Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

Predicting Online Students Success

on October 30, 2009

Online education is hard for many students since they have to take so much more responsibility for their learning. “Arizona community college has devised a system of predictive modeling that officials believe can forecast, with 70 percent accuracy, how likely it is that a student will achieve a “C” grade or higher (the threshold for transferable credits) in a given course. This is for Bachelors level classes.

A major prediction of student success is how often students are logging into the course home page. “The predictive modeling system uses these metrics to separate students into three color-coded categories: high-risk (red) students, medium-risk (yellow) students, and low-risk (green) students. The instructors of each class are notified a week in about the “yellow” students in their class, so they can then reach out to those students and try to get them on track. At this time high risk students are left on their own.”

Purdue also uses metrics to keep track of students and said the “at-risk” students generally took that information as either a motivational kick in the rear or were prompted to quickly drop the class — and were grateful in any case.” Capella is also going to start using a similar program.

Being called the “third phase” of e-learning by Kenneth C. Green is where colleges and technology companies shift their attention toward finding ways to mine and utilize all the data created by interactions between professors and students on virtual learning platforms. This data changes the practice of predicting student success from instinct and generalization to genuine science.

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