Get Started With Analytics

Learning analytics (LA) in Canvas collect and analyze student usage patterns. These data can allow instructors to examine relationships between student engagement and learning outcomes.   More specifically, analytics collect log-in information, rates of participation in specific activities, amount of time spent interacting with online resources or with other students, and sometimes student grades.  The software can then compare student’s activity with that of other students in the class, with students who previously took the class, and/or against rubrics to create a model for student performance.

The most common uses of LA are to identify students who are not succeeding academically and to inform targeted interventions.  LA can also be used to identify assignments that cause students difficulty. Instructors can use these data to adapt and modify curriculum or assignments.

LA is significant because it can track more data than an instructor can on their own, especially in large courses.  With analytics tools, students and instructors can better understand the learning process and take action to improve learning outcomes.

Source: 7 Things You Should Know about First-Generation Learning Analytics

Use Case Scenarios

Some examples of how learning analytics might be of use in Canvas are:

  1. You decide to give an exam via the Canvas quiz tool, and you want to see if your questions are reliable. Canvas will calculate the Kuder-Richardson Formula 20 and the Cronbach’s alpha, allowing you to examine the internal reliability of a set of questions.  See the Guide to Quiz Item Analysis.
  2. One of your students is performing poorly in your course, so you look at the student’s interactions with Canvas across the semester to better understand how they have been using the site.  It may be that they have been utilizing all available resources in Canvas but simply are not mastering the content.  Or it may be that they only log into Canvas when they have to submit an assignment, but are not interacting with their classmates or accessing all of the material you have made accessible.  This knowledge will allow you to tailor how you approach the student about his or her performance.