quantext use case
Relating students' experiences to what we teach
Background
Linking student interests to engagement
There is evidence that when coursework is related to student interests and goals, student retention and performance improves (e.g. Thomas, 2012; Kahu, Nelson & Picton, 2017). There is also evidence that, in MOOC settings, student participation in online discussion can increase where discussion topics reflect student interest (Elgort, Lundqvist, McDonald & Moskal, 2018).
Context
Foundation level course, Future ideas: Information and the Internet.
The use case was led by Dr Jennifer Stokes, course coordinator for Future Ideas: Information and the Internet, at UniSA College (University of South Australia) in Semester 2, 2018. The aim was to identify student interests and concerns and link these to course assignments.

Future Ideas: Information and the Internet is an innovative information literacy course offered as an elective to 160+ students each year in enabling programs at UniSA College. The course is designed to encourage deep learning approaches by supporting students to investigate real-world problems and identify evidence-based solutions. Jennifer used Quantext-Live, to summarise student written responses to questions posed during a lecture in real-time. The questions sought students' opinions related to the broad challenges facing humanity, where they felt technology might help and specifically, which problems they would like to explore further. Through connecting with student interests, the aim was to encourage students to reflect on and apply key course concepts in relation to their own interests and experiences.
Analysis
Analysis of student responses to questions with Quantext.

Summarised responses
WHAT PROBLEMS OR OPPORTUNITIES WOULD YOU LIKE TO EXPLORE?
Global, environmental, sociocultural, and individual issues emerged as themes from this student cohort. These included, technology use, free speech, overpopulation, media bias, climate change and election rigging for example. The most popular problem that students wanted to explore further was mental health.
Outcome
Data analysis with Quantext.
From student responses, a total of nine research topics were developed from which students could choose to answer two related assignments. The first assignment required information gathering and the second sought to encourage problem-solving based on effective research. Scope was provided for students to tailor the broad research topic to their personal interests. For example, the topic mental health, might relate to, technology overuse or addiction, to specific conditions such as anxiety or depression, cyberbullying prevention and so on.

The opportunity to have input into their assessment task was appreciated by students. There was evidence that some students felt they performed better or could be more creative as a result. The course teacher felt that the ability to capture and visibly respond to student interests encouraged a deep approach to learning (Stokes & McDonald, 2018)
References
Elgort, I., Lundqvist, K., McDonald, J. & Moskal, A.C.M. (2018) Analysis of student discussion posts in a MOOC: Proof of concept. Companion Proceedings LAK18, Sydney (pp. 1-8). Full paper is available here
Kahu, E., Nelson, K., & Picton, C. (2017). Student interest as a key driver of engagement for first year students. Student Success, 8(2), 55-66. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v8i2.379
Thomas, L. (2012). Building student engagement and belonging in higher education at a time of change: A summary from the What Works? Student retention and success programme. Full report is available here
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