Modelling how to ‘make students attend’

I'd argue that practically no students have perfect attendance. In the focus groups I wrote about in the last post, the students felt that they had good attendance, but it wasn't perfect. They didn't attend for a variety of reasons: because the sessions weren't perceived as interesting enough, they'd prioritising coursework, were ill etc. These …

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Student attendance/ engagement policies – why do we bother?

The 2021/22 academic year was a bit of a surprise for the sector. Students were effectively released from the pressures of lockdown and social distancing and ended up more anxious, more confused and certainly less engaged than at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may be that students were just catching up on two …

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A Typology of Student Engagement Activity

Students drop out from their courses for a variety of reasons. Early withdrawal is shaped by Socio-economic forces, students' personal goals/ mission for being at university, the lived experience of studying and sometimes just bad luck. We may not be able to precisely weight these factors, but they appear pretty consistently in studies. The sector …

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Minimising Risk vs Maximising Success: learning analytics intervention strategies

At the other end of the phone is a student. Your learning analytics tool has predicted that they may be at risk of early departure. Under the circumstances they are likely to benefit from a supportive, sympathetic conversation, or perhaps they need a nudge or a jolt to make them realise they need to re-engage. …

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Onwards from Learning Analytics (OfLA)

At the time of writing, we are entering the final year of our latest Erasmus+ collaborative project. Onwards from Learning Analytics (OfLA) is a learning analytics project interested in supporting students at risk of leaving university early or failing to achieve their potential. We don't take the view that students ought to be retained no …

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Moving Student Inductions Online: NTU Welcome Workshop case study

New student induction is a process. Students start their courses with some understanding of what it's going to be like, with a mountain of expectations and plenty of anxieties. Historically, universities often rush the transition process and seek to squeeze it into an administratively convenient week of guest lectures, important messages and introductory events. Of …

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Teaching in a COVID world: how the sector moved online

I'm sick of COVID. I'm sick of the isolation. I'm sick that virtual isn't the same as in real life. I know we've probably only got months to go now, but I'm sick of it all the same. It seems that at the moment there is a lot of discourse is about how hard it …

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Black Box Thinking – a review and a challenge to universities

This post is a piece of procrastination. And I'm partly writing it because Matthew Syed brilliantly describes a form of procrastination in his excellent book Black Box Thinking, but truthfully I'm just procrastinating because I'm putting off a task that I'm finding difficult. 🙂 The book deserves a better review than this, because I think it's …

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The first year experience of higher education in the UK, Yorke & Longden (2008)

In the Student Retention Research: A History Lesson I discussed the role that Mantz Yorke and Bernard Longden played in developing the field of understanding student persistence in the UK. I really value their model explaining student withdrawal (partly because they use the word 'adventitious'). They suggest that the reasons for withdrawal can be categorised into four groups: …

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The effectiveness of learning analytics for identifying at-risk students in higher education – an extra titbit

I've recently published a paper with a colleague Dr Rebecca Siddle for a special edition of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, The paper explored the impact of 'no-engagement' alerts for identifying students in need of further support and contrasted it with using background characteristics. In this paper, we used widening participation status as a …

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