Measuring student usage of the Learning Gateways

During this week we have been covering the development of our learning platform and exploring the reasons for high user adoption. Having worked hard with our students to ask their views on our Learning Gateways we are now reflecting on its use. One of the most important and perhaps least thought through aspects of building a learning platform is how do we know if our students are using it? With SharePoint there is a basic user interface which gives day to day unique users. Does this tell you enough about your student usage of the learning environment? On Monday 2nd February with the school closed due to snow we checked the statsistics for usage of the Learning Gateway and found that half of the students logged in to learn.

The question that follows this is what did they do while they were online? Which parts of our Learning Gateway are popular and which arent being used? Using SharePoint we can tell where students went from the home page but we would have to go to each site to measure usage beyond this. As a result we have recently installed a powerful tool called ControlPoint which is made by Axceler. The software has many applications but predominantly covers usage and permissions analysis. Dave Coleman and Chris Mckinley installed the software on Tuesday and got to work looking at the snow day usage to see what we could find out.

Snow day usage by student

Snow day usage by student- click to view

The image above shows two students’ usage of the Learning Gateways. One student was completing Music homework using a range of podcasts. The second student is completing extension work in Maths as part of our move to challenge the more able to be independent and extend their own learning. What does this analysis show us? Using ControlPoint we can start to look at Year Group, Tutor Group, Class Level and Subject analysis of the Learning Gateways. This will work alongside the feedback we get from various groups including our Student Voice Technology Group so that we can constantly reflect on what is working well and what we need to improve. I think the biggest mistake that is made with learning environments is the big push to get content on the sites and then it is left alone. To fully engage and challenge students a learning environment should be updated often and evolving regularly.

Getting control of your SharePoint setup

February 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: SharePoint 

In one of my earlier posts this month I talked about the impact of SharePoint at Twynham school with 50% of our users on the Learning Gateways when the school closed due to snow (see Snow days 1 and 2-What did our students do?) One of the frustrating things about tracking usage in SharePoint is the analysis is not very granular. I have to go in and out of sites to measure individual site usage and looking at which documents are used and how often is close to impossible. With this in mind Dave Coleman our Network Manager and ICT Consultant has been looking for a more powerful tool to track and control SharePoint use. At the start of this week he came across ControlPoint by Axceler, a powerful management tool which enables administrators to better know and control their SharePoint setup. We are installing the solution this week so I will ask Dave to write some guest posts to show the added functionality we have gained.

ControlPoint interface

ControlPoint interface