Ferrotype

£7bn 363 colleges 4.2m learners 263,257 staff

Seeing what data means for course teams

Many people in course teams find it difficult to work up any enthusiasm for analysing their students’ success data, and just cannot see anything in it – for many of them, data is just numbers.

They would get a lot more out of a more visual presentation, stimulating them to see the story of their teaching in the numbers, and encouraging them to find ways to make things better for their students through ORID reviews [see my 4 January post]

The most vivid and meaningful example of visualisation that I can find is in the magnificent presentations on www.gapminder.org

Although the method seems incredibly hi-tech,  Google bought  the gapminder software in 2007  and it is available free! within Google Docs http://docs.google.com/

So I have started to produce demonstrations this week.
By feeding enrolment, achievement, retention and success data into a Google Docs spreadsheet and then inserting the Motion Chart Gadget, I can now run time series for the data in ways that urge the viewer to look for the story which plays out before their eyes.

Realistically, I have until May/June before I introduce it to course teams as they begin their Course Reviews, and there is some way to go before my demos are robust enough to use with real people. I still have to suss out how well the graphs perform on a live college network with a projector; and whether I can download them to use offline so that they run faster and more robustly.

I also need to sort how to insert into web pages so I can access them from an intranet – or from a blog! – so I may have to break the habit of a lifetime, and read the instructions fully and carefully.

January 13, 2010 Posted by | course team | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Data Reviews need to be ORID

I’m disappointed that I missed out on Course Team Reviews this year because I am keen to see them done better.
More efficiently= squandering less precious time and motivation
More effectively = fewer formulaic, trite reviews or fire and forget action plans

I’ll do it better by using the “focussed conversation” strategy.
It is nothing new, dating from 2000 [Brian Stanfield, The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace] but it excites me as a way of getting teams involved.

Once people are involved things start to happen, but the problem is always The Forms.
I want to cut The Forms to four questions which guide the team through four stages of thinking

O Objective statements from the data – with no interpretation – just factual statements.
What factual statements can we make about the course based on the data?

R Reflections on those facts, and how they make them feel, as individuals or a group.
What encouraged and discouraged us, and how do we feel about this?

I Interpretation what does the data, and their response to it, tell them?
What does the data tell us, what is there to celebrate, what doesn’t it tell us and what else might we want to know?

D Decisions on what they should do next.
What should and can we do having considered the data? What are the next steps?

The team have a conversation – facilitated at first – and record what the data means to them.

Pushing it a bit, I’ll encourage filling in the ORID form on-line [ a Google Docs template and database is already set up, albeit with one typo] but however the team provide their response, that is secondary to the very direct way in which they are asked to respond to the data.

The framework is all about them and their student data, not that of the quality manager, or their management team, or Ofsted, but is grounded in their own experience and circumstances.
The approach reinforces that they are valued and trusted to take stock of their position and move forward in ways which make sense to them and to their teaching environment.

And next, I want to revamp those grids of SMART action plans

January 4, 2010 Posted by | course team | , , , , | Leave a comment