I’m Watching

My worlds – writing mysteries and teaching college –  have finally collided and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to technology, I’m now able to apply my fictional super-sleuthing abilities to my actual classrooms.

Eek – does that mean she’s spying on us?

In a way.


I am.


On you.

And here’s how……

Almost every student as this point has participated in either an online course or a traditional course with an online compliment. I’ve been teaching online for years, but until recently, I haven’t taken advantage of the tools offered by the educational software packages. This summer, I decided to delve into the myriad of reports offered by the software. Once, I got the hang of it, I spent time coding my digital classrooms to capture just about any type of student behavior.

How often do you log on? What pages do you look at? How long do you spend on each page? How many times did you open a video? When was the last time you logged on? How does your behavior compare to your classmates? How long did it take you to complete a test? Did you look at the calendar, the announcements, the emails?  Your test crashed and you need an extension? Really – because it has to open first before it crashes. You get the idea.

Holy cow! This is insane and so powerful because now I no longer have to have fake conversations with students. In the past, I had to sift through the stories, the tears, the excuses and the inevitable death of Grandma who, for some reason, could never stay alive through final exam week.

The question is whether I will use my newly acquired electronic knowledge for good or evil. Before you panic, there’s a word for this in the educational field and it’s called an Early Warning System.  What I’m supposed to be doing is tracking student behavior and alerting you before it impacts you negatively.

Translation“Hey Student, I see you’ve only checked in once this week. Do you need help?”

Now that we’re on the same page, I have only one request. If you know that I know, then let’s both come to the table and have an honest conversation about your progress.

I’d love to hear from students! Let me know how you feel about being tracked in your online coursework.