How does PLATO Courseware report Time on Task and Time in System?
Both Time on Task and Time in System usually appear in hours:minutes format. Reports that show three numbers for Time on Task/System are in hours:minutes:seconds format.
Time on Task
Time on Task is time spent by a Learner working in online lessons (tutorial, application, mastery test, assessment, etc.). Time on Task calculates activity in our content based on when the user launches a piece of content until they exit that content or become inactive. The end time reflects the last time the user took an action in the content (e.g. completing/exiting the activity, advancing to a new slide or item, or in the case of some of our legacy content, explicitly confirming they’re still working). It is usually reported on a particular learning path.
Note: If two learning paths share some of the same activities, the Time on Task will be reflected in both learning paths.
Below are PLATO Courseware reports that display Time on Task:
- Course Module Mastery Report
- Graphic Learner Progress
- Learner Progress
- Resource Usage (cumulative for all Learners)
Time in System
Time in System measures the amount of time between logging in and logging off the platform. If the user becomes inactive for 2 hours, the system will log them out and we use their last known activity in the platform as an end point. For example, if the user is working in a lesson and walks away without exiting or logging out, the end time will reflect the last time they advanced in the lesson.
Below are PLATO Courseware reports that display Time in System:
- Learner Progress Report
Time on Task for Flash and Shockwave Content Only
- To accommodate the need to know whether a learner is still working on content in some of our older content, a dialog box will pop up every 15 minutes, with 5 minutes response time that allows us to record the learner’s time on task based on them telling us they are still working. If they do not click on the dialog box, we will close their session and record their time on task from that point
- This dialog box has only been added to courses utilizing the Flash and Shockwave Player
- The dialog box will show up every 15 minutes, whether the student is answering questions or not.
- If the learner clicks “Yes” on the dialog box then the server will record that the student is still active and restart the 15 minute timer.
- If the learner does not click “Yes” within 5 minutes, we send a Lesson Termination message, and redirect the learner back to their assignments page (NOT logged out)
- If a learner launches courseware that utilizes Flash or Shockwave Players and walks away (leaving the browser open with no network issues), about 20 minutes of TOT will be recorded (the 15 minutes waiting for the dialog to show up + the 5 minutes for the dialog to time out)
- If a learner launches courseware that utilizes Flash or Shockwave Players, works for 14 minutes (without seeing dialog), and then loses network connection and gives up, 0 minutes of TOT will be recorded
- If a learner launches courseware that utilizes Flash or Shockwave Players, works for 15 minutes (and gets the activity dialog), clicks “Yes” on the dialog, then walks away (leaving browser open with no network issues), about 35 min of TOT will be recorded (the first 15 + 15 more for the dialog to show up a second time + the 5 waiting for the dialog to time out)
- If a learner launches courseware that utilizes Flash or Shockwave Players, works for 15 minutes (and gets the activity dialog), clicks “Yes” on the dialog, and then loses network connection and gives up, about 15 minutes of TOT will be recorded
Time on Task for HTML content
The end time will reflect the last time a student interacts with the curriculum (i.e. advancing to the next slide), regardless of how the session is terminated. For example, if the student is working in an activity and walks away without exiting or logging out, the end time will reflect the last time they advanced in the activity.
- Time on task will now reflect the time a student is actively working with Plato curriculum.
The time will reflect the last time a student interacts with the curriculum, regardless of how the session is terminated.
This update will work with all updated curriculum built in HTML5 and in the new player. For legacy flash content, this update will work differently. Every 15 minutes the learner will receive a pop-up asking if they are still there. The learner will have 5 minutes to confirm they are still working on the assignment. If they do not click yes, the state will be saved and it will be exited.
Time on Task is based on an active lesson session (tutorials, mastery tests, etc…). If you are validly logged into Plato (as described above) you are able to begin a valid session to record Time on Task by launching a lesson (I’ll use a tutorial as the example). Once anything breaks (or interrupts) the validity of the session, the session ends and Time on Task stops being recorded. This can happen in several ways:
- The user clicks the “exit” button on the tutorial. This is the preferred and most common way to end a lesson session.
- Launching another activity simultaneously (e.g. opening a tutorial to find answers to a mastery test you currently have open). This can be within the same browser or with another browser or on the same or different computers. The rule is that only one lesson can be open at one time for the same user. Plato secures the integrity of the content by preventing the student from having more than one lesson opened at a time.
- Abruptly closing the browser window.
- Losing internet connection.
- Leaving the lesson open for more than 2 hours. This is very important to understand. Regardless of mouse clicking or moving from page-to-page, the absolute time limit in a lesson is always 2 hours. No amount of “activity” will extend that time. If a student does not complete the lesson within the 2 hour limit, all work on that lesson will be lost and Time on Task will be recorded as 2 hours. This rule applies to all student-launched activities, including tutorials, mastery tests, and all assessments (Pre-, Post, End of Semester, and Test Packs).
The best way to accurately record TiS and ToT is to follow this simple formula:
- Open one browser window.
- Login to Plato.
- Launch a lesson.
- Exit the lesson when you have reached the end and before 2 hours have passed.
- Loop through steps 3-5 until you are done working.
- Sign out of Plato.
- Close your browser window.
Here is your cheat sheet:
- In Plato, without running lessons, Time in System ends after 1 hour of inactivity.
- When running lessons, Time on Task ends after 2 hours, regardless of activity.
- Ending your session gracefully is the best way to accurately record any of these times.
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