The Data Driven Instruction, Analytics, Reporting Tools quest examines the use of data driven instruction and the role of analytics and reporting tools within successful online instruction.
A variety of data sources are available to online teachers and the particular tools will depend on the school. As technology evolves, the data tools will likely change as well. Regardless, it is essential for online teachers to have an understanding of how to access a multitude of data sources, and how to let the information inform decisions.
Isolating effective tools and best practices through data analysis to enhance instruction and heighten student achievement in the online learning environment.
Using data to drive instruction is important in any classroom, but it is especially key in the online realm. The teacher may never see the student, but the learning management system captures a wealth of information so that staff can have a more clear picture of what students are doing and where the gaps in learning exist.
Many online schools use a student information system to track when students enroll, their attendance, and communication logs between teachers and stakeholders.
The format and setup of these varies by school, but below teachers see some examples of this type of information. Note below that this teacher can see enrollments in the three courses assigned, when the classes start and end, and how many students are enrolled in each section.
In this next piece of data, the teacher is able to see the student type, whether or not they have completed an orientation module, if they have dropped, and whether or not each student plans to take a state standardized test with the course (EOCT). Specific student names, parent contact info, and other data are available; however, this information has been omitted this example to protect privacy and align with FERPA
Next is an example of a communication log, and teachers should note the ways stakeholders may be contacted. Some systems automate this process with computer generated calls and emails and automatically log those. Other systems may require the teacher manually track communication.
Regardless, the online teacher needs this information to keep track of what information has already been shared with students and parents. In the example above, phone calls alerting about a low grade have been documented, and the student ended up withdrawing from the course.
The second example (shown below) relates to a student who performed well in the course. While it would be easy to refrain from contacting stakeholders in this situation, this teacher made an effort to send the parents the good news that their student was doing exceedingly well in the course. An excellent practice for maintaining stakeholder communication and interest in a student’s mastery of the content and progression in the program.
Teachers must also track how active students are in a course, the tools they are utilizing well, and how this relates to a student’s overall grade. It is similar to walking around a classroom and peering over students to see what they are working on. Just because a student is logging in does not mean they are properly working in a course.
To better understand why a student has a low grade, first see what the LMS states about the student activity in the course. Take a moment to evaluate the tools in the LMS below and the number of kilobytes of data each student has used with each tool. The fraction on the left denotes how many grades each student has scored, so teachers can see all they have remaining is the final exam. This information can be helpful when suggesting ways students can improve or assisting parents understand why their student is struggling with a particular aspect of the curriculum. The boxes are color coded to separate high and low usage. When reviewing the chart, note email and grades in particular. It is clear that some students use those tools much more than others.
Similar to the above report, it is paramount to understand when students access material. The report below shows page views by student and date accessed. The reports provides the teacher data regarding student progress and whether he or she is steadily progressing through the coursework or trying to complete assignments at the last minute.
The reporting tools inside a LMS are not just for teachers. Students should also learn how to utilize the reporting tools to monitor their own progress, and an effective online instructor should relay this process to all students.
Below are some examples of information students may have access to in an LMS. All students should be able to see grades as well as feedback from the instructor. This varies by school, but regardless, the teacher should spend time at the beginning of the course ensuring students know how to access this information.
The snapshot below outlines the information found in a sample gradebook. The student can see grades in a category but also comments from the teacher.
Below is a quiz a student has taken. The instructor allowed access to missed questions so the student can review.
Next is a dropbox where the student has submitted some files. One received a perfect score but the second one had a few points deducted.
The student can access more detailed feedback to better understand where to improve.
Review the artifacts above on student enrollments and student progress in the course. Then, provide a detailed description of all that this information tells you about the hypothetical course. Include how the teacher might adjust the course in the future based on the previous activity of these students. Document in a reflection on your blog.
After completing a blog post that meets the requirements of this quest, submit the link to your post in the Submission Form at the bottom of this page.
Next, as a courtesy to fellow TOOL participants, join the Evaluate 2.1.1 Data Driven Instruction, Analytics, Reporting Tools Forum and share the link to your post. Upon sharing the link with fellow TOOL participants, consider providing helpful feedback to others regarding this topic.
Visitors to TOOL are encouraged to learn and earn. Exploring content, acquiring knowledge, and mastering the skills identified in the Skills, Qualities, and Quests presented in the TOOL site have the potential to improve teaching and learning for students and teachers. We welcome visitors to participate in this and all TOOL Quests and earn recognition for their effort. Although anyone may view the steps to completing this and other TOOL quests, only Registered Users may submit evidence of mastery. Want to complete this quest and receive acknowledgment for your dedication? If so, login or register with us and begin your Quest in earnest!
Still have questions? View TOOL options.
*The submission of the Evaluate 2.1.1 activity marks the quest complete in TOOL, and the successful submission of all quests within the Evaluate skill will enable participants to self-award badges.