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Teacher develops a software to identify mental distress of students

Shared by sara.di.fabio@p... on 2020-03-23 14:13

About the solution

Students’ welfare is endangered because of stress and struggles related to financial issues or the workload of their courses mixed with jobs or extra-curricula activities. After a student at the University of Manchester’s School of Physics and Astronomy committed suicide, Dr Andrew Markwick, came up with StudentCRT, a system that allows lecturers and other university staff to view and amend different data on the students that related to their wellbeing.

The system is meant to analyse some of the signs that may show a student is at risk. For instance, non-attendance, a drop in grades or failure to submit work. Indeed, these problems viewed in isolation across several different classes can be easily missed, but together they can paint a picture of a student who is struggling with classes or is going through something in his/her personal life.

The StudentCRT allows to see data in real-time and update it. The system maintains a score for each student, the score is then used to identify ‘at risk’ students who can then be followed by personal tutors and welfare officers. “It’s about identifying those students and having a conversation with them as soon as possible,” Dr Markwick says.

“My area of expertise isn’t in mental health or wellbeing but I felt I could help in other ways use my own skillset. So I decided to look at the way we use student data and figure out a better way to utilise it so we can identify at risk individuals before things escalate,” Dr Marwick said.

The initial trial in the School of Physics and Astronomy was very successful. Geraldine Garrabet, Student Support Officer said: “We’re now able to identify students we need to follow-up personally almost as soon as problems start to manifest themselves.”

The software reached the final of Pitch@Palace competition, founded by The Duke of York. In 2018, Dr Markwick launched a start-up company, Third Floor Systems, supported by the University’s innovation company UMI, with the aim of making the product available also to other universities.

There is potential to adapt the software also to large organisations.

Adapted from: https://www.computerweekly.com/feature/Universities-use-data-analytics-t...

More information: https://thirdfloor.ltd/

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About the author

Dr Andrew Marwick, from the UK, is a lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester. He developed the StudentCRT software after a student from his university committed suicide because he believes data collected by the university can help students in coping with stress and improving their wellbeing.

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