A 12 month pilot of the JanetText text messaging system was run to enable student feedback for the Master in Brain Science, which started in Otcober 2013. The course was run with up to 20 student and 2 lecturers. The aim of the pilot was to establish whether students responded positively to receving reminders for assessments and prompts for lecture feedback on a regular basis during term time.
In order to establish the number of outgoing text credits required it was determined that the staff would text students at least once per week (and up to 3 times per week) for up to 44 weeks of the year
- 44 weeks X 20 students X 3 texts = 2640 messages
Lecturers: Andrew McQuillin and Jacquivan der Spuy
Evaluation assistance: Vicky Dale
Technical assistance: Jessica Gramp
Questions to ask students before & after the pilot:
Nb. Change the questions to a scale grade in attitudinal survey to see changes over time.
JanetTxt was strongly recommend by Jessica Gramp in E-Learning Environments, who provided technical assistance during the planning and testing phase of the project. JanetTxt is JISC approved (hence we don't need to concern ourselves with data retention issues) and is a much cheaper when we look at rolling this out across UCL. It comes in slightly more expensive than TextWall for the trial, but by a minimal amount. JanetTxt have an email submission option (for those students who don't want to SMS), which is nicer than TextWall, because it pushes the email to them rather than students having to access the system independently.
TextWall was another cost effective solution.TextWall allows students to use a web form as an alternative to texting, so ensures all students can contribute. The downside is that TextWall requires the student to go to the website themselves, so the reminder aspect would need to be done manually. JanetTxt lets you text and email in a single step/interface.
Frontline SMS is a free text messaging platform that was in development at the time of this trial, and did not have all the necessary functionality to ensure students without access to a mobile phone were not disadvantaged. It is a very intuitive system that is worth revisiting in future as it matures. At the time of the trial it was discounted as it was important to provide an email (or other) alterrnative for students to recieve and respond to messages in the case of a student having temporary mobile phone access issues due to lack of text credit, a flat phone battery or a student deciding not to provide a mobile phone number.
If we want an online form/email option for the other systems (we need it to be inclusive, so yes we need this) I believe we would need to pay a developer to implement a system using the relevant API.
2013 pricing based on - 20 students - sending 2-3 outgoing texts per week [NOW OUT OF DATE]
The recommended system for this project was Janet Txt and it met the requirements for this project. It is now available to other departments who can purchase text credits to use it locally
It seems Poll Anywhere only receives incoming texts, which is not what we want, as we want to prompt students to send their feedback.
"2 way communication that's quick, to the person, to the point, secure and cost effective."
The pay for option from Blackboard:
Used to be called TxtTools
Application licence – use for 44 week pilot project
Use of SOAP and XML API’s and Middleware software
Set up and customised organisation interface
3,000 message credits
Dedicated number for inbound/outbound messaging
Unlimited use of all tools – Connecttxt, Moodletxt, phone Apps, Twitter and RSS to SMS service
Unlimited support – email/phone and live help
Survey, voting and polling facility within connecttxt
Set-up and User Training
some txtfacts ;-o
- 2.5 times as many people use txt rather than email worldwide
- 3 billion users worldwide
- 98% of the UK population have a mobile phone capable of txt messaging
UCL now has a Janet Text account. Departments who would like to use it would need to set up a Master account (capable of creating child accounts) and purchase text credits to use the system.
Has a moodle plugin: http://www.pageonejanettxt.com/products/moodlemobile
The phone numbers appear, but no names, so this is a good anonymous option. There is also the ability to submit feedback from a website for those with no credit/mobile phone etc.
The software is free (with 5 free text credits to test it out).
Text credits cost up to 7p per text: https://www.intellisoftware.co.uk/sms-gateway/help/PopupSMSCreditPrices.aspx?Service=2 (5000 texts will be 5.5p each) - based on the UKDirect high reliability service
A free text code has a monthly cost attached, plus we’d pay between 5-7p per text students send (if they opt to use the freetext option) - we'd need this to ensure the system was accessible to all.