Lost minutes are not possible, even when the network goes down. It doesn't matter what kind of device a student uses to access Membean. If they log in, we track them. Membean maintains time stamps that begin when a student attempts to log in and only end when they complete the session or close the browser. A student cannot see another question or word page if the previous question or word page isn't registered with our database, so progress is impossible without time registration. This article explains some things to consider when a student claims that Membean lost their minutes.
Why You Can Trust Membean
Membean is meticulous when it comes to record keeping. All data is stored in multiple locations. We have redundant storage logs of training sessions, activity, and answers. In order for training to disappear, all of these things must have disappeared. That is highly unlikely.
Think of it like a bank transaction:
- Redundant Storage of Logs: Your bank sends you an email for each transaction, and you might even make a note in your checkbook.
- Storing Activity: You can get a statement at any time that lists all the transactions during a particular time frame.
- Storing Answers: The bank processes any withdrawals or deposits, and you can see the exact amount deducted or added.
Money can't just appear or disappear from your bank account. There is a clear record of everything that goes in or out. Membean stores student data in a similar way. Every "transaction" a student makes on Membean is time stamped and stored in multiple locations in real time. Every time the student hits "Next" or answers a question, that action pings our servers which then deliver the next item based on what the student needs (another question, a review word page, or a new word). If the student loses connectivity, they wouldn't be able to continue training, but everything leading up to the lost connection is safe because it was recorded as training occurred. Therefore, it's impossible to train without minutes being recorded.
Common Causes of "Missing Minutes"
Misreading the Dashboard: Students may not pay attention to dates and believe what you're seeing on your report is different from what they're seeing on their dashboard. If your student is sure that their training is not being recorded, you can have them show you their dashboard (but don't trust screenshots - click here to learn why!), or you can even sign in as the student to view their dashboard yourself. This will allow you to see exactly what your student sees.
Time Spent Outside the Trainer: While poking around the dashboard, reviewing words, or listening to a rootcast might be fun, it is not training. Sometimes students think that the time expectation just means time logged in to Membean, but training minutes are only counted while the student is actively in a training session.
Inactivity: A student may leave their computer or tab out in the middle of a session, thinking that they're gaining minutes without doing any work. Membean will close them out of their session after around 6 minutes of inactivity. These inactive minutes are not recorded, but all of the student's minutes up until they left the trainer to idle are preserved.
Wrong Account: Students sometimes create a new Membean account instead of logging on to their original one. This causes duplicate accounts, and the student may be training on the wrong one or even on both, causing their minutes to be split. If you suspect your student has a duplicate account, please contact email@example.com.
There is also the chance that if a student is using a shared device, they may have accidentally trained on the account of a sibling, friend, or classmate instead of their own. Unfortunately, there is no way to confirm this. If you suspect your student is training on their friend or sibling’s account, remind them to always make sure they are on their dashboard before they start training.
Dishonesty: As much as it pains us to say this, the electronic equivalent of the "dog ate my homework" is prevalent. We investigate a dozen spurious training claims per week. These reports are always at their most frequent when a school just starts using Membean and while students do not yet understand that we track every interaction on the site.
Not sure which category your student falls under? Here are some ways to investigate missing minutes.
Step 1: Check the Dates
The student dashboard defaults to the current training cycle, while your report defaults to the previous one. Sometimes it’s as simple as either the student or teacher looking at the wrong date range. Ask your student to check their date range, and check your report to be sure the dates match.
Step 2: Check the Activity Log
There are a few different things to look for on the student’s Activity Log. Learn how to View a Student’s Activity log here.
- See if the student logged in on the date in question. Does their activity log show that they merely logged in or that they started a training session? Logging in doesn't count as training. If they began a training session, it'll be marked. For example, below you can see exactly when the student visited their dashboard, started the training session, and stopped training gracefully (that means they clicked “I’m done” or fulfilled the time requirement). Every activity is marked with a timestamp.
- Look for a deleted training session. If you notice the activity lists a deleted training session, this means the student initiated a training session and then let the time run out. This happens when a student pokes around the first word page for a couple of minutes and then never clicks "Next." They think they have trained because they began a training session and looked at some word page features. But, having left the word page to idle, the trainer closes the session and marks it as deleted since no training actually occurred.
- Look for sessions that were started but never finished. If the Activity Log says a training session was started but there is no record of the student exiting gracefully or the session being deleted, it means the session was force closed. The student did some training, but they did not end the session by finishing their minutes or clicking “I’m done.” You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org confirm a session was force closed. There are a few reasons this will occur, but no matter what, the training completed beforehand is recorded. Here are the causes of a session being force closed:
- The student loses Internet connection. In this case, the student will simply be taken back to their dashboard where they can begin training again. Minutes are not impacted by connectivity issues.
The student closes out of the browser instead of selecting “I’m done.” Again, the minutes they spent training prior to closing out of the browser will not be impacted.
After doing some training, the student lets a word page idle for more than 6 minutes. If the student tries to return to training after about 6 minutes of inactivity, they will be taken back to the dashboard and notified that their session timed out. The minutes spent idling on the word page are not recorded. All minutes leading up to that word page were already recorded, so they are not impacted.
- Check for multiple visits to the dashboard. When a student spends time looking at their past training sessions or the words they have learned, they leave their dashboard and then return. This return to their dashboard is recorded in the Activity Log. This indicates that the student was logged in at the time, but was simply exploring instead of training.
Step 3: Check the Recent Activity Table
You can use the table at the top of the Activity Log to see if training with similar minutes appeared on a nearby date. For example, this student may be adamant that he trained for 15 minutes on September 6th, but with a quick glance at the recent training he will realize it was actually the 5th.