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“How do I know if my students are engaged?” Neil Kramm shares how Rhodes University uses IntelliBoard.

Neil Kramm Rhodes University’s EdTech Academic Developer Rhodes University

Did your institution have to make the jump from face-to-face to online learning when Covid hit? As educators, we know that learning curve is *huge*; it can be hard to know where to even begin. We recently sat down with Neil Kramm, Rhodes University’s EdTech Academic Developer, to talk about pivoting to virtual learning during the Pandemic, onboarding new tech, and getting the most of all that data in his Moodle Learning Management System (LMS).

Rhodes University’s Pivot to Virtual Learning

Founded in 1904, Rhodes University enjoys the distinction of having some of the best undergraduate pass, graduation, and postgraduate success rates in South Africa. As a traditional in-person learning institution, Rhodes faced a huge challenge when the pandemic hit necessitating that they shift to all online instructional delivery in a matter of a few weeks. 

How were they going to adopt a totally new mode of instructional delivery and get it up and running quickly? How could they track basics such as student engagement? The shift to virtual learning meant that there would be even more learner data available in their Moodle LMS, but how were they going to efficiently harness it to make informed pedagogical decisions? 

Neil Kramm rose to the challenge.

Quick + Efficient = Actionable

Standard Moodle reports simply weren’t meeting Rhodes’ needs:

‘In terms of getting information on usage we could only rely on the standard Moodle reports, we then had some preconfigured SQL reports, but that was very time-consuming and very costly. It took us months to get us reports that [have] meaningful insights in [them].’

The data Kramm needed was in Rhodes’ Moodle LMS, but to make the data actionable Kramm and his team had to be able to access it quickly and efficiently. But how do you go about doing that if your institution has only ever done face-to-face instruction so you and your staff aren’t already familiar with the nuts and bolts involved in virtual learning?

In response to this daunting question, Kramm decided to sign up for a free trial of IntelliBoard. IntelliBoard enabled Kramm to extract the statistical data gathered within Rhodes’ Moodle LMS and present it on a single dashboard in the form of printable charts, graphs, and analytics.

Onboarding to the rescue

Making the pivot to online learning has a steep learning curve, to say the least. Kramm took full advantage of IntelliBoard’s customer success team

‘Onboarding was really useful for me, it gave me [the] opportunity to get to look at a lot more reports with somebody that knows what’s supposed to be there… Onboarding is helpful, it helped us develop strategy as well.’

Soon Kramm was able to get the actionable data he and Rhodes needed - starting with crucial basics (He became especially fond of our in-product AI natural language search tool, LISA.).

Nailing down the fundamentals

First things first. Kramm needed a simple, time-efficient method of tracking who was showing up to class, how often, and how long they were spending with the material. IntelliBoard’s point and click access to top-level statistics like these helped Kramm get the basics nailed down fast.

‘From a global sitewide perspective, we always wanted to see how many people were on – obviously, we couldn’t measure duration, only the number of clicks – so, obviously the monitors help us a lot. They give us an [immediate] sense of how many people there are on the site, student and staff access we can measure with it; so all the reports, that really give us that information is super helpful.’

Kramm was able to answer key questions around student engagement.

‘And if we drill down to courses specifically, a lot of the questions we are getting are: How do I know if my students are engaged? I think it is very difficult. Since we are a face-to-face learning institution, none of us really had all of the skills to teach online, we had a couple of weeks to switch to online. So, yes, User Status and the User Access Report [were] the most used ones.’

Once they had a grasp on these fundamental baselines, Kramm and Rhodes were able to go even further and use course reports to identify student behavior and engagement metrics they hadn’t had a chance to discover without IntelliBoard and use this data to inform their pedagogical strategies.

The results

By utilizing IntelliBoard’s onboarding and customer support to gain mastery of the fundamentals around top-level statistics like their student engagement data, Rhodes University was able to harness the data in their Moodle LMS and meet the challenge of making the leap from face-to-face only instruction to also offering quality online learning.
Are you looking to nail down fundamental data points in your LMS? Want some help navigating that learning curve? Sign up for a free trial of IntelliBoard, take advantage of our webinars, or schedule a chat with us. We’d love to help you unlock the power of your data.

Special thank you to our mutual eleaning partner, Enovation providing RU LMS.

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