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CourseSmart Analytics Measures Student Engagement with Digital Materials

CourseSmart has kicked off a beta pilot of its new product that measures students' engagement with digital course material, CourseSmart Analytics. The announcement came this week at the Educause 2012 conference in Denver, CO.

CourseSmart Analytics uses a proprietary algorithm called CourseSmart Engagement Score Technology that evaluates a student's use of an electronic textbook, such as the number of page views, time spent in the book, number of notes taken, and amount of highlighting. CourseSmart Analytics then uses that information to determine the student's level of engagement with the material. School administrators can then use that information to help assess the usefulness of the particular electronic textbook and determine if it's being used effectively.

According to CourseSmart, educators can also use the analytics information to help identify at-risk students based on their level of engagement with the course materials relative to the student's overall performance.

CourseSmart Analytics compiles its information into a dashboard, which is accessible through the school's learning management system (LMS) or online portal. The beta version works with Desire2Learn Learning Environment, Blackboard Learn, Moodle, Sakai, and Instructure Canvas.

"Analytics will be a powerful tool in higher education, especially when data is reported in easy-to-understand, actionable ways," said Ellen Wagner, executive director of WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET), in a prepared statement. "The higher education community is hungry for actionable data that links student engagement to their learning content. With the CourseSmart dashboard, professors will be better able to fine-tune lesson plans, critique student performance, and even tailor suggestions for specific students on how to study more effectively to help them stay on track and stay in school."

Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Villanova University, and Rasmussen College are already part of the beta program, which will expand later this year. CourseSmart Analytics will become generally available in 2013.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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