U of Wisconsin Research Seeks To Identify Students At Risk

Ann McClure's picture

Using data from every mouse click a student makes doing online course work, researchers from three University of Wisconsin institutions hope to identify students at risk of doing poorly and potentially dropping out of school.

The goal of the project by the University of Wisconsin Colleges, UW-Madison and UW-Platteville is to help more students succeed.

The project is funded by a three-year grant worth about $650,000. The grant comes from the UW System, which spends about $2 million annually on grants aimed at improving retention and graduation rates, according to Mark Nook, the system's senior vice president for academic and student affairs.

Using principles similar to those that Amazon.com uses for book recommendations, a computer program will track students' activity during online course work, looking at things such as how long a person is logged on, how much time is spent on particular problems and whether discussion boards are being used, said Aaron Brower, UW-Madison vice provost for teaching and learning.

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