How Learning Analytics can aid your teaching

Do you know which sections of your teaching content students are engaging with the most, (and perhaps perceive as the most valuable) and conversely, which are often neglected? Do students return to specific pages or even particular sections of a recording when they start revising for an exam? How can tracking weekly online participation and average course grade analytics help tailor the way you structure and deliver effective online teaching resources? This blog will take you through the benefits of using learning analytics.

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) like Canvas produce a huge amount of usage data on a daily basis, like a digital footprint. This data often goes overlooked despite its potential to allow greater insights into how your teaching materials are currently used by students to foster their learning. Canvas has an integrated tool called New Analytics which provides an overview of grade distribution, class activity, participation and individual student analytics. 

Why is using course analytics important?

Learner activity can be gleaned from students’ interactions with the module based upon clicking through content and links. There have been multiple studies that show the total number of hits or views on a VLE was one of the strongest predictors of student success. This case study from the University of Maryland found that ‘students who obtained a D or F grade had been using the VLE on average 40% less than students with C grades or higher’ and this figure remained constant year on year.

Therefore, looking at online interaction data could help identify ways of improving engagement through the materials that we produce and help predict student outcomes. In essence, learning analytics can:

  • Help you evaluate the effectiveness of different teaching methods and content.
  • Allow you to easily view average grade and distribution of marks for any Turnitin, Canvas Online assignment or Canvas quizzes (including formative assessments) and see how students are progressing throughout the term.
  • Provide data that indicates which students stop engaging, could be at-risk and need additional support.

How to access course analytics

To access the engagement data for your module, click on ‘New Analytics’ which will appear on the right-hand side of a module’s homepage. The data presented in the New Analytics reports are refreshed every 24 hours and are based on active/completed student enrolments. The dashboard is useful for showing data based on recent activity, but you can download data for a longer period. New Analytics is currently only available for staff to view, students do not have access to this feature.

What does the Learning Analytics dashboard show me?

The data that is pulled from your Canvas module is presented in four main sections namely, ‘Module Grades’, ‘Weekly Online Activity’, ‘Students’ and ‘Reports’.

Module Grade:  

The information in the graph below shows overall marks for any assignments or quizzes that have a grade outcome. The dots in blue indicate assignments that have been graded and appear in order of due date. Clicking on each individual assignment will show an overview of average, lowest and highest grade and the number of missing and late submissions. You can filter the results based on sections, assignments or individual students. There is also the option to message groups of students dependent on specific criteria, for example, who received a 2:1.

It is important to note that Canvas doesn’t apply penalties (this happens in Sussex Direct), therefore the grades in this graph won’t be reflective of any marks deducted for lateness. Accessing this data can be incredibly useful to see how students’ grades are progressing across various assignments e.g., formative weekly quizzes or contributory submissions.

Graphical display of module grades

Weekly Online Activity

This data is displayed as a graph (or a table if preferred), that presents the average number of page views and average participation of module resources on a weekly basis (across all devices including the Canvas mobile app). Once again you can filter the data by sections or individual students. Additionally, there is the same option to message students en masse who viewed / didn’t view or participated / didn’t participate on any of the resources on the module. This feature is helpful to use as a reminder or check-in with specific students for a more personalised approach.

Graphical display of average page views/participation on a weekly basis

One of the most effective ways to use the analytics tool is assessing how students are engaging with your teaching resources. At the bottom of the ‘Weekly Online Activity’ tab, all your teaching materials (except Panopto recordings) are listed e.g., individual module pages, assessments, discussions and files. For each specific resource you can see how many students have viewed the content, the number of page views overall (e.g., repeat visits to a page) and the number of participations (on discussions, quizzes etc). The teaching materials are listed from the most engaged with to the least, which gives you a fantastic overview of which resources are the most popular amongst your students. There are limitations of course, the statistics can’t tell us more than whether a link has been clicked on, it won’t tell us if the student read the content fully or the amount of time users spent on each resource.

Table listing module resources against students, page views and participations


The students tab provides an overview of individual student engagement data including overall grade, % of on-time assignments, date of last participation, date of last page view, overall number of page views and number of participations. This data can be used alongside attendance records etc. to track to what extent students are engaging and can be very useful to predict student outcomes.


The reports tab contains several queries you can run, including missing assignments, late assignments, excused assignments, class roster and module activity. From here you can download a csv of the overall raw data, but you can also download filtered data from any of the other tabs.

Panopto Recordings Analytics

Panopto is third party software that is integrated into Canvas, although it is not included within New Analytics, you can view analytics on any recordings you have created. To do so, simply click on the ‘Panopto Recordings’ tab on your Canvas module and click on the graph icon that will display folder statistics. This provides a summary of the overall views and downloads of all recordings within the subfolder, presented on a weekly basis. The statistics for the top five recordings are shown and this can be expanded to see all recordings based on popularity (number of views and downloads). You can also view statistics for an individual recording by opening a Panopto recording and clicking on ‘stats’ at the top right.

Graphs and charts presenting Panopto views and downloads data

Unique viewers relate to the number of individual students who viewed the recording and the number of minutes they watched the video (to gauge their overall engagement). You can hover over an individual video for the detailed statistics, e.g., you can see when people are accessing a video over time and which parts of the video students are watching. Students generally start at the beginning but might skip through to relevant parts or taper off towards the end e.g. if they mean to come back to the recording at a later date. Students can search through videos using the captions for keywords or scrolling,  therefore this analysis can help us understand what sections are perceived as most useful when targeting content for revision etc.

Graph of viewer engagement.

The Future of Learning Analytics

This blog provided an overview of learning analytics tools currently available at your disposal within Canvas and Panopto. Predictive modelling of student outcomes based on VLE data has been an emerging trend in learning analytics, along with the potential for personalised / adaptive learning through the integration of AI-powered tools. It is clear that as content becomes progressively more digital there will be an increase in the value of educational activity data to analyse learning.

Useful resources and further guidance

If you would like to discuss the use of Learning Analytics in your teaching, please contact   

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Posted in Canvas, Panopto

Feedback templates: designing flexible rubrics and grading forms

During the summer of 2020 the University of Sussex Business School worked with a team of student connectors to co-create a series of new marking criteria for each level of study. The project sought to ensure quality and provide consistency, using wording that was accessible to students. You can read more about the project in our past post – Co-created marking criteria.

USBS marking criteria video

The Business School has since run an additional connector project which aimed to understand how to provide a framework to improve feedback consistency and usefulness within the School. The student connectors analysed a range of real, anonymised, feedback that they and other students had received and decided upon the following ingredients of good feedback:

  • Be honest – use an appropriate language and tone (kindness)
  • Be specific – keep it focused, refer to the School’s generic marking criteria
  • Be personal – focus on the student’s work
  • Be timely – a different discussion but may be supported by more focused feedback
  • Show areas for improvement – feedforward
  • Be accessible

In order to support staff in using the new marking criteria and to put into place the ingredients of good feedback identified by students, Technology Enhanced Learning created a series of feedback templates for the school in the form of rubrics and grading forms. Markers are able to select either a rubric or grading form (you can read more about rubrics and grading forms in our post Rubrics and you) for assessments marked in both Turnitin and Canvas SpeedGrader. Once they have selected the type of template they would like to use, staff can then download the correct version for the level of their module and upload it and attach it to their assessment. Staff also have the option to edit each template in order to adapt it to their specific assessment, for example by removing the ‘Teamwork’ criteria if there is no group work element or by providing additional contextual information. 

For assessments that are submitted to and marked in Turnitin we have also created a series of QuickMarks. These are a set of saved comments which can be shared with staff and then used to annotate students’ submissions during marking. As with the rubrics and grading forms, these comments can be edited to provide further contextual information and personalise them for the individual student. Again, we have created a set for levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 so that comments are tailored to the level of study and each set mirrors the information that is provided within the marking criteria. When downloading their rubric/grading form staff can download their chosen QuickMark set at the same time and make use of this while marking. This will help students to easily identify which comments relate to different elements of the marking criteria as they view their feedback.

QuickMarks aren’t yet available to use within Canvas SpeedGrader, however staff can make use of the Comment Library which allows you to save your own comments. This guide will tell you more about the Comment Library and show you how to save your comments – How do I use the Comment Library in SpeedGrader? Within the guidance for the Business School we have provided the text for the generic feedback criteria which can be copied and pasted into SpeedGrader to save as a template for providing feedback. Staff can also choose to save any comments that they find they use frequently.
If you are not in the Business School and would like to know more about how your School uses rubrics and grading forms then please contact your Director of Teaching and Learning or Curriculum and Assessment Officer. If you would like to discuss the use of rubrics, grading forms and QuickMarks in your teaching please contact

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Posted in feedback

4 Great tools for collaboration

Collaboration is an essential part of learning so, this blog post will explore four tools you can use at the University of Sussex to facilitate digital collaboration.

Office 365 suite

If you’ve ever used a computer then chances are pretty high that you’ve also used Microsoft’s suite of tools such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, but did you know it’s actually possible to collaborate with these range of tools? That means you can work on any of the tools as you normally would but you can work on them with others in real time.

This can be useful if you want to co-create slides, documents or spreadsheets. For teaching, you can create collaborative activities for your students within one of the tools.

Staff and students have full access to the Office 365 suite of tools, these can be accessed via the ITS website where you can also download the suite of tools.


Padlet is a tool that allows users to post to a shared space known as a wall which can be composed of text, images, video, audio, GPS mapping, links,drawn images and much more.Padlet also allows for organisation of content through a variety of different layouts.For example, you can have a wall that is organised by columns, meaning you could create a group activity by creating a column for each group and asking students to post their input and resources under the appropriate column heading. 

If you’re a member of teaching staff at the University then you can ask to be added to the institutional Padlet account by contacting TEL at and we have a self-study course to help you get started with Padlet.

Otherwise it’s possible to create a free Padlet account by registering on Padlet’s website this will give you access to the free version of Padlet which has some restrictions but is still very usable as a tool.

Canvas pages 

Canvas pages are what make up the bulk of most Canvas sites. As a teacher you may well have edited and created Canvas pages for use by learners, however you can use Canvas Pages in another way and that is by making them collaborative. Individual  pages that you designate can be made editable by any students enrolled on your Canvas site.

This can be great if you want to create a collaborative wiki or to allow students to co-design pieces of content on these pages. pages that students create can be seen by all the other students on the module so you can allow learners to continuously build pages together, adding in useful information and so allowing for the creation of resources or good examples. 

If you’d like to make a page editable by all students enrolled on a module you can do this by editing a page on Canvas and then under the Users allowed to edit this page option, select the dropdown box option Teachers and students

Google JamBoard 

A fantastic tool created by Google, JamBoard is essentially a collaborative whiteboard whichallows a large number of users to draw, write,add images, text and shapes to a shared collaborative space. 

JamBoard’s strength is its simplicity, it’s light on features but if you want to quickly have an activity that involves people brainstorming or doing some rough planning then it’s a great way to quickly gather and capture ideas. The small number of features also mean it’s easy to get to grips with.

You can access JamBoard at the Google JamBoard webpage, you’ll need to have a Google account to use Jamboard, but Sussex users can sign into Google using their Sussex credentials.

Further resources and support 

You can read more about digital tools for collaboration in these blog posts:

If you would like to discuss options for collaborative teaching and learning at Sussex please contact

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Posted in Learning Technologies

What is your problem? Apps that can help problem-based learning exercises

Willowbl00, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Interested to know more about the practices and theories behind problem-based learning (often shortened to its acronym PBL), the Active Learning Network set up a problem-based learning exploration hour last month which was attended by a number of educationalists across the UK. The idea was simply to pass forty-five minutes together and discuss PBL theory and how it could be applied in our individual contexts and disciplines.

Problem-based learning has been described as a pedagogical strategy that uses open ended problems that mirror real-world problems. The central idea is that the tutor introduces problems to which the students must suggest solutions that require them to engage in the topic content. Many advantages to student learning have been cited in cases where a PBL approach to teaching has been taken, such as increasing student engagement, motivating peer interactions and the acquisition of life-long learning skills. The approach can be made to work well in all disciplines if ground rules are set and agreement is reached with assessment boards, although the theory behind it emerged from medicine and has greatest uptake in applied disciplines, the sciences and business studies. 

Tools for PBL

There are many technologies that can make PBL more effective. In each case it will of course depend on the problem and discipline and what follows is by no means an exhaustive list.

Mindmapping tools

The nature of open-ended problems is that finding a solution requires planning. For many of us, mind-mapping tools are the first step in the planning process. They can help students connect the problem they have been asked to consider with concepts presented by the tutor and their own personal experiences and previous learning. They help provoke students to think out of the box and as a result bring out novel ideas. At Sussex staff and students have the mind mapping software, Mindview. If students are working in a team Coggle, Mindmeister, or even Padlet are also good apps. Last month we blogged on whiteboards which can often be used in the same way.

Note-taking tools

PBL often requires fieldwork where note-taking tools can be really useful. OneNote is a feature rich Microsoft product for note taking and portfolio building. Other note taking tools include Evernote, which is awesome, which specialises in voice notes and Google Keep, which is integrated with Google suite of apps. These applications allow you to share notes, but another favourite app is Mural which is another whiteboard app that can be used for group notes. 

Group working tools

PBL exercises are often done in groups. In Canvas you can set up Groups and the groups have areas where they can post announcements, have discussions with one another and share files. Sometimes tutors set up a Padlet wall within the group spaces for the students to use. Students can also use alternative tools to manage their groups and we have a Canvas site for students dedicated to the smooth running of study groups.

Challenges of using PBL in teaching 

When done well, PBL encompasses the entire curriculum design. It often requires rethinking of traditional learning objectives, the teaching methods and assessments of a module. This is challenging for module convenors when teaching on an existing module. The introduction of PBL needs to be thought about well in advance and the changes approved by the appropriate boards. PBL can be introduced on a small scale though, although unless done with care, students can resist doing PBL tasks which do not align with the learning objectives and/or assessments. 

If you would like to consider using innovative teaching approaches to your teaching such as PBL, please contact us at

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Posted in Learning Design, Learning Technologies

Canvas, Panopto and Padlet: what’s new?

The learning technologies that we use at the University of Sussex see a steady stream of updates as they respond to the needs of their users. We thought it would be useful to pull together all of the recent updates across the key learning technologies in use at Sussex in order to provide you with a summary of newly added features.


Canvas rolls out updates fortnightly. These can be anything from small tweaks to how content is displayed to the launching of new features or tools. One change coming soon is an update to the Equation Editor, which is used to add maths and science formulas, using LaTeX, to your module content. It sits within the Rich Content Editor, which is the editor you see whenever you are updating your Pages, Announcements, Discussions and Assignments in Canvas. The update aims to enhance the user experience and also makes sure that the Equation Editor will display well on a mobile device.

To access the Equation Editor first create a new Page, Announcement, Discussion or Assignment, or edit your existing content. Once you are in the Rich Content Editor you can open the Equation Editor by selecting Insert, then selecting Equation, or by clicking the Insert Math Equation icon.

Screenshot of Equation Editor in Rich Content Editor
Screenshot of Equation Editor in Rich Content Editor

This will prompt the Equation Editor to open. As you use the buttons to create your equation it will appear in the textbox below the buttons.

Screenshot of Equation Editor
Screenshot of Equation Editor

To learn more about the Equation Editor visit How do I use the Math Editor in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor? The new editor will be available to use from 19th March 2022.


Recently Panopto released a new way of copying your recordings to different folders. This may be useful for example when staff want to reuse any recordings in a new module site or share a recording across multiple modules. When creating a copy of a recording you will now be asked whether you would like to create a reference copy or a full copy. A reference copy is linked to the original recording’s streams, table of contents, captions, quizzes and any edits made to the timeline, so whenever you make a change in the original recording these updates will be reflected in any reference copies. When you choose to create a full copy a new, separate Panopto recording is created that allows you to modify any settings on the copied recording without affecting the original recording.

We advise making a reference copy of a recording first, you can then convert a reference copy to a full copy later on if this is needed. You can read more about reference and full copies under the heading ‘What’s the difference between a reference copy and a full copy?’ on our Managing Panopto Recordings page as well as in this Panopto support guide – Learn About Video Reference Copies.


Padlet has recently redesigned the way in which tweets are displayed in Padlet posts. This means that Padlet now displays a preview of the tweet directly in the post, showing you the text of the tweet, any images that have been included or link previews and the username of the Twitter account. This means it is now much quicker for users to view these posts as they no longer have to click through to access them. You can find out more about this update in Padlet’s recent blog post Better tweet previews.

A tweet posted to a padlet

You can keep up to date with Padlet’s updates by using the new ‘What’s New’ feature that appears on your Padlet Dashboard. To find out more about this see Padlet’s blog post “What’s new” feed. If you would like to learn more about Padlet please visit our Padlet support pages. Any staff who are new to using Padlet, or staff who would like a refresher, can enrol themselves on our Padlet for staff Canvas self-study module.

If you’d like to know more about the learning technologies listed here or the other tools that Technology Enhanced Learning support please contact

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Posted in Canvas, Learning Technologies

Multimedia enhanced teaching and learning: an update

Looking back on the last few years of the TEL blog, the topic of multimedia enhanced teaching and learning was amongst the top posts for viewer engagement, and we thought this topic deserved a refresh.  

What is multimedia enhanced teaching and learning?

Multimedia can be characterised by a combination of text, pictures, audio, video, graphics and animation (Phillips, 1997). Words can be spoken or read, pictures can be static or dynamic and even incorporate computer simulations e.g. virtual reality. Since the 1990s, the fields of educational and cognitive psychology have given concerted research effort that appears to show knowledge acquisition can be improved significantly when applying multimedia to learning (see Dunlosky and Rawson, 2019). Multimedia enhanced learning occurs when words and images are selected and organised into a coherent structure within a learner’s working memory and integrated with prior knowledge. To learn effectively, active processing must take place to organise the information and achieve understanding (Mayer, 2009). Therefore, unless active learning strategies are applied, simply adding infographics/video content will not necessarily result in a richer learning experience.

Flowchart showing how words and images are processed through working memory.
From Mayer, 2005, Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning.

Why use multimedia in teaching?

The benefits of multimedia enhanced teaching and learning are:

  •  It engages the learner in a more immersive environment. Selected content can be multi-sensory, interactive and dynamic, allowing better visualisation of theory and concept.
  • The use of a wide variety of media can help to vary and enhance the learning process and can therefore lead to better knowledge retention and a deeper level of understanding. 
  • The increased use of visual content and therefore visual processing (images, video and animations) can lead to improved problem solving and develop the ability to turn abstract concepts into applied knowledge.
  • Student attention, stimulation and motivation can be heightened which leads to greater engagement with the content.
  • It can help to present complex theories and a lot of information often with less effort and time than text-based alternatives.
  • As visualisation is a crucial part of memorisation, the use of multimedia in innovative and interactive ways can aid this process.

How to incorporate multimedia your teaching

Multimedia is everywhere and can easily be incorporated into your teaching. Below we have suggested various tools, activities and methods that can be used to successfully enhance student learning. 

Multimedia-based teaching tools

At TEL we are always encouraging the use of engaging teaching tools, and many of these have built-in functionality to allow a wide range of media.

  • Padlet allows a plethora of multimedia to be added to a shared wall which can help spark creativity of thinking and result in a dynamic study resource. See this ‘What’s new in Padlet’ for the latest developments.
  • Digital whiteboards help students build on each other’s learning and encourage interaction through activities such as building conceptual maps and annotating images.
  • OneNote is an infinite electronic notebook tool that is great for collaboration and brainstorming on shared notes like a collection of digital documents. Users can insert images, audio, video, documents or hyperlinks and use text or digital ink to annotate around them.
  • Sway is often advertised as a ‘digital storytelling’ tool and is best suited to creating visually appealing presentations, newsletters or lectures. It is intended to provide a more interactive experience than the traditional one-way lecture approach.
  • Immersive tools can include augmented and virtual reality and 360 degree video recordings. See examples of immersive technologies in education as food for thought.

Provide watching lists

We’re all very familiar with reading lists but what about watching lists? You can enhance a student’s learning by providing set watch-lists or incorporating short clips into seminar preparations. YouTube is an open source video platform that allows you to create and manage playlists and share these with others. The rich content editor on Canvas allows you to embed YouTube and TEdEd videos directly onto a page.

 Apply an active learning task to the content

There has been a lot of emphasis on the importance of active learning in recent years (see this recent blog on active reading strategies). Rather than simply providing students with different forms of content, give them a task to work through that keeps them actively engaged and helps them progress towards their learning outcomes. An in-class example would be a discussion followed by using the PollEverywhere survey tool to gauge opinions and engage in reflection. An example of a pre-sessional task would be a short multiple-choice Canvas quiz to test comprehension after watching a set video.

Audio or video feedback

Encourage students to engage more fully with their feedback by incorporating multimedia. In written feedback you can send students to relevant seminar recordings or directly to recorded lecture material through use of hyperlinks. Within Turnitin, the option to leave a voice recording is available in Feedback Studio. Canvas SpeedGrader gives you the option to record a media comment using either audio or video. You can start the recording directly in Canvas SpeedGrader using your device’s microphone and/or webcam, or upload an audio/video file.

Resources, guidance and support

The application of multimedia can be used as a vital instrument for transforming the traditional paradigm of teaching and learning. For more information on using multimedia to enhance teaching and learning, visit, e-mail, or contact the learning technologist or academic developer associated with your School.


  • Abdulrahaman, M. D., Faruk, N., Oloyede, A. A., Surajudeen-Bakinde, N. T., Olawoyin, L. A., Mejabi, O. V., Azeez, A. L. (2020). Multimedia tools in the teaching and learning processes: A systematic review. Heliyon, 6(11), e05312.
  • Dunlosky, J. Rawson, K (eds). 2019. The Cambridge Handbook on Cognition and Education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia learning (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  • Phillips, R. 2014. The Developer’s Handbook of Interactive Multimedia. Routledge.
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Posted in Apps and tools

Quizzes and polls in class and online

Polls and quizzes can be great for increasing the interactivity of teaching sessions and encouraging student engagement. You might want to use a poll to kick off a discussion or a quiz to check students’ understanding of previous content before moving on. A quiz after a lecture can also be a great way for students to check their own learning and a poll could help identify topics for revision.

What’s the difference between a poll and a quiz?

Generally, a poll collects choices or opinions, with no ‘correct’ answers as such whereas a quiz has right and wrong answers. However, there is some crossover between the two in the way different tools use the terms as Canvas offers ‘ungraded survey’ as a quiz type and Poll Everywhere uses the term ‘poll’ for a question.

Polls and quizzes can be run ‘live’ in a session, either in-person or online or they can be made available for responses before or after a session, which can be particularly useful for gathering information ahead of teaching or allowing students to check their understanding. It can be useful to get students to discuss in pairs or groups before responding to a Quiz question and then have them respond either individually or together.

Live polling and quizzing

If your session is online via Zoom then the polls option within Zoom is the simplest option. Our post on Polling with Zoom looks at this option in more detail. You can of course use other tools in a Zoom meeting but generally it is better not to use any more tools than you need in any session.

When you are teaching on campus Poll Everywhere is the recommended option for live polling and/or quizzing. The range of question types means this is a great tool for anything from simple polling to team competitions. Our recent post on 5 top Poll Everywhere question types looks at some of the options you may not have seen. 

You may already be using Padlet in your session, in which case adding the reaction options for users to ‘like’ or ‘upvote/downvote’ posts provides a simple way to gather views. Although not a poll as such, it could be a quick and easy way to gather feedback or opinions.

Some colleagues have used Kahoot! in the past, but the current pricing model only allows 10 players with a free account, so it is only likely to be useful if you are teaching a small group or pairing students. Now that Poll Everywhere has a Competitions option that is a good alternative.

Asynchronous polling and quizzing

Quizzes before or after a session can be useful for establishing students’ existing understanding of a topic or checking learning from a lecture. Canvas quizzes offer a range of question types including multiple-choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, likert scale, matching, numerical and formula. A quiz can be ‘graded’ which provides a score, or an ‘ungraded survey’ if you want to use it as a poll with no right and wrong answers. You can see the options and how to create each in the Canvas guide What quiz types can I create in a course? Sussex staff can find guidance on creating quizzes on the Teaching Online Learning Anywhere site. There are also lots of Canvas Guides on quizzes to help you get started.

Poll Everywhere can also be used outside of sessions, but only one poll or survey is active at any given time, so if you have several modules only one can be running a Poll Everywhere activity at any time.  

Another great option is the quizzing feature in Panopto. This allows you to create quizzes which can be set to appear to viewers at predetermined points as they view a recording. Quizzes can include true/false, multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank questions. Adding quizzes to Panopto recordings makes viewing them a more active and engaging activity for students. This Panopto guide will show you How to Add a Quiz to a Video.

Choosing a tool and getting help

Comparing polling and quizzing tools

University licenced

Live / synchronous


Poll or quiz?

Zoom polls





Poll Everywhere



Yes, but only one activity is active at any given time. 






Like or upvote / downvote only

Panopto quizzes





Canvas quizzes


Could be.






Yes, student-paced games.


Sussex staff can also contact a learning technologist by emailing and we will be happy to discuss options and help you get started with quizzing or polling.

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Posted in Apps and tools, Polling tools

Rubrics and you

Providing responsive and consistent feedback to students is an important if challenging part of assessment, however there are techniques and tools that can help you as a marker to leave great feedback. One of those techniques, and the focus of this blog post, is using rubrics.

What is a Rubic you may well be asking? The word rubric can have different meanings within a variety of contexts which can lead to some confusion. Within an educational context a rubric is defined as a consistent and coherent set of criteria for students’ work that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality achieved against marking criteria.

Marking criteria are essentially your standards of judgement for the assignment you have set. Your School will have a set of marking criteria for each assessment type. Such generic assessment criteria can be tailored to the individual assessments within your modules.

Marking or scoring rubrics, (also called ‘grading forms’) are a guide to marking against such generic standards of judgement. As such, rubrics set out how generic marking criteria have been tailored for, and should be applied to, a specific assessment task. Often constructed as a table or grid, rubrics map the agreed criteria against quality or grade descriptors. 

Good rubrics also include explicit definitions of the quality expected for the different levels of judgement. Rubrics can incorporate precise scores for each criterion and level of achievement, or be used as a guide for assigning qualitative marks.

Rubrics allow teachers to structure their own observations of a student’s work against the description in the rubric. As feedback is supplied individually for each criteria it can then help a student to identify their work’s strengths and weaknesses and work out which areas of their work require improvement.

This also allows for cohesiveness in the feedback a student achieves, if they can compare feedback across different pieces of work that have all used the same rubric for their assessment then it creates a clearer path to improving their learning. Rubrics have also been found to reduce students’ anxiety and so support performance. Students report increased confidence and greater transparency into the marking process as they have a better idea of what is expected of their work and how it can relate to their grades.

So there are some researched benefits into using rubrics, but how can you go about using them in your assessments? Any submission using the standard e-submission workflows of Turnitn or Canvas Online (please note that assessments done  have tools which allow you to attach rubrics to your assessments. Rubrics can be used for all sorts of assessments both summative and formative in a variety of contexts.


The way that Turnitin Feedback Studio allows you to create and mark with Rubrics is through the use of a grid-based form containing criteria (on the vertical axis), scales (on the horizontal axis) and descriptors (on the grid) where you can add predefined feedback comments.

Tutors can use this tool to provide feedback on a student’s individual piece of work by selecting the relevant boxes on the grid which indicate the performance level on the scale in relation to each of the criteria.

  • Criteria defines the characteristic or property by which the work is being assessed.
  • Scale defines levels of performance reached for each criteria. Typically based on a grade boundary or other performance indicator.
  • Descriptor defines descriptive details of the standards and expectations to achieve each level of the scale within the context of the criteria 

A single rubric can be created in order to provide consistency for marking all submissions, however each custom Rubric form can be reused, adapted and shared for use in other assessments. When students view their feedback inside Turnitin Feedback Studio they’ll be able to view this rubric and will be presented with the descriptor based on the scale they have reached for each specific criteria. 

Canvas Online

Canvas Online allows you to create rubrics by defining criteria and ratings taking the form of mark values or mark ranges for each criteria. It’s also possible to define a set amount of points it’s possible to achieve in each criteria and you have the option of using these points to make up the students overall grade for the assessment. Points can however be disabled within the rubric itself. You also have the option to not use defined marks but to write freeform comments as feedback for each criteria.

Students will be able to view the rubric and the rating they have achieved (or freeform comments in the absence of a rating) when viewing their feedback within Canvas.

Further guidance and resources

TEL have created a Rubrics guidance page on our Teaching Online, Learning Anywhere site which hosts a variety of good practise, examples and guidance on using rubrics within your assessments. These Canvas Guides may also be helpful:

If you’d like any help in designing or applying rubrics then please get in touch with TEL at 

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