The following chart is from a population of over 91,000 undergraduate university students studying via an LMS over a five year period. It shows the average hits on course sites for each grade for students whose teaching staff did and did not contribute to course discussion forums. The participation rate is higher and failure rate is 5% lower for courses where the teaching staff participated in course discussion forums. The limitations of this sort of de-contextualized data are well published and prevent the establishment of a causal relationship. However the distinct correlation is for me a very interesting indicator and is worthy of more investigation. In particular, I’m wondering if this can be linked to engagement and subsequently retention and attrition?