Home > audience-is-teachers, e-learning, Metrics > Logging learning center attendance using MS-Exchange Calendars

Logging learning center attendance using MS-Exchange Calendars

  1. Over the years, I had to find a number of solutions for monitoring student attendance in the learning center, by repurposing existing infrastructure (there are dedicated solutions which, however, are often too costly for a departmental center, or not shared well). Here is another idea:
  2. We’ve used the existing campus-wide MS-Exchange infrastructure’s resource mailboxes for room booking and equipment circulation.
  3. We have creatively repurposed this infrastructure for managing the staffing of “offices” (center help desk and tutors). Here we needed to allow conflicts:
    1. multiple students staff the help desk.
    2. 1 tutor staffs the “office”- 1 additional student can book the tutor.
    3. Additionally, we set up a time clock system, based on an Excel Macro, to prevent cheating:
      1. Only the person logging in can sign up to the resource;
      2. while only the help desk can provide the time clock value.
  4. It looks like that a similar setup could be extended to support the common requirement that students, while taking a certain course, spend a certain amount of time per week working in the learning center:
    1. which has been traditionally handled using paper-based sign-in-sheets or, at best, spreadsheets.
    2. With digital input, the data could be basis for analytics and visualizations, taking advantage of existing tools like MS-Calendaranalytics.
    3. Such a system would, however, require creation of resource calendar per course section that need to monitor learning center attendance. However, this needs to be done only once and would be reusable, since data can be filtered by input time, as long as no entirely new courses/sections come online.
  5. But hasn’t mandatory weekly learning center attendance been made obsolete by ubiquitous computing and the web?
    1. Definitely in some of its more antiquated forms: I have worked at institutions where the computer-savvy students attended the learning center once at the beginning of the term to copy all the learning materials on the network share onto a thumb drive, and I would not want to force somebody to come to the learning center continuously for such a trivial purpose as accessing files on a not-web-accessible network share.
    2. However,  there seems to be a lot of unmined pedagogical value in learning center group work and blended instruction (under tutor supervision), like in a homework emporium (provided your program is big enough to have continuous tutor support and sufficient learner overlap).
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