Change the world

Teaching & Learning

10/02/2018

Dr Lynn Biggs, a lecturer in Mercantile Law, along with Mr Gary Richards, and in partnership with Ms Dierdre Els from ICT Services have been managing an innovative project in the Faculty of Law named RADAR.

The RADAR system was designed to monitor student marks so as to determine students who may need additional assistance or support in order to succeed academically.   

Dr Biggs shared that in 2014, the Faculty of Law applied for funding from the Teaching Development & Innovative Fund (TDIF) to commence a project for the development of a database management system in preparation for an early detection system. Dr Biggs shares that the Faculty was granted the funding and commenced with the initial stages of the project and the development of a central database management system commenced in earnest and the RADAR system was created. The RADAR system was subsequently shifted to the Siyaphumelela Project funded externally through the Kresge Foundation, which focuses on building student success through data analytics. 

Dr Biggs explains that RADAR is a comprehensive electronic analytical system for monitoring, tracking, managing and reporting on student performance, inspired by the team recognising the need to improve the rate of and enhance student success. She says, “RADAR was designed in consultation with academics, IT experts, institutional researchers, academic managers, student counsellors, and the staff responsible for academic and teaching development to improve the rate of and enhance student success.” She explains that the system’s function is to identify students who require development as soon as possible.  RADAR as explained by Dr Biggs seeks to monitor students’ academic performance and progress, flagging and tracking of students requiring development, development of trends amongst key performance indicators (KPIs), and timely identification of initiatives to provide support and developmental opportunities to students.

The Law Faculty in Partnership with the Faculty of Engineering has taken strident steps in achieving these goals, by opening up a vacancy for two individuals to join the RADAR team as of 2018, as Academic Advisors to launch the project, as explained by Dr Lynn Biggs.

The project is seen as innovative in that the system has brought together all disparate data sets, processes and initiatives into a comprehensive system and data set that provides meaningful and useful information in support of enhancing student success. 

RADAR seeks to enhance the learning of the student through creating this platform which allows the system to look at, in particular, test, practical and assignment marks instead of examination mark to identify students who require development as early in their academic careers as possible.