Staying on Track: The UCF Online Student Performance Dashboard

Concurrent Session 8
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Brief Abstract

UCF has developed an online student performance dashboard that draws upon LMS data to present a visually-appealing tool for student planning and success. Students are shown their status, assigned a goal for improvement, and given the ability to easily prepare a plan for achieving it. This briefinf will describe the dashboard project, demonstrate its functionality, and share the results of a pilot.


Thomas Cavanagh, Ph.D. is Vice Provost for Digital Learning at the University of Central Florida. In this role he oversees all classroom technology and the distance learning strategy, policies, and practices of one of the nation’s largest universities, serving 68,000 students, where online learning represents more than 47% of the university's annual credit hours. In his career, Tom has administered e-learning development for both academic (public and private) and industrial (Fortune 500, government/military) audiences. He has been recognized with a number of awards including the WCET Richard Jonsen Award, the USDLA Outstanding Leadership Award, and been named an Online Learning Consortium Fellow. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and serves on a number of national advisory boards. He is also an award-winning author of several mystery novels.

Extended Abstract

The University of Central Florida (UCF) has developed a new Online Student Performance Dashboard. This dashboard draws upon LMS data to present a visually-appealing tool for student planning and success. In this session, Thomas Cavanagh, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning, will describe the dashboard project, demonstrate its functionality, and share the results of the dashboard pilot.

The top of the dashboard includes the following components:

-          The student’s current score in the class

-          Upcoming assignments and their values

-          A goal for improvement, which defaults to the next-higher letter grade

The bottom half of the dashboard offers three different tabs of data for students:

-          The Score Estimator tab, which uses slider bars to allow students to determine the required scores in upcoming assignments in order to achieve the given goal for improvement. Students can also accept a system-defaulted set of assignment targets.

-          The Performance tab, which allows students to see their performance by assignment across the course compared to the entire class. This helps students determine if they are performing on pace with the general class or if there may be an issue that requires intervention with the faculty member.

-          The Behavior tab, which allows students to see their behavior in course related activities compared to other students performing at various grade averages. For example, students can compare the number of times they have logged in and posted to the discussion board compared to the number of times that students who have an A average are logging in and posting to the discussion board. This gives students a tangible idea of behaviors that they can adjust that are correlated with students who are performing better than they are in a class.

The dashboard exists within each course in the LMS. It is presented as a course-level tool to norm the differences inherent in modality, pedagogy, and instructor style/preference.

Of note is the fact that the dashboard was developed with significant input from online students themselves. In fact, the idea of the assigned grade goal and the Score Estimator tab came directly from students.

An evaluation of the pilot was conducted using both quantitative and qualitative measures and the results are currently being compiled. These results will be shared as part of the session.