Loughborough University is looking to launch a software system that will monitor students’ email accounts for ‘negative comment.’
The aim of this system is to analyse communication between students and lecturers in order to gain an understanding of how a course is received by a student and use this information to assess the likelihood that said student will drop out.
The software, known as ‘Co-Tutor’ is designed to monitor staff performance and reduce drop out rates amongst the student population. The software aims to improve the student experience via improving the student to staff relationship.
Tracking student activity as a way of improving the student experience is not a new idea amongst universities. Data analytics are being used more commonly across the university landscape and for a multitude of reasons ranging from effective marketing to managing student retention. The first University known to implement data analytics was Purdue University in Indiana which would indicate whether a student was looking likely to fail based on the information it had collected from the student and placed in comparison with previous students.
However, using quantitative data as a tool for improving staff performance is not risk free, and of course there are privacy and ethical issues that will need to be addressed prior to the launch of such a software.
Currently, Loughborough University is only looking into implementing the software and has not yet taken any action in doing so.