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Tue Apr 30, 2013, 04:58 PM

New technology allows professors to track whether students are reading their textbooks

This semester, thousands of college students around the country, including dozens at a Texas A&M University campus, won't be able to hide their studying habits from the prying eyes of their professors.

With the new platform CourseSmart Analytics, professors are able to see the students' level of engagement - how much of digital texts students have read, whether they highlight passages or took notes and how much time they spent on their readings.

A beta version of CourseSmart is being tested at several universities during the spring semester serving about 4,000 students, and officials hope to roll it out fully by the fall, said spokeswoman Cindy Clark. The goal is to move away from traditional textbooks and methods and help give faculty an insight into their students' behaviors, she said.

"Only about 55 percent of college students graduate within six years," Clark said. "This illustrates the demand within higher education for a tool that would help students be more successful in their studies and graduate on time."

More at http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/New-technology-allows-professors-to-track-whether-4476645.php

[font color=green]These were the best of times, these were the worst of times.[/font]

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Reply New technology allows professors to track whether students are reading their textbooks (Original post)
TexasTowelie Apr 2013 OP
enlightenment Apr 2013 #1
gejohnston Apr 2013 #2
TexasTowelie Apr 2013 #3
gejohnston Apr 2013 #4
Jim Lane May 2013 #6
HiPointDem May 2013 #5
AdHocSolver May 2013 #7
savebigbird May 2013 #8

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 05:24 PM

1. Yes, like we have time, energy, or inclination

to play cop to our students. Part of the process of maturity is taking responsibility for your own actions, not relying on an external agent to make you do what you know you should be doing. This "tool" is the antithesis of that concept.

I like CourseSmart's online books - they have made it a lot easier for many of my students to afford or simply use (for example a quadriplegic who can't leave the house, but was able to take on online class because he could use his computer to read the text). I do not like this idea.

But, given that my institution is currently considering a series of draconian measures to "encourage" students not to linger beyond the standard two or four years, I anticipate that they will think this idea is just the ticket and pay oodles of state dollars to CourseSmart for the institutional version of this computerized hall monitor - that we will be expected to use.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 06:29 PM

2. and do what with that information?

how many haven't already figured that out?

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 06:39 PM

3. Well here is the standard in Texas--

The professor throws a rope around the neck of the sluffer and restrains it by tying the rope around three limbs to force it into submission. All while on the clock trying to accomplish the task as quick as possible.

Wait, we actually want the sluffer to read and learn? Damn, there went that plan.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 30, 2013, 10:04 PM

4. sluffer roping

like to see the trophy buckle for that event.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #2)

Wed May 1, 2013, 08:00 AM

6. I wonder if there'd be a use for overall information

 

Not "which students actually read Chapter 5?" but "which chapter had the lowest percentage reading it". Presumably the system could be set up to report aggregate data like that, and it might help the professor teach the class (help even more if the professor wrote the textbook).

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Wed May 1, 2013, 05:33 AM

5. like you can't tell if you run your class right. now we need an app for that?

 

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Thu May 2, 2013, 02:34 AM

7. Reading a text book and doing the lessons does not guarantee the imparting of knowledge.

Just about all of the theories of education start from the premise that the lessons, textbooks, and tests are 100 percent valid in teaching and evaluating students in an educational environment.

Having studied many diverse subjects in classes and in independent study, I can report that many textbooks, as well as classroom environments, are mediocre at best.

When I studied a subject, my intention was to learn enough about it to be satisfied with my efforts. I evaluated my learning efforts myself because I was motivated to learn.

The only valid way to evaluate whether someone has learned something is to see if they can DO something useful with the knowledge that they have supposedly gained.

Can the student write a coherent essay, give an understandable lecture, write a valid computer program, play a musical instrument, perform a dance, act in a play, repair a car?

Just reading a textbook, doing lessons, and passing a multiple choice test doesn't imply any useful learning took place.

The most important factor in learning (and the most neglected) is the motivation of the student to learn.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sun May 5, 2013, 08:33 AM

8. Prying eyes!

It's none of their business how much time students spend reading textbooks. Would I receive a lower grade because I didn't highlight or because I skipped a chapter? How many textbooks contain information addressed in previous courses? I didn't waste my time on such redundancy.


Here's to paper textbooks.

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