Entries by Jolene du Plessis

The Power of Blackboard Analytics

EdTech Insights

The future is now

The power of analytics

Educators can now identify an at-risk student and intervene before it is too late.

Through the use of learning analytics.  

Picture a student in your class fiddling with their phones. He appears to be taking notes, but you cannot really say if he is, or if he is just WhatsApping a friend…in class time. Of course, he could be checking coursework or working with his peers on lecture related work. But then again, he could be completely distracted during your class with non-related activities.

Now, what if you as educator, had access to data to help you understand your students’ behaviour better. Not only picking up on their online activities, but also using analytical tools to speak to your students in their unique, digital language. Through understanding your students’ behaviour when it comes to technology, you may also have the insight to create a course that meets his/her needs and expectations.

While there is no easy solution to engaging students, but there are definitive, constructive steps you can take.

  1.          You can use analytical tools to help identify at-risk students.
  2.         Help students who are struggling through interpreting analytics
  3.          Support students in discovering how they can help themselves

Learning analytics can help your students be happier and more efficient in their studies. Find out how and more by getting in touch with us today – for tools that offer strategic solutions.

 

Get in touch


Making students happier is just the start of how learning analytics can help you

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation

Best practices in action

EdTech Insights

The future is now

Exchange best practices to put ideas into action

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. Confucius

BbWorld is the once-a -year event that brings together the brightest learning professionals from all over the world. Attending this event, affords you the opportunity to see and do. Experience innovation in education and professional development, participate in peer-driven discussions, network and learn about tech best practices. Over three days, you get to choose the deep-dive sessions that suit your background and expertise and take away practical insights that you can apply to your learning programmes.

When: 23-25 July 2019

Where:  Austin, USA

Why…

IMPROVE YOUR ORGANISATION

Invest in your organisation or institution! Attending BbWorld gives your team the chance to participate in sessions and programmes that are specifically designed to empower users. This means it is so practical, it equips participants to take back what they’ve learnt and apply it in their work environment. The main focus is on creating a greater impact overall.

CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY

Networking will always stay relevant. With higher education, K-12, corporate and government industries represented, you’ll have the chance to speak with peers from around the world. Share and learn from best practices with others, while making new connections throughout the event.

BECOME A POWER USER

We offer ample training opportunities to ensure you’re well acquainted with our technology. By attending BbWorld 2019, you’ll be better suited to use the tools you already have and come up with new ways to enhance the learner experience.

STAY IN THE KNOW

Stay up to date with the latest in tech trends, with leaders in the industry as keynote speakers and trending topics in edtech. We also address challenges and give you a chance to speak with industry leaders.

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Arrive a few days earlier and make the most of your time in Austin. The Blackboard Analytics Symposium also in Austin, TX on July 22-23, as is the Leadership Summit, followed by BbWorld 2019. Learn more about the BB Analytics Symposium here or the Leadership Summit here.

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Learning in the hands of technology – is revolutionary.

Eiffel Corp

Eiffel Corp. Education. Technology. Innovation

Future-fit Institutions

EdTech Insights

The future is now

Is your institution future-fit?

We are almost halfway through 2019! While the year seems to be moving fast, it is noteworthy how technology is moving even faster. Robots are teaching themselves to manipulate an object through trial an error; AI assistants are becoming smoother and more versed in speech (search Google Duplex for more) and ECG-enabled smart watches could predict your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

In the face of this 4th industrial revolution, institutions need to stay relevant. With Workers Day on the 1st of May, we have to ask ourselves what will the future hold for South African graduates?

While we don’t know exactly what future jobs will look like, we do know new jobs will replace traditional ones, and these will require an entirely different skill set.

According to our Digital Teaching and Learning Director, Myles Thies, “Future learning is micro- and blended-learning and curriculums will be online. The workplace will be transformed and digital will be utilised to reskill staff.”

Artificial Intelligence can learn fast, memorise patterns and strategies and execute tasks repetitively with precision. It would be almost impossible for a human to compete with this within the workplace. In fact, robot automation is estimated to take over 800 million jobs by 2030. Furthermore, it is predicted that the half-life of a job skill would be five years. This means that every five years, that skill is half as valuable as it was before.

Therefore, skilled workers need to stay ahead and relevant, otherwise their value as employees will keep on declining.

But how can institutions instruct students in manners that will aid them in staying ahead?

According to Myles, there is no easy quick-fix solutions, but there are some key factors that would play a role.

INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY AND UPSKILL INSTRUCTORS

While it is important to consciously invest in technology, it is only a small part of the solution. It is even more important for educators to acquire the skills and capacity to impart skills in the technology-dominated environment.

ADAPT

Institutions need to be able to adapt. Learners often seek out new modes of learning based on their current use of technology, but educators are not always able to meet them at that level with digital teaching and learning techniques.

BE RESPONSIVE

The ability and speed of adaptation must be robust enough to cope with the increasing pace of innovation. Teacher & lecturer skills are not keeping pace with innovation and capabilities.

OFFER QUALITY

Learners are more discerning, and the tertiary education is becoming more competitive. The quality on every level of the institution should be agile and flexible. There should be benchmarked standards for quality when it comes to digital teaching and learning execution in courses.

 

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Learning in the hands of technology – is revolutionary.

Eiffel Corp

Eiffel Corp. Education. Technology. Innovation

Original writing ensures academic quality

EdTech Insights

The future is now

Original writing ensures academic quality

 

The University of Pretoria (UP), is one of South Africa’s largest research universities. The University boasts 1357 study programmes, an 82% undergraduate pass rate and 85% of graduates employed within a few months of graduation.

To maintain their reputation and standards, the University must ensure students deliver high quality academic writing that is original.  “There is an international trend of plagiarism due to easy access and consequent ‘copying and pasting’ from academic writing on the internet.” Contract cheating is the newest form of plagiarism, where students pay a service provider to write papers on their behalf. While the motivations for students to commit plagiarism vary – some are not even aware that they are committing plagiarism. Students need to understand the seriousness of plagiarism.

That is why UP has opted to adopt an institutional policy that encourages original writing and avoidance of plagiarism. Their policy is enforced with a robust and effective online programme, namely TurnitIn. For them the proof has been in the submissions.

Since implementation at the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2008, 4 354 papers were submitted to TurnitIn. Nearly half those papers had similarity scores of 25% and higher. This means these papers resembled material published on the web or assignments submitted by other students. As high similarity scores might indicate the presence of plagiarism, UP started with a drive to increase the originality of assessment papers, inter alia through adopting an academic integrity and plagiarism policy that created channels for severe punishment in cases of proven plagiarism. The policy was shared on the Library website and to academic departments, and subsequently widely noted and incorporated in assessment instructions across the university.  In 2017, the use of TurnitIn confirmed an upward curve in the growth, with 150 563 submissions and a staggering 243 445 similarity reports.

 

More UP lecturers are using TurnitIn to screen student assignments before marking in order to verify that the work is the student’s own. The number of papers submitted to TurnitIn also increases annually. In UP’s experience, TurnitIn has helped students improve the originality of their papers, and therefore their papers’ academic quality.

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Your culture of academic integrity begins with Turnitin.

Eiffel Corp

Eiffel Corp. Education. Technology. Innovation

Top teacher shares tips

EdTech Insights

The future is now

One of the world's best teachers shares management tips

“There is nothing wrong, with getting it wrong…you learn so much more through the process.” Wendy Horn, Global Teacher Prize Nominee 2018

Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms. Many of us would agree that we had that one teacher who influenced us to set life goals and achieve our best. That one teacher who made us pursue our tertiary studies or who pushed us to achieve more. And for many, Wendy Horn, school principal and science teacher from Protea Heights Academy, is this teacher.

In February 2018, Wendy Horn received recognition for her role in her learners’ lives, when she was nominated as one of the top 50 teachers in the world for the Global Teacher Prize. Wendy understands that educators “shape the future” of their learners.  Wendy also believes that being a teacher must be your calling, “when you stand in front of that class, those children must be your everything.” She adds that “the school, through the innovative use of technology, is preparing learners to be creative problem solvers that will be able to make a positive contribution to society in the future.”

As part of their strategy and digital toolkit, Protea Heights Academy uses Staffroom Software.

We asked her to share her experience with Staffroom Software:

HOW DOES STAFFROOM SOFTWARE IMPROVE YOUR PROCESSES?

“The product saves time. We are able to work from any place that has an internet connection. It also speeds up processes, allows us to collaborate and share data seamlessly.”

IS STAFFROOM SOFTWARE WORTH THE INVESTMENT?

Yes, we save time! It makes the workload less per educator. We can communicate easily with parents and learners. Staffroom allows us to share data so that we can analyse our performance and suggest suitable intervention strategies.  We also cut down on the use of paper and files and can share information effortlessly. The digital archive allows us to store marks, reports and learner information which means we can share these documents with every staff member, as well as parents. Without Staffroom I would ‘freak out’ – it would be as if we were back in the dark ages and would mean more work!”

According to Wendy, Staffroom Software adds to the success of her team, “it adds to our brand in that we communicate with parents effectively. It allows educators to work smartly and saves time. The product allows easy and effective data analysis. It just makes the admin a little bit easier – which in turn means we can use our time more efficiently.”

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“There is nothing wrong, with getting it wrong…you learn so much more through the process.”

Wendy Horn,
Global Teacher Prize Nominee 2018

Education. Technology. Innovation

Empower educators through technology

EdTech Insights

The future is now

Empower educators
through technology

In large sectors like the Education Sector, decision-making must be driven by data. Student Information Systems (SIS) supports a flow of data that is easily accessible and can be analysed to increase the accuracy of decision-making.

An effective SIS offers solutions to tertiary institutions – ones that are flexible, comprehensive and scalable. The ideal SIS has the capacity to configure the automation of an entire student management system based on an individual institution’s needs and requirements.

Probably the most powerful element of a SIS, is the easily accessible data it can provide. Organised data at one central point, from where reports can be compiled, data analysed and projections made – all with one important result: interpreted data for informed decisions that rely on facts.

If knowledge is power, then decisions based on interpreted data is the ultimate empowerment of your institution’s management team. 

Stellenbosch University opted for a SIS that offers them the administrative management system they need. Learn more here or get in touch for more information.

 

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There is no smarter choice than investing in knowledge.

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation

A proven solution for mobilising employee success

EdTech Insights

THE FUTURE IS NOW

A proven solution for mobilising employee success

A mobile app for the workplace has the potential to be a powerful platform for centralised information management and employee communication. But there are many challenges that go hand-in-hand with developing an app. Building an app is costly, both in terms of time, human resources and financial resources. As a result, organisations list an app as a ‘nice-to-have’ item, rather than integral to the productivity of their employees. But what if there is a platform that allows an organisation to build a mobile app – without needing coding skills?

 

 

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Equip your digital workforce for success.

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation

The state of mental health in South African tertiary institutions

EdTech Insights

THE FUTURE IS NOW

Mental health status of South African students is shocking

“We are seeing increases in mental health challenges worldwide – more stress, more anxiety, more depression and more suicides,” Kevin Kruger, president of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education or NASPA, told University World News.

The state of the mental health of students at tertiary institutions has become a major crisis in South Africa – as well as the rest of the world. One of the biggest challenges relating to this crisis is that the magnitude of the issue is often neglected or ignored at national and local level. In South Africa we are faced with so many other challenges when it comes to the Education sector, that often no systems are put in place to identify and treat students who are suffering from mental illnesses.

In 2017, a study by UCT brought to light that at least 12% of university students exhibit “moderate to severe symptoms of depression.” And stats indicate that these figures are rising. In the UK, reports show that at least 27% of UK students have some form of mental health challenge.

These concerning figures reiterate the importance of tackling mental health issues at universities and colleges. In South Africa students face financial constraints, social situations and other challenges that come with adjusting to tertiary education. These stress factors place strain on the mental health of to their students.

While developing policies and task teams to address mental health at universities and colleges are great initiatives, more can be done to monitor mental health on campus. There is a solution in the form of an automated system. A system that not only monitors existing cases, but flags potential cases and offers data and insights that help tertiary institutions identify potential risks before tragedy strikes. 

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Apply a 360 degree model of campus safety—from behavioural intervention to campus security.

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation

Biggest IT system in 100 years

Academia-SIS

Consistent campus management. Delivered

University Installs Biggest IT System in 100 years

The launch of Stellenbosch University’s (SU) new student information system, SUNStudent, was celebrated in Stellenbosch on 6 May 2019.  The implementation of this campus-wide information system forms part of the institution’s System’s Renewal Project (SRP) and is regarded as the single biggest IT system implementation in the 100 year history of the institution.

SUNStudent will be implemented using the SIS solution by SeroSoft, namely Academia. This is a hyper-modern system, that manages the entire campus, addressing each phase of the student life cycle.

 

Imagine a SIS solution…

  • – With the capability to respond to new & rapidly changing requirements
  • – With improved reporting & analytics functionality
  • – That provides a better overall user-experience for staff & students
  • – That has modern and easy-to-use interfaces
  • – That is configured to adapt and integrate to suit your institution’s unique needs
 Educate. Grow. Succeed.
 
Contact us for more information or to set up a free demo.

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Automate your academic and administrative processes – addressing the complete student life cycle.

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation

The power of analytics

EdTech Insights

The future is now

The power of analytics

As the days of the month of March slowly tick by, many students face the reality of the challenges they must face to be successful in their courses. While some may think they have a handle on it, some may not realise they are falling behind… fast and furiously. The result can easily mean another student dropout…or a few. So how can an educator spot an at-risk student and intervene before it is too late?

Simple – learning analytics.  Picture a student in your class fiddling with their phones. He appears to be taking notes, but you cannot really say if he is, or if he is just WhatsApping a friend…in class time. Of course, he could be checking coursework or working with his peers on lecture related work. But then again, he could be completely distracted during your class with non-related activities.

Now, what if you as educator, had access to data to help you understand your students’ behaviour better. Not only picking up on their online activities, but also using analytical tools to speak to your students in their unique, digital language. Through understanding your students’ behaviour when it comes to technology, you may also have the insight to create a course that meets his/her needs and expectations.

While there is no easy solution to engaging students, but there are definitive, constructive steps you can take.

  1.          You can use analytical tools to help identify at-risk students.
  2.         Help students who are struggling through interpreting analytics
  3.          Support students in discovering how they can help themselves

Learning analytics can help your students be happier and more efficient in their studies. Find out how and more by getting in touch with us today – for tools that offer strategic solutions.

 

Get in touch


Making students happier is just the start of how learning analytics can help you

Eiffel Corp

Education. Technology. Innovation