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Presentation at San Diego State University on April 12, 2013.
Educational researchers have found that students from under-represented minority families and other disadvantaged demographic backgrounds have lower achievement in online (or hybrid) courses compared to face-to-face course sections (Slate, Manuel, & Brinson Jr, 2002; Xu & Jaggars, 2013). However, these studies assume that "online course" is a homogeneous entity, and that student participation is uniform. The content and activity of the course is an opaque "black box", which leads to conclusions that are speculative at best and quite possibly further marginalize the very populations they intend to advocate for.
The emerging field of Learning Analytics promises to break open this black box understand how students use online course materials and the relationship between this use and student achievement. In this presentation, we will explore the countours of Learning Analytics, look at current applications of analytics, and discuss research applying a Learning Analytics research method to students from at-risk backgrounds. The findings of this research challenge stereotypes of these students as technologically unsophisticated and identify concrete learning activities that can support their success.