The University of Gloucestershire have added Jisc’s new attendance monitoring solution Checkin+ to their core Learning Analytics (LA) service. This combines attendance analytics with existing study data to strengthen their available evidence. They’ve been users of Jisc’s Learning Analytics service for several years – an analytics solution that measures student engagement and enables data-driven support. In this blog, I look at the impact Checkin+ has had on:
- Enhancing student support during the pandemic
- Improving test and trace data
- Simplifying immigration reporting
- Contributing to cultural evolution
Improved student support using online attendance analytics
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a seismic shift to online learning. The University of Gloucestershire uses personal tutors to support students with their studies and remote learning adds more complexity to how they carry out their role. By using Jisc’s Learning Analytics service, tutors already have access to VLE (virtual learning environment) engagement, library and assessments data facilitating better conversations with their students. Checkin+ now adds another critical analytics stream for them to use with attendance data that is fully integrated with The University of Gloucestershire’s timetabling system and most importantly – caters for all types of learning.
Checkin+ uses a 4-digit code for students to log their attendance which can be done both in a classroom or remotely online. There is no attendance monitoring hardware located at the institution which means the system genuinely caters for blended learning. Gloucestershire particularly like the flexibility this offers them.
“The system can be used for our hybrid sessions where we have some students in the classroom and others online.”
They recognise the shift towards remote learning and the importance of analytics that caters for it.
“We know there are more students now online, so the data is vitally important in letting us know they’re still ok and participating.”
Students experience of learning at university isn’t solely governed by their timetabled modules. For many, libraries and careers exploration also play an important role. Checkin+ combined with Jisc’s core LA service provides data on these areas which are used by both personal tutors and careers advisors to strengthen their guidance. This fully cohesive and integrated analytics package has the power to do a lot of good.
Contributing to COVID-19 test and trace data
One of the most significant challenges for universities during the Covid-19 pandemic has been how to respond to an outbreak of Coronavirus on campus. Accurate test and trace data are an important response tool and Checkin+ has formed a substantial part of Gloucestershire’s strategy.
When used in conjunction with the university’s timetable, door swipe data and other internal systems, Checkin+ allows them to see which students were in a session, with which lecturer and in which room. The system also provides tutors with the ability to mark students as arrived late, left early or authorised absence which all contribute to increased intelligence. This functionality has saved the university money as it has prevented additional investment in a new standalone test and trace system.
Simplifying immigration reporting and obtaining accreditation
The Home Office require universities to produce evidence that international students studying in the UK are sufficiently engaged with their learning. This is also known as tier-4 VISA immigration reporting. Production of this evidence can take a long time depending on the number of international students enrolled and the evidence available. Engagement and attendance data are often patchy, located in different places and require manual intervention to link them together. Checkin+ has successfully simplified the whole immigration reporting process for Gloucestershire.
Their Checkin+ bolt-on solution seamlessly combines their attendance data with VLE engagement information and other analytics streams. This enables a complete evidence report to be sent to Gloucestershire’s immigration compliance team at the click of a button rather than “many sporadic and manual processes on spreadsheets”. Not only does this save time, but it also increases accuracy with less manual interventions.
Checkin+ also provides clear evidence in other areas to support the development of high-quality learning. As an example, The University of Gloucestershire point out that it can help with course accreditation.
“Some courses rely on evidence of attendance to gain and maintain professional accreditation, Checkin+ visibly contributes to that.”
Enabling culture evolution at The University of Gloucestershire
Checkin+ has allowed The University of Gloucestershire to develop a new attendance policy as they now have the right data to measure against it. This is feeding into a wider culture evolution at the university where they have greater visibility across the board.
“We can better see what’s going on in different areas and implement earlier interventions to improve things faster.”
Gloucestershire believe that Checkin+ will help them join the dots and reveal the stories that were unavailable to them before such as students that are highly engaged but not attending, as well as other concerning attendance patterns. Personal tutors can use the intelligence generated to guide their work and identify those that need help.
Attendance insight is also available for heads of schools and module leaders meaning they can intervene where they see wider problems with the curriculum. They can look at data segments by school, subject or course giving them much more evidence than they’ve had before. Academic leaders can analyse bespoke dashboards meaning they access the information they need to make the right learning decisions.
Gloucestershire want the data from Checkin+ to be accessible to the right people. They retain their commitment in using the intelligence and analysis derived from it to strengthen student support and learning rather than sanctioning individuals.
“This data is not about punishing students; we want it to help. That’s the clear message across the university. “We have a duty of care to look after students and give them the best possible experience. We want full, engaged classes which motivate everyone involved in the learning process, regardless of where it takes place. Checkin+ can help us with these fundamental goals and our wider development as an institution.”
The University of Gloucestershire continues to work with Jisc to expand their analytics streams. They are currently piloting further curriculum analytics in the next phase of their strategic development aiming to raise attainment across the institution.
Contact Jisc data analytics to add Checkin+ to your Learning Analytics service
Our Learning Analytics team can integrate Checkin+ with your own timetabling systems. To find out more, contact us quoting ‘Checkin+’ in your communications.
We look forward to hearing from you, Jisc data analytics.
T: 0333 015 1165
Authors – Matt Clarke, Content insight manager and contributors from The University of Gloucestershire.