The Boston New Technology Startup Showcase

The Boston New Technology Startup Showcase (#BNT90) was held on Monday, June 18th. It was hosted by the law firm office of Foley Hoag in downtown Boston, overlooking the harbour.

I was the first speaker of the night. I began my presentation by noting that colleges and universities are keenly aware of the role that national rankings play in their relative status and financial health, and that these rankings are highly influenced by student outcome measures. As a former college professor, I can attest to the tremendous resources that college administrations pour into improving measures of student learning and satisfaction.

In traditional, face-to-face classrooms, instructors are able to directly observe and see which aspects of lessons don’t really resonate with their students. This detailed feedback is extremely valuable and allows the teacher to quickly and easily revise his or her lesson.

 

However, an increasing majority of courses are now being held online. The main downside of this is that instructors loses the detailed feedback that they would have received from students when teaching in face-to-face courses. Without this detailed feedback, the courses are more likely to be frustrating and boring to students.

Which leads to lower course evaluations, discouraged teachers, and unhappy college administrators.

Thankfully we’ve developed a solution – our software provides a way to easily measure, analyze, and interpret students’ levels of engagement!

The audience was very interested in how our software could help colleges and universities successfully deal with this pain point. I explained how their students would continue using their school’s regular Learning Management System. And then as students go through their lessons, we use the computer’s built-in camera and facial recognition algorithms to identify the students’ emotions and level of engagement.

The teacher, sitting in his office (or vacationing in Tahiti) can look and see how his students are doing.

The system provides an easy-to-use analytics dashboard to see bigger pictures and trends.

 

The system also provides detailed measures of students’ second-by-second levels of engagement. I showed an example of a plot of level of engagement, averaged across several students, from my online data visualization college course.

 

If you look closely, you’ll notice that about 80 seconds in, there a huge drop in student engagement. This diagnostic information is extremely valuable, tipping a teacher off to a major problem with part of this lesson.

 

I concluded by driving home the message that emotuit’s software allows instructors to dramatically improve the quality of their lessons, leading to improved student outcomes and happier teachers and college administrators!

-Dr. Roger Taylor