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REX Tools for Teaching Available to Instructors

Get a Bird's Eye View of Your Course Across Campus

March 28, 2017 2:09 PM

In recent years, the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support  (IRADS) has installed or built a nifty set of “bird’s eye view” reports about teaching & learning in the campus’ Report Exchange (REX) data warehouse that any instructor might find useful. These include but are not limited to various campus-wide Blackboard usage reports such as the following:

Blackboard

Grade Comparison and Distribution

Similarly, the following "summary level" REX reports could be interesting to instructors who want to benchmark their own courses with peers from any discipline or department across campus:

The aggregate data these summary REX reports provide could provide useful context for understanding any course, but by default, none of them will have “drill to detail” student ID information.

Background

UMBC faculty may recall that DoIT used to publish a list of most active Blackboard courses for every term. However, we discontinued this after Spring 2013, when we completed our transition to Blackboard’s Analytics for Learn (A4L) product that UMBC’s own experience helped influence. A4L reports for students and faculty are now embedded in every Blackboard course (see Control Panel → Evaluation → Analytics), but there is still nothing that provides a “bird’s eye view” of Bb usage across campus -- except the Bb Learn Use by College Report mentioned above.

Why might this be important? Increasingly, UMBC and other institutions are looking at institutional Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Blackboard as a real-time indicator or even predictor of student engagement, not just a static content repository of syllabi and powerpoint presentations. If so, then understanding effective design of LMS courses -- as measured, in part, by students’ use of them -- could be helpful as well.

Accessing REX

Until recently, access to REX itself was granted “upon request,” so one might first want to know what lies beyond the login screen before doing so. However, the summary reports above offer a sneak peek at what REX can do, and are now available to any instructor with access to the PeopleSoft advising system by default.**

To request more granular, drill-to-detail REX access, visit rex.umbc.edu/rex-access. For more information about learning analytics at UMBC, visit doit.umbc.edu/analytics.

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* This report has been demonstrated at the 2015 and 2016 Provost's Teaching & Learning Symposia.

** Reminder: All employees must annually acknowledge their obligations to protect student educational records under the Federal government’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).


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