CourseSmart Analytics

E-books have many positive uses in the classroom; not only do you not have to carry twenty pounds on your back or shoulder, but you are also able to highlight and take notes just as you would in a tangible textbook. However, a new addition to some E-books may prove to add a negative connotation of them – a reporting service, that will be widely available to colleges in 2013. Currently, three colleges are implementing the tool, offered by CourseSmart Analytics, according to Mashable.

Students may feel uneasy as professors may monitor how the students utilize their study time. (photo by unten44)

Students may feel uneasy as professors may monitor how the students utilize their study time. (photo by unten44)

What is CourseSmart Analytics and What Will it Implement into E-Books?

CourseSmart Analytics, as stated from their website marketing the beta product, is basically a way to measure student activity with the e-books. They strive to see what textbooks are and aren’t effective in teaching – what are interesting to the student and what isn’t. However, it has another use too: teachers can now track what students are taking notes upon virtually as well as seeing who is studying the material and who isn’t. Students will feel the pressure of knowing their teachers can see exactly what they’re doing and how long they’re doing it. Although college is a time to learn your own way and take care of yourself, students will feel a sense of a “big brother” watching them, which may take away from their desire for independence in education.

However, that “big brother” sense they may feel has a positive outcome too: those who are inclined to study will tend to do better on their exams and classwork. It will allow the professor to focus in upon students who are lacking in studying, which may or may not correlate to their grades. With some courses in college having four hundred students, it is not likely for teachers to be able to spend one-on-one time with a student. This will make for an easier time for the teacher to help a student, if that is their heart’s intent. This is not to say that every professor would be willing to help you; if one is in college, they are expected to take care of themselves as they are of age to do so.

What are People’s Reactions to it?

John Warner, of insidehighered, states that he will not be using the program because he has a better way of evaluating their studying habits: their grade. He also claims that it is a tool we don’t need – that if a professor wants to get to know his students and understand their personalities in how they work, he can speak to them, via e-mail, conferences, or even grade their papers and remark on their work. What comes next is the student’s responsibility of attempting to improve.

Slate.com suggests in this post that if students had low levels of activity with the textbook, they do not necessarily have to have grades that correlate. Students can already have knowledge on the information, thus, their level of activity does not accurately describe their intelligence. After all, it is the grade that matters and not much else.

What do you think? Is CourseSmart Analytics worth utilizing when you don’t necessarily need it to tell if your students are successful in their academic endeavors?

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