Tracking and Assessing Student Engagement

Compass is a personal and professional development program required for all undergraduates in the Wisconsin School of Business (WSB). The program combines a curricular component and required co-curricular experiences that span students' undergraduate experience.

The Compass Program has prescribed requirements such as attending a career fair and meeting with academic and career advisors. However, it also includes a more tailorable component that allows flexibility for students to choose applied learning opportunities that meet both their individual goals and the program's learning outcomes.

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PROBLEM

With co-curricular requirements spanning multiple years, there are limited opportunities for staff to have regular face-to-face interaction with all students. During their first semester of the Compass Program, all students enroll in a required 1-credit personal and professional development course. After that, the rest of the program takes place outside the classroom. Students are expected to make a plan to satisfy each year's requirements, but without the structure of a classroom or instructor, Tanya Cutsforth, Compass Program Coordinator for WSB, acknowledges, "It can be confusing for students to know whether they are satisfying their requirement track and meeting goals."

Prior to finding CampusGroups in 2014, the administrators of the Compass Program struggled to find a platform that met their needs for student tracking and communication. None of the tools available were truly designed for this purpose. Staff ended up using several different modules to assemble individual student profiles in order to review, assess, advise and communicate with the students.

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This was a time-consuming process because of both the number of students and scale of the program.

With a rigorous, evolving multi-year program, new cohorts of students arriving annually, and a diverse range of requirements, clear communication and evaluation tools were a critical need for the program. Compass staff set out to find a system that was customizable to fit their specific needs, intuitive and scalable among a large and diverse group of users, and had effective customer support to back it up.

SOLUTION

The Compass Program engaged CampusGroups to implement a new and efficient system to manage its programs and initiatives. The primary goal was to create an interface that was easy to use for both Compass staff and students at the Wisconsin School of Business.

CampusGroups focused on tracking a precise list of requirements for students, as well as delivering evaluation tools for administrators to better analyze the collective data and accurately measure student engagement overall.

CampusGroups customized the platform by creating cohort-specific requirements, which automatically pull student participation at various optional and mandatory workshops, events and program evaluation opportunities. These features are used extensively by Compass staff to track and generate reports on student engagement in the school.

CampusGroups was very responsive, especially during development and implementation, when our ideas were constantly evolving. They helped make our program meaningful through intuitive design.

“Pragmatically," Tanya Cutsforth shared, "CampusGroups created tracking software that we could use to track curricular/co-curricular requirements. This included ‘smart’ rules that allowed for quick categorization of participation toward our ‘Applied Experience’ requirement, and a student interface that was easy to interpret.” CampusGroups’ focus on Applied Experiences and the ability to tag students in various ways, “helped staff quickly find the appropriate data to make informed decisions and update students' progress toward completing program requirements. On the student-level, CampusGroups added functionality so users could quickly see what they’ve completed and find opportunities to satisfy any remaining requirements.” says Cutsforth.   

CampusGroups collaborated with Compass and the Wisconsin School of Business to develop a platform that provided solutions to centralize Compass Program needs, and also allow for adaptations to be made down the road. According to Cutsforth, CampusGroups "listened extensively, asked a lot of questions and were exceptionally responsive as our needs evolved. They helped address high-priority items in a timely manner and quickly communicated when there was going to be a delay in the timeline."

CampusGroups listened extensively, asked a lot of questions and were exceptionally responsive as our needs evolved.

Cutsforth was excited that CampusGroups was responsive, not only giving the Compass Program what they wanted, but also anticipating what they might need as they  moved through development and into implementation. "CampusGroups guided us to identify questions we hadn't considered (or didn't even know to ask) and then helped us find the right solutions."

CONCLUSION

With a community platform firmly in place, and a customer support system to actively assist students and staff alike, the Compass staff say they spend considerably less time explaining how to navigate the requirements and track students' progress. Cutsforth says she believes, "the energy spent investing in the development of the platform will be recouped because we're thinking now about the features we need to scale the program in the future." The Wisconsin School of Business has recently added the Accenture Leadership Center (ALC) Leadership Certificate to CampusGroups, creating a streamlined-space for students to learn about leadership programming in WSB and track their progress toward the ALC Leadership Certificate.

Cutsforth points out that the collaboration with CampusGroups has worked out so well in promoting student engagement, assessment and learning outcomes in WSB, that she would be happy to endorse the use of CampusGroups throughout the University of Wisconsin. Cutsforth says other departments on campus are taking notice of what is happening with Compass and are "very impressed and curious about what we're doing."

Engagement Checklists: Create a List of Requirements

Efficiently manage programs and initiatives with checklists

With CampusGroups, students and administrators know at all times whether they are satisfying mandatory requirements and meeting goals set forth. Student participation data is automatically pulled at optional and mandatory events, career fair attendance, advisor meetings, workshops, evaluations or any other tasks you would like to require.

Track your precise list of requirements, deliver evaluation tools for administrators to improve data collection and analysis, and generate insightful reports on student engagement. With CampusGroups' flexible checklist system, you can allow students to choose events and opportunities that meet both individual and program goals.

Key benefits:

  1. With CampusGroups, you can create a checklist of requirements to track achieved milestones.
  2. Allow your campus to set achievement levels. For example, in order for a student to reach a certain level, you can require (1) students to be a part of at least three groups of a certain type, (2) mandatory attendance at four workshops on a certain topic, (3) uploading of a certain number of documents or forms. Requirements are automatically checked off for a student when completed.
  3. Requirements can be broken down into multiple checklists, each being achievment levels and awards.
  4. CampusGroups saves hundreds of hours by automating the managements of the checklists. Requirements can be manually or programatically checked by analyzing involvement and participation data in CampusGroups.
  5. Checklists provide a fun way to gamify student engagement on your campus and to increase involvement at large.
  6. Reporting is a key feature of the checklists module as it allows you to quickly assess overall student engagement and the success of your programs.

See how the University of Wisconsin in Madison leveraged checklists to assess student engagement here.

Planning an Event? Sell Food, Drinks and Merchandise at Events through CampusGroups!

Sell items directly from the platform

Through CampusGroups' Stores, you can easily sell food, drinks and merchandise at events and pop-up shops and booths, anywhere you'd like to set up!

At a big event, you can distribute bracelets with unique QR codes for students to purchase beer, food, school merchandise, gifts, etc. Event attendees can add money to their accounts at any time and simply scan the bracelet to pay for items they wish to buy. It's easy. Officers just scan the store screen directly, then scan the student's bracelet to complete a quick cashless transaction!

Assessing Learning Outcomes & Student Engagement on CampusGroups

CampusGroups provides a full suite of tools that can help you to achieve your Learning Outcomes objectives

Current research indicates that co-curricular involvements have a strong, positive influence on student performance, success and degree completion. Accordingly, accurate assessment and measurement of individual student engagement is a vital component to achieving Learning Outcomes, identifying students that may need help and determining the best strategies and requirements to meet your school's goals.

More centralized data, more visibility

Data can be challenging to analyze, and it's not always easy to turn into meaningful results.  Within CampusGroups, a huge amount of automatically collected data is available, and powerful reporting tools allow you to access the data representations you need.

CampusGroups gives you the ability to track everything from event attendance to involvement in student organizations, all of which can be used to develop an effective assessment strategy for your campus.

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Collect Insightful Data With Surveys & Forms

  1. Online surveys and forms are key assessment features.  Besides the immediate positive impact of shifting from paper to electronic forms, they also are the best way to efficiently collect and analyze data.
  2. With online surveys, it's easy to centralize all information submitted by students into one single data repository.
  3. Leveraging surveys allows you to accurately measure, evaluate and identify Learning Outcomes, patterns and crucial feedback, which will help lead to student success.
  4. Survey results dashboards allow you to easily visualize key metrics, and to detect students who are behind and need more help.

Best Practices

  1. Through the powerful CampusGroups surveys and forms module, ask all kinds of questions and collect all types of data.
  2. Set up an appointment system with the event time slots reservation feature, and manage all meetings between students and advisors from one place.
  3. Conduct 1-on-1 interviews and focus groups with students, and subsequently collect data & feedback with a CampusGroups survey. During an interview, simultaneously take notes and answer questions within the survey that you’ve prepared. The data is stored and accessible by you and your team.
  4. Send surveys before and after events to cross-match opinions and feedback from students, thus ensuring that learning outcomes are being achieved by your programs.
  5. Collect documents from students (such as constitutions, mission statements, post-event reflection) and download them all into a zip file in just 1 click!
  6. Easily create reports from aggregated, campus-wide data.
  7. Forms can be connected to any module in CampusGroups, including events, group membership and student profiles.

Track Involvement

  1. Tracking attendance is a core feature CampusGroups offers to meet involvement assessment needs in higher education.
  2. Participation and attendance data can be collected in many different ways through CampusGroups. Learn more!
  3. View, monitor, analyze, access and download attendance data in real time, at any time.
  4. Maintain a record of student program participation (e.g., classroom and events attendance, timesheet hours).
  5. Measure interest, evaluate program effectiveness and increase student engagement.
  6. Monitor campus activity (who has and has not participated in events). Make an event mandatory, and check that pre-registered students attend.
  7. Use card-swiping technology to check-in and check-out students at any event, or to simply allow students to submit their hours.
  8. Download all data such as hours tracked and event attendance into Excel reports.

Create List of Requirements

  1. With CampusGroups, create a checklist of requirements that tracks achieved milestones automatically. Read the University of Wisconsin-Madison Case Study to learn more.
  2. Allow your campus to set achievement levels. For example, in order for a student to reach a certain level, you can require (a) students to be a part of at least three groups of a certain type, (b) mandatory attendance at four workshops on a certain topic, (c) uploading of a certain number of documents or forms. Requirements are automatically checked off when students complete them.
  3. Requirements can be broken down into multiple checklists, such as achievement levels and awards.
  4. CampusGroups saves hundreds of hours by automating the management of the checklists. Requirements can be manually or programmatically checked by analyzing involvement and participation data in CampusGroups.
  5. Checklists provide a fun way to gamify student engagement on your campus and to increase involvement at large.
  6. Reporting is a key feature of the checklists module as it allows you to quickly assess overall student engagement and the success of your programs.

Analyze and Assess

  1. Monitor learning outcomes campus-wide. Make sure your strategy is going to be successful on your campus.
  2. Collect, analyze and compare student involvement and assessment data, all from one centralized location.
  3. Satisfacation surveys are a key tool to evaluate your programs and are essential to measuring whether your learning outcome objectives are being met.
  4. Analyze assessments and evaluations through qualitative feedback and reflections (whether you need to collect write-ups, feedback and reflections from students in order to complement data collected from surveys).
  5. Identify the students who need reminders on their goals to reach learning outcomes of the campus.

Create Meaningful Reports

  1. Extensive attendance and involvement data are at your fingertips: number of hours at each event, membership data for each student, their roles within groups, number of events attended, number of hours contributed toward requirements, and the number of emails students are reading or to which they are responding. (All of this data can be used to create reports.)
  2. Create custom evaluations for measuring ROI, program effectiveness, presenter assessment, event satisfaction and more.
  3. Aggregate all data into a massive, campus-wide report. Visualize full scope of individual student involvements.
  4. Access your data anytime, aggregate and download reports into Excel or build RSS feeds of data. Filter your RSS feed to pull only the data in which you’re interested.  (We are happy to build unique feeds for your campus to allow you to pull data into other systems you have in place.)

Automate and Customize Co-Curricular Transcripts 

  1. Use attendance data and tracked hours to build Co-Curricular transcripts.
  2. Fully customizable Co-Curricular transcripts are a great way for students to go to an interview and show all their co-curricular involvements!
  3. Allow students to enter their own co-curricular involvements and to request approval from an advisor.
  4. Choose to leave off some experiences or add others such as off-campus volunteering.
  5. Allow the data to be published publicly as an e-portfolio, displaying all of a student's achievements and involvements on campus.