessment design.

• Use data analytics tools to enable better student engagement reporting capacity and inform appropriate intervention strategies (at risk learners).

In this presentation we report on some of our initial findings relating to three key enablers which can allow these goals.

The first is building technical expertise to enable moving from a data landscape where each system is an individual data silo to one where learner data is pooled across different resources in a data lake. The most significant source of student data is the LMS (Moodle) and several APIs, Moodle plugins and other strategies have been investigated to allow student data to be exported from Moodle. Other systems such as Microsoft Teams have also been considered. In this project we have engaged in up skilling of both academic and technical staff members to facilitate the goals of this project.

The second enabler is an ability to present data in a useful but secure manner to the target audience. The use of Moodle specific presentation plugins has been investigated as well as the possibility of creating a general dashboard using Microsoft PowerBI as a presentation layer.

The third enabler is the creating of standard operating procedures and design guides to allow dash boarding and analysis of student data to be accessible to all academic (and other interested) staff members. Here the group have looked at ways in which the description of assignments can be standardised without impinging on academic freedom in course design but allowing for the correct identification of different aspects of student work to permit accurate reporting and dash boarding. A significant finding has been the importance of clean data and how small changes in Moodle page design can facilitate the capture of clean, useful data.

Finally, this project has also looked at the availability of plug and play systems which enable some level of dash boarding and analytics functionality. Here we report a cost benefit analysis of the decision to produce a bespoke dashboard using in house expertise and compare the possibilities offered by a "gray box" system for further development and understanding of student behaviour in comparison to commercially available black boxes.

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