Working to keep track of students that need accommodations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Utah State University has created a COVID Dashboard inside its Canvas learning management system. The dashboard allows faculty to quickly see all students in their classes that need accommodations due to quarantine or isolation requirements.
“This system allows faculty, in real time, to see any students in their course who is currently in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19,” said David Pruden, Co-Chair of USU’s COVID CARE Team. “It gives them the start date of when the student first went into quarantine and an anticipated end date so they know when the student might be returning to class.”
Prior to the dashboard being created, the COVID CARE team would inform faculty through emails of a student’s need to quarantine or isolate. However, with faculty having multiple classes, some of which could have 100 students or more, it was getting difficult for faculty to keep track of which students needed accommodations and for how long. Now, faculty can have the information all in one place.
“The dashboard has simplified the tracking of accommodations for faculty, who in the past had to deal with multiple emails,” said Kevin Reeve, Teaching and Learning Technologies Director. “They can now see all the students in their class who need an accommodation, and those who are able to return to class.”
The COVID dashboard is only accessible to faculty and only applies to classes with a face-to-face component. Now, instead of keeping track of students, faculty have one place to go, and can focus instead on meeting the needs of students while they are unable to attend class in person, whatever the specific need may be.
“The dashboard gives faculty members more time to focus on how they can help students that need accommodations, instead of spending time tracking students through emails and their own spreadsheets,” said Ludovic Attiogbe, Teaching and Learning Technologies Programmer Analyst.
Hearing about this need from multiple faculty, Pruden jumped into action, working with Reeve and Attiogbe to find a solution to the problem. Pruden defined the requirements for the project and the Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT) team worked to create the solution.
“We shared the concerns with them, and they came up with the idea for placing the dashboard in Canvas,” Pruden said of working with the TLT. “Their programmers worked through all the technical things that needed to happen. They took over and quickly created this system. Within a few weeks, they went from the general idea to have a fully functioning system.”
Students are placed in the dashboard automatically once the university learns of a positive COVID-19 test or close contact, whether through its COVID questionnaire or from the USU testing sites. In the end, the dashboard is in place for one purpose, to help students attend their classes and have as little disruption to their education as possible.
“We want to make sure that students are able to participate as much as possible in all of their classes throughout their quarantine or isolation period,” Pruden said. “It helps the faculty know who it is they need to be providing those additional resources to and for how long.”