Analytics - What LMS Data Is Telling Us About Course Design

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

What can LMS data tell us about student behaviors and course design?  With access to the full Canvas database, Utah State University faculty and instructional designers set out to answer that question.  This session will present results of that quest, and initial insights into the LMS data. 


Kevin is an award winning innovator with 25+ years in Higher Education. He brought e-learning to campus in the late 1990's and has been involved ever since. He currently leads a team of developers and instructional designers working on a variety of LTI tools and other innovations. His team recently created a VR video experience of Campus now being used by the University at recruiting events. Kevin has been teaching university courses online since 2001, and his students are often the first to use new technology and tools in their courses. Kevin is the co-founder of Cache Makers, a STEM club, and maker space for youth ages 11 - 17 in Logan Utah, and a volunteer mentor with that program which has served over 3500 youth during the past few years.

Extended Abstract

With access to Canvas LMS database, Utah State University faculty, instructional designers, and researchers set out to mine the data with a list of questions. 

Do minutes spent watching videos correlate with grades?

When are students turning in assignements?

How are students navigating courses?  

What paths are they taking?

Are certain content elements skipped by students?

Are there measurable course behaviors that can be correlated to grades?

One finding showed that only 53% of student interactions with a specific course began at the course homepage.  This led researchers to dive deeper into how students interact with the courses in the LMS.  A chord chart and other visulaziations were built to allow further investigation into course navigation and paths.  Current analysis is underway to chart how students in 4 courses are navigating them, including the first time they enter a course.    Results from this study will be shared with partcipants, and an interactive discussion will allow participants to discuss and share ideas on how the data might be used for designing online and hybrid courses.  Technical details on accessing the data and tools used to build visualizations can be shared with particpants if desired, but is not the focus of this presentation.