LEAD - Identify student performance in relation to a threshold

The Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) is a course-level dashboard that provides visualizations of student access to materials in Canvas courses. This document describes a process you can use with LEAD to help identify student performance in relation to a threshold, as well as some reminders and caveats for use.

Note: This document describes a learning analytics approach to help support student success.

What data are available in LEAD?

Campus tools such as Canvas, Kaltura MediaSpace (video/audio/images), and Unizin Engage eText are connected to student roster information. This allows student data to be connected with a record of their course access and interaction, such as:

  • Course pages or videos they’ve clicked on
  • Grades stored in the Canvas gradebook
  • Participation with activities such as assignment submissions, or discussion posting
  • Times of access

More information about LEAD is provided in the Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard Overview KB doc, including more details about the data and the official data definitions.

Please note: Unizin’s Engage eReader is now powered by RedShelf. This recent change has temporarily disrupted the data stream that flows into LEAD. Thus, eText user data will not be included in LEAD for the summer sessions and fall 2022 term.

How to access LEAD

LEAD is currently available for instructors teaching for-credit courses who are enrolled in Canvas as a principal instructor, auxiliary instructor, or supervisory instructor.

Instructors can access LEAD at go.wisc.edu/lead. Follow the instructions on the screen to log in. 

Please note: beginning in Fall 2022, all semesters of LEAD can be accessed from this link. You now can select which term you would like to view, from any of the visualization pages.

Once inside LEAD you will have access to a home page and three visualization pages. 

  • Page Views by Date and Hour 
  • Grades by Page Views 
  • Page Views by Activity Type

For easy access to other learning analytics resources, add the Learning Analytics for Instructors Widget to your MyUW page.

Using LEAD Grades by Page Views

You can use LEAD's Grades by Page Views tab for quick visual analyses to look at general patterns of students' grade ranges.

Scatter plot visualization

Using the Grades by Page Views tab, the scatter plot visualization plots two different measures for each student -- their grade and their number of Page Views, representing each student with a dot. 

  • The dot’s placement on the X (horizontal) axis is based on the number of Page Views; students with fewer page views will be plotted toward the left. 
  • The placement on the Y (vertical) axis is based on their grade in the Canvas gradebook; students with lower grades will be plotted toward the bottom.

grades are plotted against page views.png

Example: Students with grades lower than 70 percent

In this example, the threshold of interest is a grade of 70 or below. The visualization shows approximately eleven students with grades in this range.

a threshold of interest is grade 70 or below.png

Hovering your cursor over the dot will reveal a window with the student name, and values of Page Views and grade.

identify students by hovering over one dot.png

Using the data

Consider what student engagement looks like in your course, and what indicators you look for in addition to online access. For example, you may consider quality of work, interactions with classmates, types of questions and comments made.

  • You could take a ‘wait and see’ approach, and check back on the situation in the future
  • You could consider reaching out to individual students
  • If you see broad patterns among several students, you may consider taking whole-class actions, such as reminders of participation expectation, or revisiting challenging content
  • This data may be useful to you between semesters as part of considering course redesign
Wise, Alyssa Friend, and Yeonji Jung. "Teaching with analytics: Towards a situated model of instructional decision-making." Journal of Learning Analytics 6.2 (2019): 53-69.

Caveats and reminders when using learning analytics data

LEAD data is not refreshed in real-time; each tool has a different frequency for updating their analytics. There may be a lag time of up to 5 days for when students' access data appears in LEAD.

  • This frequency of updates may be useful for reviewing patterns of access across several days or weeks, but does not completely show the most recent activity.

  • For example, don't use LEAD to see if students accessed a course resource or assignment immediately before today's class

Data may report that a student has logged in, and accessed a course item, but cannot indicate how a student intellectually engaged with the course.

  • Keep in mind that the data won't reflect whether a student downloaded content to read later, read the materials in-depth, skimmed or read superficially, or accessed reading material but didn't read at all.
  • A lack of access data does not necessarily mean a lack of access to course materials. For example, data would not reflect instances where students may have been studying together, if only one student was logged in. 

  • Data gives general information about the amount of access to a course item. For example, it does not show how much time a student spent on a specific course page or activity (duration).

There may be nuances in what data are logged for content stored outside of the Canvas course, due to how the data are captured or how the course was created.

  • For example, links to some embedded content, and some videos or external websites will not be included. 
If you value this type of access data, become familiar with how this data is recorded in your course before interpreting it.

Here's a few tips to consider when you're adding content to your course:

  • If you're using Kaltura for videos, use the Canvas-Kaltura integration from the Canvas rich content editor for more detailed analytics.
  • While you can't capture access data to external websites or YouTube videos, you can create a page in your Canvas course that only has a link to one external item; that will provide a proxy of student access to a specific external resource.
  • Use clear, consistent and logical naming conventions for course pages, resources and activities; for example Mod-2 Video or Wk2-Homework versus 3375462.pdf. 
  • Turn off navigation options in Canvas for any tools you're not using. This directs students to the right resources, and data is more meaningful since students are accessing content the way you intended.

See Also:

Keywords:LEAD, learning analytics, guiding principles, data, FERPA, Data governance   Doc ID:107265
Owner:Kari J.Group:Learning Analytics
Created:2020-11-18 12:11 CDTUpdated:2023-01-04 12:06 CDT
Sites:Learn@UW-Madison, Learning Analytics
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