Plain Language Statement

Introduction to the Research Study

Insight Centre for Data Analytics along with the School of Nursing and Human Sciences are conducting a study on predicting student success in a module based on Moodle/Loop interaction. This study is part funded by the Learning Innovation Unit and is supported by Student Support Services. You may remember hearing of this as part of your first year orientation and your module has been chosen to take part.

What does the study involve?

Moodle/Loop is a Virtual Learning Environment that lecturers and students use in order to communicate, upload and download material. Throughout this study patterns of Moodle/Loop use for this module by students each week will be used to predict success in the module. Insight data analytics are working to create as accurate a prediction of success as possible by using data from Moodle/Loop as well as some basic demographic information such as age, nationality, sex, and address. Each week, you will receive an email with a graph indicating whether or not your Moodle/Loop engagement is in line with what our data predicts is required for you to lead to successful completion of the module. It will be also be possible for you to see where you lie relative to your classmates. However, this will be anonymous and it will not be possible for you to identify other or for them to identify you.

Is this a requirement for this module?

No. We are gathering information about how students complete everyday module exercises and you need to do these tasks as part of the module anyway. However, we are asking you to take part in this study by letting us use your data to inform teaching practices and for research purposes, and perhaps publication in the future. This is above the requirements for the course and you are under no obligation to do so. If you do not wish to allow us to use your data for predicting then indicate this on the consent form that you will be asked to complete following reading this Plain Language Statement.

Are there any risks anticipated

It is not anticipated that taking part will pose a large risk. We will measure your use of Moodle/Loop throughout the semester and give you feedback about this. This feedback/prediction is not a grade, just our best guess. It doesn’t mean anything except perhaps a warning to you that you may not be doing enough. The predictions are not perfect, some will be wrong, and indeed the way you access Moodle/Loop may not even correlate with how you will do in the exams, but if you are concerned there are support mechanisms in place in student services and through your lecturer to help you.

 Are there any benefits to me in taking part?

The predictions that we are making as accurate as possible however, they are not exact and factors other than Moodle/Loop activity contribute to your success in a given module. However, it should give you an indication to you that you may need to increase your Moodle/Loop activity generally. An indirect benefit to you is that participation in this study may increase our knowledge of how best to help students like you complete their modules successfully in the future.

What will happen to my data?

The data on Moodle/Loop activity is collected by ISS and analysed by the Data Analytics Team in in Insight Centre for Data Analytics. This analysis allows identification of at-risk students by Moodle/Loop engagement levels. This data will be used to form a usage report which will be emailed to you weekly. Being a user of the Moodle/Loop system, you have already agreed to allow ISS the rights to your Moodle/Loop usage data.

Do I have to take part?

No. You are under no obligation to sign the consent form indicating that you want to take part in this study. Simply indicate that you do not wish to participate and we will not include you in the project. You do not have to give a reason.

What happens if I don’t take part?

There will be no penalties if you decide not to take part. This will not affect your on-going university life.


Participant confidentiality will be protected to the extent permitted by laws & regulations. While it is not anticipated that any concerns could arise from participation is the study the procedures set out by the university will be followed under any such instance. All information collected in this study will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Participant data will be fully anonymised in any publication. We ensure proper safeguards so that participation is confidential and data are securely stored and protected. This study will be run with the approval of DCU Research Ethics Committee (DCUREC/2014/xxx). In accordance with standard research data management practices data belonging to you will be securely retained for 5 years after the study is completed. 

What do I do if I have any questions about this?

Please contact one of the Investigators. Their contact details are below.

Contact details.

If you have any queries please contact:


If participants have concerns about this study and wish to contact an independent person, please contact:



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