Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

U.K. App Pilot to Monitor Students' Work

Fifty colleges and universities in the U.K. will be piloting a new app intended to track students’ study habits and allow their instructors to intervene if students appear to be falling behind or struggling with material. The pilot starts in September.

The app—created by Jisc, an academic technology firm—automatically keeps tabs on each student’s interaction with their school’s digital systems.

“In the way a Fitbit device tracks personal training metrics, Jisc’s app will record students’ learning activity,” said a report in U.K.’s The Independent. “Each time a student logs onto their virtual learning environment to access course materials, clocks into the library, or submits a piece of work online, the app will create a ‘digital footprint’ of their performance.”

In particular, the app’s developer is hoping to stem the tide of university dropouts. The Independent noted a recent U.K. study found that 27% of first-year students either dropped out in their second term or planned to do so as soon as the term ended.

The app will also allow students to track their own progress through each course and determine whether they are meeting requirements. They can also opt to share certain information with classmates in order to benchmark their efforts.

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