Online Students Subject of UW Research Project

A U-W research project will monitor some students who take the university’s online classes, with the goal of identifying students who are doing poorly early on. The Madison and Platteville campuses are taking part in the pilot project, along with the two-year U-W Colleges. Madison vice provost Aaron Brower says a computer program will keep track of how long students are online during their course work, how much time is spent on certain problems, and if a student uses the discussion boards. Brower says the information will then be matched with other student data like academic histories – and the end result will be a system that can tell early in a semester whether a student is likely to succeed-or-fail in a particular course. The project is being funded by a three-year, 650-thousand-dollar grant from the U-W System. Brower says the ultimate goal is to run the tracking program throughout the entire university system – but it will take a few years to accomplish that.