Using student engagement data to evaluate online activities and resources

Researcher: William Foreman

Institution: University of Exeter

Research Year: 2021

Project aims:

The project will investigate which digital learning tools students are more likely to engage with, how students are engaging with this content, and the reasons students are interacting with such tools beyond the content type being used. This will include breaking down our findings by different student groups, such as by subject, and considering the impact of different teaching practice. We will analyse our data to determine what changes may be needed to improve engagement with digital learning tools. This can be used as a core tenet of the design or evaluation of new tools being developed or considered for use by universities.

The project will produce a method for performing this type of evaluation. We will work with relevant module leaders to implement this method, which will include surveying of, and interviews with, students. This methodology will be published, allowing the evaluation to be replicated by other departments or higher education institutions who may be using different tools and methods.
The project will directly impact students by providing academics, at our university and across the wider higher education and academic development community, with insight into what drives student engagement in a digital setting. This can be used to inform how digital learning is incorporated into teaching in the future as teaching increasingly moves towards a flipped classroom approach. As Digital Learning Developers, we are well placed to promote the inclusion of digital teaching methods into university practice and would benefit from being able to make data-backed recommendations.