The DCS might have 100 users now, but there’s no time to rest! Our latest developments for the platform include new metrics for the DCS Student Reader. CLA’s Marte Pedersen is on hand to give you a rundown of what these metrics are and what they mean for your institution.
CLA’s Student Reader was introduced in the DCS last year, and since early this year most HEIs using the DCS are using the reader to present readings to their students. We know how important analytics are for the HE community, and so as part of the rollover of the Student Reader, we are now introducing some new metrics for all DCS users using the Student Reader.
With the Student Reader enabled, users are taken directly to the content within the reader when they click on a DCS content link. The reader has the usual reader tools such as zoom, fit to page and full screen, in addition to an improved search function: given that the content is OCR, the user can highlight text and search the web. They can also copy highlighted text via one of the reader tools, and doing so will include a citation to the content! All in all, we believe the Student Reader will make the user experience better for students.
It is also possible to save readings as a PDF from within the reader, as well as print them. This takes us to the case of the new metrics; although the reader is designed to enhance student experience, it also offers you useful new metrics about how students are using the material.
The now available metrics are
- Number of views: This shows how many times a content link has been clicked on in the DCS, allowing lecturers to see what readings are more popular
- Number of prints: Shows how many times an item has been printed from within the Student Reader
- Number of downloads to PDF: shows how many times a scan has been downloaded to PDF from within the student reader
- Number of downloads to Kortext: will show how many times your student cohort chooses to download a scan to the Kortext app from within the student reader. We are currently in discussions with Kortext about releasing it, and once released this metric will be applicable to the institutions choosing to enable it
The metrics are now available in a new report in the DCS called Downloads per Content Item. With these metrics, HEIs can find out not only how often students open their reading material, but also how they engage with them from there.
DCS users can run this report across different date ranges, and from here they can decide how they would like to share this information with their lecturers/academics. They might want to just send them the data relevant to their courses, or perhaps create a couple of tables to illustrate student engagement with their resources?
One of the benefits of these new metrics is that where previously users only had the metric number of views (number of times a DCS link has been clicked on), the new metrics can now be seen in conjunction with this one to give a fuller picture. We know that students may choose to download the material to read it as a PDF, for example, when they’re offline, or they’ll print out copies and read them on the train. Having more metrics to use can account for these behaviours, making your data more accurate.
Adding to that, we believe seeing how the readings are being used could prove useful when it comes to deciding whether or not to renew for example second extract permissions, or journal subscriptions. It can also give lecturers an indicator of what materials are useful to keep on next year’s reading list, and which should perhaps be reconsidered.
We would like to note here that when we created these metrics, we decided to anonymise the student data. We thought this would be the most ethical choice and we believe our DCS users agree with us on this. This way, we can still offer HEIs useful analytics without ‘exposing’ individual students. One benefit of the data being anonymised is that it can be shared with sister institutions, allowing institutions to have greater freedom to process and gain insights from the data.
You might think that with this, we’re done thinking about metrics – but we’re not! Later this year we’re introducing yet another metric called Length of time accessed. This will show how long your students collectively stay in the reader per content link. We believe this will be really beneficial as you can then further review the metrics and how they relate to each other: the most popular reading might not necessarily be the one with the most views if it turns out that no-one is actually spending any time reading the content! Additionally, a low total length of time accessed might not mean that your students aren’t spending time reading – have a look at the number of prints or downloads to PDF and see whether they’re reading but outside of the student reader.
About the author
Marte started at CLA in November 2017 as a Customer Support Advisor. She graduated from City, University of London in 2017 and worked for Booking.com before starting at CLA.