Measuring student engagement with the Microsoft Power Platform

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We’re working closely with organisations on the front line of the COVID19 crisis and we are seeing universities coming to us with an immediate need for cloud solutions to enable them to respond to the evolving situation using custom apps and automated solutions to support remote workers and engage with students in need.

With this in mind, Microsoft are making Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Apps portals and Power Virtual Agents available free for six-months, which includes all premium capabilities for the education sector.

We surveyed our Higher Education customers about the challenges they are facing right now and one thing that stood out was how to make sure students are engaging with university services while working remotely. So we’ve been busy developing a solution to help universities track student engagement effectively.

How does it work?

As many universities are turning to Microsoft technology for distance learning, Microsoft Teams for Education has proven to be a useful data source for gaining insights on student engagement during this time.

Microsoft Teams produces weekly or monthly activity reports which shows how many calls, messages, lectures and meetings users have participated in over that time period. Teams provides a lot of useful information that indicates how a student has been engaging.

Although this activity data does not tell us anything about a user’s identity, it can be enriched with Azure AD data, meaning it can be matched with data from 3rd party systems which hold student records.

So how can we utilise this data to give us insights into student engagement during Covid-19? Enter the Microsoft Power Platform.

The Power Platform is a suite of tools, which includes Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, all of which sit on a Common Data Service (CDS), a cloud scalable database used to securely store data for business applications.

Once we have all that data in the CDS, we are able to set thresholds to identify which students are falling below the desired engagement levels. Using Power Automate, this is then flagged in the system which automatically sends out an email to the student asking if they need help, whether that be financial, medical or related to their accommodation.

The student is asked to fill out a quick form to provide more information about their situation and what type of help they need. This is now an open task in the app which university support workers can track and update when required.

We can even take this one step further by building a chatbot infused with AI that can understand a student’s intent when using the bot. Again, once this is identified, a task will automatically be raised in the app.

All this data can be visualised in a Power BI dashboard, using filters to identify which students are most at risk.

What are the benefits?

At times like these, we know your student are your top priority and more important than ever to tune into their needs and ensure they are still getting the best learning experience, even from home.

A solution built using the Power Platform tools such as this one helps to identify and support students who are most in need at this time. Not only that, it provides universities with insights into student engagement, including how they want to be engaged with.

Watch the video to learn more about the solution and see it in action. And if you still can’t get enough of Power Apps, head to our hub for everything you need to know.