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IT Launches New Tools of Engagement

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Cal State Fullerton has another tool in its collection of methods for student success.

Titanium Engagement, now in its second semester, helps students and faculty members track student participation in courses as an early gauge of the students’ performance.

“It provides an overall early warning assessment, not just for faculty, but also for advisers and students because they have access to see how the student is performing in comparison to classmates,” said Willie Peng, assistant vice president for academic technology support services.

The web application took about a year to develop and is accessible through Titanium. Students also may access the app with the help of an academic adviser.

The innovative app measures what Peng calls “meaningful clicks” on key elements of each student’s Titanium coursework, such as required reading, assignments and quizzes. The time spent on these elements is ranked on a scale using colored dots and numbers noting participation from low to high engagement. The data can then be compared to previous weeks and the student’s performance and GPA in previous semesters, allowing both the student and faculty member to learn from the information.

Analyzing the information might motivate students to improve their study habits and faculty members to intervene earlier when students show lower participation, or make adjustments in the curriculum to boost engagement in the weeks that consistently show a dip in participation, Peng said.

The tool is a digital complement to CSUF’s award-winning Student Success Teams in each of the university’s eight colleges, where student support specialists offer academic advising, graduation and retention strategies, career planning, crisis intervention and co-curricular engagement.

The university’s holistic effort to focus collaborative resources and build student success has increased graduation rates and helped shrink graduation deferrals and the achievement gap. The new web application focuses on retention, Peng said.

Students who don’t pass a course must repeat it and that extends their coursework and tuition. Early intervention can help students pass courses and yield a higher retention rate, which keeps them on the path toward graduation, he said.