Not all of education’s most pressing questions have answers in the form of tidy sets of numbers that are easy to graph and scrutinize. This could be part of the reason analytics could actually kick off a “qualitative renaissance” of sorts within Moodle. But, as long as we don’t give them more importance than they justly deserve, quantitative information about student behavior and performance, as well as the links between the two, can help sharpen your practice.
The following plugins provide specific, data-supported functionality that can add a new, measurable dimension to student understanding.
General plugins (Local): The augmented teacher
Not all analytics plugins are about creating or visualizing data. Augmented teacher helps students follow coursework activities within similar time frames, to make them comparable to each other and courses with equivalent activity programming. This plugin could even be the basis for long-term follow-up research, where student subjects get notified when it’s time to self-report their progresses.
Grade reports: Quiz Analytics
Gives students instant feedback and help them quickly close the loop with Quiz Analytics. It offers several graphical analysis options that allows to see student progress, if there is any, over time.
Incubating: Kopere Dashboard
A multi-purpose data visualization tool. It can be used to track the amount of time users complete a task or activity. It can also be used to monitor the system’s performance, to finally answer whether it’s the student, or the machine who is taking longer than expected.
Plagiarism: PlagiarismSearch and Unicheck
Probably with the good intention of having an easy user interface, most plagiarism solutions for LMS focus exclusively on single figure, e.g. originality percentage. Unfortunately, neither of these plugins are any different. Too simple approaches to detect systemically wrong or unwise behavior hardly give us any insight as why it happens, nor what we should keep in mind when designing policies that promote original thinking.
Blocks: My Notes
The plugin can provide details that could be useful to better understand student behavior. Scientific literature on the value of keeping notes is mixed but tends to be beneficial when students find them useful and learn how to turn information inputs into action cues that enhance performance.
A “ConfMan” is, in the definition of the plugin developers, an event, usually one that requires a submission to participate. It offers a series of standard information, with custom field creation a possibility, all of which amounts to participation and submission assessment criteria.
Blocks: QR code
Not only it helps students find quick access to resources and reference material by pointing-and-clicking from their code reading-enabled devices. It can also help keep track of mobile device usage by students, which in turn can inform policies like “bring your own device.”
Blocks: Advanced Notifications
When data signals the need of an unmistakable call to action, a proper notification system is critical to help users address issues right away. This plugin offers incomparable levels of customization, from the messages to the rules about time windows and media. It also offers “DEFCON” like levels of message criticality.
General plugins (Local): WebHooks
The WebHooks protocol allows compatible systems (like Moodle with this plugin) to report system changes and user actions to external services and applications. A distinctive trait of WebHooks is the addition of key information in the request itself, which makes it a faster option to send and log quick —but personalizable— system statuses.
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