How to Keep Your Class Successful and Motivated: Use Connect Insight to Decode Student Behavior


Big Data is a term that is commonly used to acknowledge that there is a great deal of information being gathered on each of us everyday. There is a massive amount of structured and unstructured data on all of us—what we buy, where we eat, whom we email or call. This is also true in education where attendance information, test scores and activity data are gathered constantly.

Big Data is not new in education. What is new about Big Data in education are the tools being used to collect it, the type of data being collected and the processes being developed to use that data to help educators teach and students learn.

Twenty-five years ago kilobytes (kb) of attendance records and exam scores were stored on floppy disks and merged into Big Data stores on monochrome screens. Since the advent of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) and other electronic gradebooks educators and school systems have had even more significant amounts of Big Data.

A few months ago we released Connect Insight. Connect Insight is a first step on a journey to predictive modeling and ultimately to being able to provide an optimized experience with precise personalized recommendations and interventions.

At McGraw-Hill Education, we hope to contribute to making a difference in people’s lives by using data for good through the work that our data scientists and engineers are doing in collaboration with educators and students. Driving us is the promise to use data, big and small, to help people teach and learn. We are building our systems on open standards and see our work as part of the larger science of data research and analytics. We also see the work that we are doing as part of an ecosystem—we give and we receive from a community of educators and students. In the coming months we look forward to making more of the research we are doing available in order to find more collaborators who want to work on the same problems we are working on. We hope to hear from you.

Richard Keaveny
VP, Digital Product Development at McGraw-Hill Higher Education

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  March 25 2014
Tags:

Connect Insight First Look with Instructor Kathrine Glass



Q: As an instructor, what do analytics mean to you?
A: The most basic analytic has always been grades. However, this information is one-dimensional and doesn’t help me to interpret what is going on with a student, an assignment or the course as a whole. As I’ve used more technology, I’ve been able to collect and use more data than just the grade. The analysis that is available through Connect and LearnSmart has allowed me to dig into what has made an assignment successful and where students are having difficulty with content. The “at-risk” report has been very valuable in identifying students who are not engaged and may need some type of remediation beyond just the content.

All in all, analytics help me evaluate not only my class and student performance, but also my own performance. Analytics help me to move forward in the most positive way for my students.

Q: What outcomes (expected or unexpected) have you experienced as a result of using analytics?
A: I love what analytics has to tell me about my students and myself; it’s not just my intuition or best guess any more on what works and what doesn’t. The information that I receive through Connect has helped me pinpoint the good, the bad and the ugly in my assignments. I want to know that I’m driving behavior in my students that will help them be successful, so I’ve been able to identify tactics that work and build upon those.

At the student level, the reports that are available through both the Connect and LearnSmart platforms are pulling back the veil on student performance. Having the information about what a student is doing in the system and the results they are achieving begins to paint a picture that allows me to engage them in the right kind of conversation. There is a very big difference between a student who is trying and not succeeding, and a student who is failing because they are not tuned in. Analytics inform the conversation so that it will be the right one, because students are also interested in “what works.” With this information I pass on best practices to my students and they benefit in their own workflow.

The most unexpected result of analytics has been the way it’s allowed for a human connection. The “at-risk” report gives me a peek as to what is happening outside of class, in a way that was not possible before. I reach out to “at-risk” students and most often find that they are experiencing a personal crisis, which is interfering with their schoolwork. I would like to think that I can make a difference to these students by talking with and helping them to find the right resources. In the educational system it’s too easy for students to feel that they are just a number. In the cases of my at-risk students, the “number” makes them anything but – thank you analytics.

Q: Based on what you’ve seen, why is Connect Insight so exciting?
A: I couldn’t be more excited about Connect Insight. Data can tell you an important story; Connect Insight tells the story with sophisticated analysis that is understandable and actionable. Whatever level of understanding I need to have in a particular moment is available to me, which is key since there are some things that I need to know quickly and others that I want time to drill down and fully understand in a more directed way. With the ease of navigation, I am able to explore in whatever depth I need. The visualized data is ready – no gathering or organizing required – for me to interpret and act on.

Connect Insight gives me information that is useful on both a student and an assignment level, as my students need the most productive feedback I can give them. Connect Insight shows specific information about their performance and workflow that helps me to identify opportunities on a more individual level. I use this assignment information to judge how well the class is moving forward and how well the assignment met my expectations.

Q: How will Connect Insight benefit you versus the analytics you already have access to?
A: The combination of performance and time measures is an essential piece of data for me; the fact that I can look at these analytics on a global or individual level allows me to make the right decision for the question at hand. Course and assignment design are very important in delivering the education that my students expect and that I desire. Having focused analytics provides a value in design that I haven’t had access to before.

On a student level, I will be able to use this information to move even further towards a “just in time” delivery of information. Too often in the past I have patiently explained a concept only to find out that it was not where the student was truly having the difficulty. When you can see a student’s information mapped out, it has a relevance that just isn’t available in other formats. Having data alone doesn’t make it valuable to me, but Connect Insight provides data in a way that is efficient and effective for me.

Q: How will you benefit by having fast access to analytics on your tablet (e.g. iPad, Kindle, etc…) and not having to log into Connect?
A: Over the past year, I have moved to a “flipped” classroom model. Connect and LearnSmart have made this transition possible and we now use technology in every class. The “flipped” class has brought with it many benefits, but also many demands. In a class of forty or fifty students, I am trying to identify how the class is moving forward as a whole, by recognizing which students are ready to move on and which students are having difficulty. I’m looking for those teachable moments that a “flipped” class can really leverage for both individuals and the room as a whole. The better I can meet the needs of students, the more engaged they are; the educational benefit is huge, it’s just that simple. Connect Insight on my tablet will meet these needs for me in a fast, clear and actionable way. Connect Insight will deliver “just in time” for me so I can deliver “just in time” for them.

Kathrine Glass
Senior Lecturer of Accounting
Department of Accounting

Eileen

By Eileen  |  February 03 2014

Required Equals Results: Melissa B. Frye, University of Central Florida




“Student engagement in class has improved.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
My students are definitely more prepared for the math portions of the exams. I was so impressed with the improvement in their calculation skills. Also, I spend less time in class reviewing simple homework problems. Student engagement in class has improved as well. I also believe individual assignments ensure that students take responsibility for their own performance.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect. Next semester, I’m going to use LearnSmart and the SmartBook.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I started using online homework in 2009. Prior to that, I used group case studies.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I started immediately requiring the homework assignments as a portion of the course grade. I anticipated that if I did not require it, then the students who stood to benefit the most from it might not complete it.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
Connect is 20% of the course grade. I assign quizzes (15%) and homework (5%).


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
Students are very focused on grades. If they do not perceive the assignment to be important to their grade, then many of them will not complete it. I really believe the students who need Connect the most are unfortunately the ones who will opt out of it unless it is required.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
Do not be afraid to make the assignments a significant portion of students’ grades. Also, providing multiple attempts with solutions does not imply that the class average will be a 100. Connect assignments are so easy to set up and my students really appreciate the digital tool.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am now able to give individual assignments without a substantial grading burden on me.


Check out the full Required Equals Results series to hear from other instructors about their experiences.

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  December 02 2013

Required Equals Results: Lana Andrean, Kanawha Valley Community & Technical College




“100% of my course grade is made up by digital tools.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
My classroom now has interactive learning verses passive learning styles with immediate results for LearnSmart and quizzes.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use Connect, LearnSmart, Tegrity, attachments, online quizzes, eBook functions, PsychInteractive and Milestones.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
Using digital tools replaced traditional lecture and PowerPoint.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I required them as part of the course grade from the beginning.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
100% of my course grade is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
It’s important because it allows the student to be more responsible for the assignments as they can view the dates, time element and keep a running total of points assigned to each task. It forces them to be more assertive.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
When in doubt, ask. Don’t be afraid to try a new concept that may make the learning process much more interesting to your students. If you can’t rouse interest, you lose student retention.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I’m able to do just about everything. I give open text online quizzes after each chapter to ensure the short term-working memory is fired up. The students then use the quizzes as a study guide or map to the comprehensive final (also online).


Check out the full Required Equals Results series to hear from other instructors about their experiences.

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  December 02 2013

Required Equals Results: Rachael Gionvenco-Bicknell, Triton College




“It really works. Students are more tech savvy. They really enjoy the interaction with Connect.”


What impact did requiring digital have on your students’ success?
Requiring digital had an impact on test grades.


Which digital tools do you use in your class?
I use LearnSmart and Psych Interaction Media.


When did you begin using digital tools in your classes and what did it replace, if anything?
I started using it in 2012.


When did you decide to require them as part of the course grade?
I decided to require them as part of the course grade when I started to use questions from the test bank.


What percentage of your course grade is made up by digital tools like Connect and LearnSmart?
25% is made up by digital tools.


Why is it important to require digital rather than make it optional?
If I am using your PowerPoint, handouts, etc. I need everything to be consistent in the class.


What advice do you have for instructors who are incorporating digital into their courses for the first time?
It really works. Students are more tech savvy. They really enjoy the interaction with Connect.


What are you able to do now that you couldn’t before you required digital?
I am able to spend less time grading. All assignments deploy to Connect.


Check out the full Required Equals Results series to hear from other instructors about their experiences.

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  December 02 2013

December 2013 Connect Release – Reporting

We are excited to announce enhancements to Connect reporting to make it easier than ever for you to navigate.





Easy-To-Navigate Performance Menu
Getting to specific reports is easier than ever with a simple drop-down performance menu.











Improved Item Analysis Report
Automatically see the section average score on each question by student to quickly evaluate student performance and identify who is struggling. The Item Analysis Report now has expanded customization capabilities for added flexibility. Exported reports will also contain student email addresses to help you communicate with students as needed.




Improved Category Analysis Report
As with the Item Analysis Report, you can automatically see the section average score on each category by student, giving you quick, easy access to the information you need. View “Student Information” rather than question information to evaluate individual student performance. Access student email addresses in the exported version of the report, and additional customization options currently available in other Connect reports.





Click here to learn more about the other enhancements coming to Connect in our December release.

The Connect Team

By The Connect Team  |  November 19 2013

THE CREW
The Connect Team

The Connect Team
mayacohen

mayacohen
Eileen

Eileen
sashapaulino

sashapaulino