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CourseSmart Expands Analytics Pilot

Digital textbook publisher CourseSmart is expanding a pilot for an analytics program that communicates how and how much students are using their course materials. CourseSmart Analytics is intended to compile information and report on student engagement with instructional materials. The software includes an algorithm, the CourseSmart Engagement Index, that monitors standard usage data such as page views, time spent in a textbook, and notes and highlights taken by a student, and analyzes them for overall assessment of students' engagement with the material. The idea is that faculty would be able to identify "at risk" students based on whether they appear to be reading assignments and participating in textbook-related activities. Data will be compiled into a dashboard and fed to instructors and others through the learning management system (LMS) or online portal.

The company originally went public with CourseSmart Analytics in November with three schools, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Villanova University, and Rasmussen College. Villanova is no longer part of the pilot and seven new institutions have joined, including Ashworth College, Algonquin College, the University at Buffalo, Career Point College, Central Carolina Technical College, Clemson University, and Stony Brook University.

"We are thrilled at the overwhelming interest and response to our beta pilot, and are pleased to expand our program to encompass a wide variety of public and for-profit institutions," said CourseSmart CEO Sean Devine. "We look forward to working with these schools to gather data and incorporate important feedback into our development process, with the ultimate goal of providing faculty and administrators with meaningful metrics to improve learning outcomes and solve institutions' most critical pain points: retention and graduation rates."

The beta version of the analytics program works within Desire2Learn, Blackboard Learn, Moodle, Sakai, and Instructure's Canvas.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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