SAN MATEO, Calif., July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CourseSmart®, a leading Educational Services Platform and the world's largest provider of digital course materials, today announced the general availability of CourseSmart Analytics, following a successful beta program comprising nine schools during the Spring semester of this year. Institutions across the country now have access to an innovative analytics solution, which measures students' engagement with digital course materials as a means to increase retention and improve learning outcomes.
"We are pleased with the tremendous success of the beta program for CourseSmart Analytics, and we have incorporated student, faculty, and administrator feedback into an enhanced product that will help students be more successful nationwide," said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart. "The positive response we have received in North America and internationally is proof of the market demand that exists for technology which improves teaching, learning and institutional accountability. We are confident that CourseSmart Analytics will help students stay on track and be more productive in their studies, which will in turn, increase our country's global education competitiveness."
Based on beta feedback from non-profit and for-profit institutions, CourseSmart Analytics now includes improvements to the user interface, new reports, and improved labeling that make it even easier to monitor student engagement with eTextbooks. The summer 2013 release of CourseSmart Analytics includes these enhancements:
- Weekly Trend Charts – it is now easier to see the impact of changes to lesson plans, mid-terms and other assessments on student engagement with the assigned course materials. By popular request, the engagement and activity charts now trend by week instead of by month.
- CourseSmart Engagement Index by Week – this is an improvement to the dashboard which allows users to more easily track patterns and variances in students' engagement patterns on a week by week basis.
- Average Session Activity by Week – based on feedback from the beta, a new metric, "session count" is now available to provide additional context to the average highlights, notes and bookmarks metrics that were available during the pilot.
- At-a-Glance Color Coding Spotlighting Key Trends – green shading identifies top performing students based on the CourseSmart Engagement Index; red shading highlights students who may need assistance to stay on-track in their studies.
- Export Detail for Custom Analysis – users may select various report subheadings to reveal options to export information in PDF, XLS and CSV file formats.
An Administrator version of CourseSmart Analytics comes free with every integration of CourseSmart into the campus LMS. In-depth individual course and faculty views along with customized versions of CourseSmart Analytics are available based on tiered volume pricing.
CourseSmart Beta Program Results
More than 3,700 students, 76 faculty members and 26 administrators from nine institutions participated in the beta program for CourseSmart Analytics earlier this year. CourseSmart conducted pre-and-post beta surveys with these schools to measure attitudes and results of the pilot among participating students, faculty and administrators. Some of the most interesting summary results from the pilot include:
Students -- 75% of students agreed/strongly agreed that they were comfortable with CourseSmart Analytics. 70% believed that CourseSmart Analytics would help improve engagement and student success.
Faculty – 83% of faculty agreed/strongly agreed that CourseSmart Analytics would help them make more informed decisions about course materials.
Administrators – 100% of administrators agreed/strongly agreed that CourseSmart Analytics would inform their digital textbook platform use.
One of the largest participants in the beta program, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, is currently reviewing its own data from the pilot, but preliminary analysis suggests that CourseSmart Analytics helped improve the grades of some of their students. As also noted in CourseSmart's internal surveys, one important finding from TAMU-SA focus groups was that students did not mind that their engagement levels were being monitored, since they had the opportunity to opt-out of the pilot, and they were also accustomed to sharing information in the public arena via social media outlets.
Adrian Guardia teaches management courses at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and he participated in the spring beta program with three of his classes. Guardia noted that one of the benefits of using analytics was that the CourseSmart Engagement Index served as a catalyst to initiate conversations that might not have happened otherwise. "I noticed a few of my students had very low engagement scores so I called them to check in," said Professor Guardia. "As we discussed the students' engagement levels, many admitted they were having trouble, or were not keeping up with assigned reading. I found significant value in using the technology to better understand how my students were learning, and intervene before they fell too far behind."
CourseSmart Analytics recently received the 2013 Best New Product Award from the IMS Global Learning Consortium.
For more information, please visit www.coursesmart.com.
CourseSmart is a leading Educational Services Platform and the only provider of digital course materials able to combine curriculum, content and delivery into a single solution. Founded in 2007, the San Mateo, Calif.–based company provides services to four business segments: online direct retail for students; indirect distribution of course materials to students through bookstores; online faculty textbook evaluation services; and institutional solutions for faculty and students that are integrated within campus technology ecosystems. CourseSmart improves the educational experience by offering all users, including those with print-related disabilities, anytime, anywhere access to the course content they need. With more than 90% of the same core titles offered by major print publishers, the company's eTextbooks can be purchased for up to 60% less than the cost of new print textbooks. For more information about CourseSmart, visit the company's Web site at www.coursesmart.com.
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