How can we use data to optimise learning and our teaching?
At the start of semester, many lecturers conduct informal surveys of their classes to understand the background of their students. For example, knowing the degrees and other units of study being taken by the class can help them provide context and relevant examples. Similarly, knowing that students are the first in their families to attend university or are new to Australia may led to additional support or resources being offered.
The ‘Knowing Your Student’ report is available for the first time for all standard units of study across the institution this semester. It uses centrally-held information to provide a detailed description of the cohort in each unit of study. It updates each night so that it reflects the sometimes large changes in enrolments that occur over the first few weeks of semester. As the system develops and ideas come in from teachers, additional information will be added. If you are teaching in a unit of study this semester, you can access the report for your students by following the ‘Unit of Study Analytics‘ link in the ‘Evaluation’ section of your unit website on the LMS. A mock report is available below.
Download the mock report
As the semester develops, you can also use the other reports available there to help you understand how your students are engaging and progressing. This information could be used, for example to provide additional resources or assistance at specific times of the semester, spot the activities that increase or decrease engagement, or help you re-design your assessments and unit of study based on evidence of what students are doing. Tips on reading the reports and setting up your site to maximise their potential can be in the quick guide linked below.
Download the quick links guide
These reports mark the first step in enabling teachers across the institution to study, analyse and re-design their teaching and learning environments using data: learning analytics. This is a key priority for the University in the coming years. More information on research in this field or ways in which you can connect with others who are interested in practical applications is available on the Analytics at Sydney website. Also keep reading Teaching@Sydney and connect with the Educational Innovation group on Yammer for additional professional learning opportunities.