It seems to be a truism that many of our most talented educators abandon the LMS and use external web applications to create engaged, authentic learning experiences. Unfortunately, this also means that students go ‘off the radar’. The Beyond the LMSproject, funded by the OLT, aims to support such educators (and students) with analytics showing learning-relevant activity on social media sites. The project is led by Kirsty Kitto at QUT. This builds on earlier work by myself conceiving Social Learning Analytics [1-2] and work by QUT’s Mandy Lupton (well known among educational practitioners at UTS) who is developing the concept of teaching+learning in the wild. We’re developing theConnected Learning Analytics (CLA) Toolkit to harvest data about learner activities across social media platforms, using the TinCan API.
On 11-12 May, a project workshop was held at UTS which was attended by UTS academics who already use social media in their courses, and Conrad Frankland (ITD UTSonline lead), to introduce them to xAPI. It opened with a keynote from Ben Betts, one of the leads behind the xAPI-based LearningLocker.net, which aims to provide all learners with personal learning analytics and datasets. We moved into demo mode, in which we showed how a student’s activity in Facebook and Twitter can be aggregated (with their permission) into a common data stream.
We then moved into hands-on sessions with UTS academics to brainstorm the kinds of dashboards that the academics and students would find of value, in order to render these data streams in useful ways. UTS has funding from this project to pilot the toolkit in courses.