Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 3

FacProfDev Summer 2013 - Day 3

by Varun Khanna

With the overwhelming amount of digital information available, it has become imperative to have useful data at our disposal so we can make informed and quality decisions. Individuals, companies, and even our government is looking for relevant and useful information that is purposefully extracted from big data, so that knowledge can be converted to actionable intelligence.

So, how does Sakai, Pepperdine University’s powerful learning management system (LMS) of choice, help its faculty mine data that leads to better understanding of student interaction and engagement?

Graziadio School of Business and Management’s Professor Lynn Newman found that combining three Sakai tools; polls, announcements, and statistics provided tremendous insight prior to the commencement of her 2013 summer classes.

Logging onto, Professor Newman created the following in Sakai.

  1. A quick poll in Sakai. Note: if you do not see Polls in your left side bar within Courses, professors are advised to go to Site Info > Edit Tools > Polls (select the Polls item), click continue and then click finish.
  2. She then sent a customized announcement to her students requesting they take the poll, also highlighting that she had posted the syllabus and Harvard Business Review (HBR) cases within Sakai.
Results were almost immediate and positive. In less than twelve hours, 15 out of 23 students had responded to the poll, taken a look at the syllabus, as well as the HBR cases she had uploaded in the Resources section of Sakai. Just the day before not a single student had visited the site!

How did she know how many and which students had taken action?

Using Sakai’s powerful Statistics tool.

The following three graphs (taken from Pepperdine’s FacProfDev Summer 2013 workshop) are representative of information that may be of value to a professor.

 Pie Chart 1: Visits

Pie Chart 1 is a graphical representation of the names of the attendees who visited the FacProfDev 2013 project site. Not only does it list the number of times attendees visited the site but, also the names of those who did not visit.

Pie Chart 2: Activity

The second chart depicts where (in the FacProfDev Summer 2013 site) the attendees visited the most. Resources came in at number 1, followed by Forums, Site Info, Messages, Lessons etc. It is important to note that the data is for the past 7 days and may be customized for the day, week, or month etc. 

Pie Chart 3: Resources
The last graph shows activity by Resource sorted by attendee visits from most to least.

If you missed the Summer 2013, FacProfDev conference, Pepperdine’s Technology and Learn department can meet with you, at your convenience, in a one-on-one session. You can send an email to or fill this simple form and register for free.