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Using LEAD Page Views by Date and Hour (Heat Map)
The Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) is a course-level dashboard that provides visualizations of student access to materials in Canvas courses. The LEAD tab named “Page Views by Date and Hour” offers a heat map visualization that shows data regarding the timing of student access activity to a course in Canvas.
Note: This document describes a learning analytics approach to help support student success.
- Remember that students are unique individuals and are much more than their data - be sure to consider the student holistically.
- Guiding principles for the ethical use of data for learning analytics state that learning analytics should be used to benefit students, instructors should be transparent about using learning analytics, instructors should respect students’ privacy and confidentiality, and should minimize potential adverse impacts.
- For additional information on learning analytics at UW-Madison, please visit the learning analytics guide, “What are the pedagogical uses of learning analytics?”
The LEAD Page Views by Date and Hour data could help offer insights into when students are most active in accessing your course. This information may be useful to you to find out:
- If students are accessing content, such as a page or video, before class.
- When several students are likely to be available for attending a synchronous session, such as for office hours or review.
- When students are most active in participating in online discussions.
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.
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 the current semester of LEAD at go.wisc.edu/lead. You will be able to log in by following the instructions on the screen.
For easiest access to prior semesters of LEAD (each semester has a separate link) as well as other learning analytics resources, add the Learning Analytics for Instructors Widget to your MyUW page.
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
Data visualization format: Heat Map
This visualization format is a Heat Map. It is similar to a table or spreadsheet, but instead of numbers, it shows colors based on associated date values.
- The visualization's X axis is similar to columns in a spreadsheet, and is organized by the day of the week.
- The Y axis is similar to rows in a spreadsheet, and is organized by the times of the day, in one-hour blocks.
- A single cell in the heat map shows the cumulative number of Page Views during the day/time, for the selected activities, and for the selected students, during the selected time period.
- Hovering your cursor over a single cell reveals the Page View value for that day/time.
Colors in the Heat Map
Each cell in the heat map is colored based on the number of Page Views for the associated day/time combination.
- In the range of colors, gray is fewer counts of access, and the reds are more counts.
- The darker the red, the higher the counts of page views. In effect, the darker the red, the more students are accessing the materials in the course.
- White appears when there are no counts of access during the day/time.
Seeing student access data organized by day of week and time of day could help offer insights into patterns of when students are most active in your course.
Filtering the data
The default view is to show the Page View data for all students in a course, from the start of the semester to within 5 days of the current time. (LEAD data is aggregated from multiple sources that are updated at various frequencies, depending on the tool.)
- Note that the visualization shows an aggregate of the counts for all the Mondays, Tuesdays, etc., across all the weeks included in the date range.
- This may be good to see general patterns over multiple weeks. For example, if you wanted to offer synchronous review sessions before an exam, so students could ask questions, you might look to see what days and times had a lot of course access. This could indicate a pattern of when students are generally available.
- Changes you make using any of the filters on one tab, will persist as you navigate to the other tabs.
Filtering by date range
You can filter the data to a date range by choosing a start date, end date, or both.
- Click on the start and end dates to launch the calendars; it's easier to select dates from the calendars than using the scrollbar.
- The Page View counts and heat map colors will adjust according to the selected date. This may be useful for reviewing access trends by time.
Filtering by activity type and specific activity
- The default is All --> Uncheck All and then select one or more Main Activity Type --> Choose Apply. (You may have to click away/off the visualization after you apply the filter.)
- The Page View counts and access day/times will adjust according to what you've selected. This may be useful to review for access trends to a Main Activity Type. (Are students accessing videos? When do they generally participate in discussions?)
- Filtering first by Main Activity Type will also help you more quickly locate a specific activity using the next filter for the Name of Activity. (For example, you won't have to scroll through a list of all your course Announcements, Assignments, Quizzes and Discussions if you're just looking for access data about a specific Kaltura Video).
You can drill down to a specific activity using the Name of Activity filter.
- In this example, the Main Activity Type that was selected is Kaltura Videos so only video titles will be listed in the Name of Activity drop-down.
- The list of items in the drop-down will reflect how you have named files, pages, assignments etc. in your Canvas course. Use consistent naming conventions and logical file names to help you locate a specific item; for example Mod-2 Video or Discussion Week 2.
- The default is All --> Uncheck All and then select one or more Name of Activity --> Choose Apply. (You may have to click away/off the visualization after you apply the filter.)
- The Page View counts and access day/times will adjust according to the specific activity selected. This may be useful to review for access trends to a specific activity. In this example, there was no student access to the selected video on a Tuesday or Wednesday during the time period. Since there was no Page View data for these days, the heat map does not show Tuesday or Wednesday.
Filtering by student
- The default is All --> Uncheck All and then select a Student Name --> Choose Apply. (You may have to click away/off the visualization after you apply the filter.)
- You can select more than one student.
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.
- Learning Analytics Guiding Principles
- Learner Engagement Analytics Dashboard (LEAD) - Overview
- LEAD: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Learning Engagement Analytics Dashboard
- Learning Analytics Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from Students
- Using LEAD Page Views by Date and Hour (Heat Map)
- Using LEAD Grades by Page Views (Scatter Plot)
- Using LEAD Page Views by Activity Type (Bar Chart)
- LEAD - Are students struggling in your course?
- LEAD - Identify student performance in relation to a threshold
- Learning Analytics for Instructors Widget