Analytics in Canvas — for students

A little-known feature for our Canvas users seems to the Analytics tool that is built right into Canvas. Analytics are a great way to get a visual analysis of a bunch of data. it’s important to remember that analytics are data visualization and NOT conclusions. I will explain the importance of remembering this in context later in this post.

First things first: how does one access their analytics? It’s easy-peasy, folks. Just follow these steps.

  1. Log into Canvas.
  2. Go into the course you want to view analytics for by choosing the course from the “Courses” tab at the top of the screen.
  3. Click on the “People” link in the navigation menu on the left.
  4. Find your name in the list and click on it. This should be bring you to your user main page.
  5. Look to the right! There should be a link that says “Analytics“.
  6. Click that link and you will be taken to a wonderful page full of information.

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Take a second. Look around. You might be overwhelmed by the colors and the abundance of things that are confusing at first. Breathe. We’ve all been there. And you might not geek out over all of this stuff, but it is super useful and worth looking into.

Remember, you are looking at data for a specific course. A text description of each graphic is to the left and is worth reading.

Activity
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If you hover over the bars in the graph, you can see the exact date being references, as well as the exact amount of activity from you within the course. If the bar is blue, it means you viewed a page. If the bar is orange, it means that you took an action (posted a discussion, submitted an assignment).

CommunicationImage
This is an easy way to track your sent messages and messages sent from the instructor to you.

Assignments

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Okay, I might be biased, but I love this information. You can see when the assignment was due (the diamond shape), and when you turned it in (the streak leading into the diamond — if there is no streak, you cut it close turning in that assignment). The red diamond shows assignments that were missed. You might also see a yellow diamond; this means the assignment was a late submission. By hovering over the diamond shape, you can get more exact information about that assignment:

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Sure, you say, but I can just look at the gradebook… which is true. But by looking at this graph, you can get a quick read on any weak points during your quarter (oh-oh, you turned in four assignments late right around the time you were busy working 50 hours a week — maybe you should keep that in mind for next quarter so that you can plan ahead?).

You can use this to make sure you’re staying on task with your readings, or achieving your goals with assignments. This was not previously available for student view, but we’re planning to activate it very soon.We want to stress that any information provided through this tool should not be the only information you use to figure out how you’re doing in a course. Some instructors don’t track all grades in the Canvas gradebook, which can result in skewed information. You should always check with your instructor about what you’re seeing before you start panicking — sometimes something will show up in that worrisome red because it hasn’t been recorded in the process, for example. These are just suggestions to keep in mind — make sure you’re looking at the whole picture, not just these analytics.

Check in and see what your analytics say about you!

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