“Decreasing student retention is a major problem for students, their parents and ELTE”
ELTE is the oldest university in Hungary operating continuously since its foundation in 1635 and is considered the largest scientific establishment in Hungary.
The aim of the Faculty of Informatics is to teach and train experts and teachers in the fields of informatics and cartography. Students graduating from the Faculty of Informatics are able to meet the challenges of the 21st-century information society and develop the infrastructure of informatics. In March 2021, a StudyCoach Pilot was implemented by Drieam within the Faculty of Informatics of ELTE (Eötvös Loránd University). StudyCoach was added to the Canvas environment to:
- stimulate collaborative student-centered communication between student counselors (managers in StudyCoach), mentors (coaches in StudyCoach) and students.
- increase student retention at ELTE by allowing mentors to take targeted actions with the help of Learning Analytics in StudyCoach.
The importance of a consistent and integrated coaching experience for ELTE
The ultimate goal of implementing StudyCoach was two-sided. StudyCoach was implemented to support both mentors and student counselors to identify students in need of extra attention. Mentors can then take targeted actions to achieve lower student retention within ELTE. Student counselors can work together with the responsible mentors to help students in their learning journey.
The Solution: The StudyCoach 4-step cycle
“From an environment in which courses are the central factor, to an environment in which the student is in the focus”
StudyCoach adds the role of a coach to the Learning Management System Canvas, providing coaches with a dashboard to identify students that need extra attention, zoom in on their learning behavior and proactively engage with the students to collaborate on their progress towards success. With the help of Drieam as their chosen partner, ELTE wanted to create one central place for guidance for the student, the teacher, the mentor and the student counselor. This process was following the StudyCoach 4-step cycle:
Step 1: Identify
Using learning analytics to identify students who might need guidance by using a student-centered dashboard with insights into learning behavior across courses.
At ELTE, mentors come together with their students in periodical group meetings. During these meetings, mentors and students actively talk about the well-being of students. Mentors try to identify which students might be at risk of retention. The behavioral indicator Submission and the Last-login of students that are displayed in StudyCoach are used by mentors as a starting point for conversation during these meetings. On top of that, the own knowledge and instinct of mentors are leading as a human interpretation of Learning Analytics is always the starting point. When a mentor identifies a student who is regularly missing classes, the mentor assigns a “Class Absence” label to a student in StudyCoach.
Step 2: Zoom in
Diving into an individual student’s learning behavior indicators and coaching history to get a complete picture of student progress towards success.
When the mentor has identified the regular class-absence of the student, the mentor meets with the student counselor. Together they discuss the situation of the specific student and dive into the student information. They think of follow-up steps for the mentor to execute.
Step 3: Engage
Using insights about learning behavior as a conversation starter to engage with the student and to provide personal guidance to stimulate study-success.
The mentor starts using the Action labels. The mentor plans a meeting with the student via the notes. When this is arranged, the mentor adds the label “Appointment Scheduled” to the student. Only the student counselor and the coach are able to see the label and know the progress being made in the guidance of the student.
Step 4: Collaborate
Offering integral guidance by collaborating between student, mentor and teacher to follow up on a student’s progress.
After the meeting between the mentor and the student takes place, the follow-up actions are registered by the mentor in StudyCoach. The student is forwarded to a Student Psychologist and this is also assigned as a label to the student. This way, the student counselor can also keep track of the progress a student is making and actions that have taken place.
“StudyCoach is a perfect addition to the existing mentoring. It is a great way to see advancement (objective info) of students individually over courses, contact them directly and track the mentoring process in helping students succeed. It helps communication of certain issues between counselor, mentor and student (no double administration, no double checks) in a sufficient way. When there are administrative difficulties (for internationals) or with studying a certain subject, a student doesn’t say that normally. Thanks to StudyCoach mentor teachers can see that there is any difficulty and take the step to engage, so students don’t have to do that. Besides that, it manages to strengthen the connection between student counselors and mentor teachers.”