Three Tools for Learning Analytics

As teachers it would be great to be able to predict as early as possible, which students are going to require more support, to get accurate feedback on what a cohort has grasped and to adapt teaching to better meet individual students’ needs. The user information gained from systems such as Canvas and Panopto can provide an insight into answering these questions. Use of student data in education is often given the title Learning Analytics.

In this post, I’ll explore three sources of learning data available to teaching staff at the University of Sussex.

  1. Canvas Analytics Beta 
  2. Canvas Quizzes
  3. Panopto

Canvas Analytics Beta

Note: Access to Canvas Analytics Beta has been temporarily suspended prior to it’s official release on 19th October.

As is clear from its name, Canvas Analytics Beta is still relatively early in its development, however, while limited, this tool can still provide some useful information for teaching staff. 

You can add the analytics tool to your module by going to Settings > Navigation, then dragging Analytics Beta up into your module navigation (it will not be visible to students). 

The tool has two main views: Course Grade which provides data on activities such as quizzes or assignments, which are linked to the grade book and Weekly Online Activity which gives more general data on views of pages and resources. Options to filter and drill down into this data are not currently available. You can, however, download the data for analysis in software such as Excel.

A line chart showing the average page views for a Canvas module during the course of a two month period.
A graph showing weekly activity on a Canvas module

At present, most may find the latter view most useful, giving you a quick idea of how much activity there is on a module. 

Scroll down to the table below and you can quickly get an idea of who is actively viewing course information (and who is not).

The Course Grades view for most will show only one or two contributory assignments so may be of limited value. If you incorporate additional, formative online activities, spaced throughout the term which feed into the gradebook, this can become more useful.

This brings us neatly onto our next topic.

Canvas Quizzes

Quizzes can be a really useful way to check student progress throughout a module. The quiz tool in Canvas provides teaching staff with rich information on student responses. You can read more about how to use quizzes in our previous post: Canvas highlights 1: Quizzes and in the Canvas guide to quizzes

You can access response data by clicking through to a quiz. A link to Quiz Statistics can be found under ‘related items’ in the top right corner of the screen. Here Canvas provides a summary of scores for each quiz and a breakdown by question. Using this it is easy to identify areas of concern for a post-lecture revision quiz.

The discrimination index listed by each question helps to highlight questions which draw different responses from those who score highly overall to those with lower scores. A low discrimination index on a question that many students get wrong could indicate a gap in the teaching (or an error in the question).  

For individual student responses select the link to Moderate this quiz. There you can review each student’s responses, though this is listed by candidate number so you won’t be able to identify individuals by name.

Panopto

Our new media platform provides rich data on student engagement with videos. This can be either per video or aggregated for all video in a module.

Creators can access the Panopto statistics dashboard from a module by selecting Panopto Recordings from the navigation menu. Module folder statistics can be found via the bar chart icon, top right. Alternatively, hover over an individual video and select Stats to view the data for your chosen video. This will show how many views there have been by date and how much of the videos students have watched.

A neat feature of Panopto is the ability to search by keyword and skip to a specific point in a video. Usefully, the stats dashboard includes a chart which shows which parts of a video students have viewed. This may help to indicate if students have missed important information.

Bar chart showing number of views of a Panopto video by date, followed by a second line chart showing how the number of views/viewers varies during the course of the video.
Statistics in Panopto. See how often and which parts of your videos students are watching. 

Find out more

This is just a short introduction to some of the tools available. We’d be interested to hear how you are using data in Canvas and other online tools to improve your teaching. If you are interested in learning more about these tools please do get in touch with us at tel@sussex.ac.uk.

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Posted in Canvas, Learning Design

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We are the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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