A Course Performance Mapping App (2015-2016)

A common concern in education is the ability to effectively monitor student progress both within a learning unit and across a semester. Many students struggle to connect their numerical score on an assessment with their progress on course learning objectives. This issue is compounded when subsequent course objectives require the mastery of earlier concepts.

A customizable visual representation of student progress on each objective enables students to better understand their overall performance in a course. In 2014-2015 a Bass Connections team developed a course performance mapping application, called FlowGhost, that enables both students and faculty to monitor, assess and understand individual progress on course learning objectives through an interactive, visual interface. The development of this app began as a semester-long project in Fall 2013 (COMPSCI 408 – Delivering Software), continued as a Bass Connections team in Spring and Fall 2014, and culminated in the production of a basic prototype. During Fall 2014, the team incorporated valuable feedback from the Groundworks Labs Accelerator Program, the Durham Big Pitch Competition and the 2015 Duke Startup Challenge. The app was beta tested in the Spring 2015 courses of seven Duke faculty members.

The 2015-2016 team continued to develop the software by incorporating feedback from the Spring beta test, improved the user interfaces for both students and faculty and finalized the product in preparation for taking it to market. 

The final stage of development utilized the skills of an interdisciplinary team with experience in computer science, psychology, visual studies and educational practice. Team members had weekly meetings that led to the inclusion of FlowGhost in UNC Learning Technology Commons, making the app accessible to 220,000 learners across the University of North Carolina system, and a collaboration with Learn Trials to make the app accessible to broader K-20 market.

The team evaluated the efficacy of FlowGhost in an IRB-approved, controlled trial involving 185 undergraduate students in Chemistry 101 and Statistics 101 at Duke. Team members strengthened the product through this process of iterative feedback and presented the app at national meetings in the academic and entrepreneurial sectors.

FlowGhost was presented at the SXSWedu Ed Tech meeting in Austin; to Google’s Education Team in New York; at the Global Silicon Valley/Arizona State University Education Innovation Summit in San Diego; and at the Annual Learning Analytics Society Annual Meeting in Edinburgh.


Fall 2015 – Spring 2016

Team Outcomes

Duke Start-up Challenge Student Competition: Honorable Mention (FlowGhost)

Inclusion in UNC Learning Technology Commons

Presentation at SXSWedu Ed Tech, Austin, TX, March 7-10, 2016

Discussion with Google’s Education Team, New York, NY, March 16, 2016

EHDx Talks (presentation by Megan Bader and Sharon Peng), Nasher Museum of Art, April 13, 2016

Presentation at Global Silicon Valley/Arizona State University Education Innovation Summit, San Diego, CA, April 18-20, 2016

Presentation at Annual Learning Analytics Society Annual Meeting, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 26-29, 2016

See earlier related team, An Innovative App to Enhance Course Performance (2014-2015).

Team Leaders

  • Nicholas Carnes, Sanford School of Public Policy
  • Craig Roberts, Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Megan Bader, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Jesse Hu, Computer Science (BS)
  • Sharon Peng, Statistical Science (BS)