What if an analytics tool could provide insight into students’ learning to help you create a more supportive learning environment?  

The Instructional Analytics Dashboard (IAD)—developed by the OTLT Research & Analytics team—generates near real-time reports to answer course-specific questions so instructors can create supportive learning environments that engage students while also identifying students who may be struggling in a course. 

By pulling data from multiple technology tools used in a course (e.g., ICON, Zoom, Panopto, and online homework platforms), the IAD provides instructors with a deeper understanding of their students’ backgrounds and learner variability and offers insight into students’ engagement with materials and tools. 

“We customize each dashboard with input from the instructor to address what course-specific questions with available data sources” says Jane Russell, director of OTLT Research & Analytics. “We want to create a comprehensive view of the course so instructors can make data-informed decisions on teaching strategies that impact student success.” 

Using Data in the Classroom  

With 160 students enrolled during the spring 2021 semester, the Human Physiology course serves a broad range of students, from second-year undergraduate students to graduate students. Jennifer Rogers, associate professor of instruction and program director for Human Physiology, opted to participate in pilot of the IAD for the course. 

“Access to comprehensive course data in one dashboard has been invaluable,” says Rogers. “Seeing correlations between completion of course activities, and patterns of access to course materials, and exam performance was helpful for evaluating whether course resources had a positive impact on student learning. This information will be useful for future messaging to students related to learning.” 

It also provided insight into student engagement during virtual teaching and learning.  

“Despite class occurring via Zoom and me seeing many ‘black boxes’ instead of being face-to-face in a classroom, the dashboard showed my students were still engaged,” says Rogers. “The majority of students watched the assigned lecture recordings and came to class (via Zoom) all semester. In fact, 85% or more of the 160 students in this course attended each Zoom class session and were active participants in daily activities. This was much higher than when this course met in person in previous semesters.” 

Using historical data from the IAD, she could examine trends in the course to determine the effect teaching strategies had on student performance.  

“It was rewarding to see that the overall D/F/W rate has decreased over time,” says Rogers. “However, using the ‘filter’ function of the dashboard to drill down by demographic characteristics revealed that some discrepancies in course performance still exist. These data will prompt me, as the instructor, to think more carefully about how to reach all students going forward.” 

An Ongoing Process  

Developing and maintaining the dashboard is an iterative process. The OTLT Research & Analytics team met with Rogers several times throughout the semester to refine and update it.  

“As a result of these two-way conversations, the dashboard could be customized to provide the types of information most important for me to know about Human Physiology,” says Rogers. 


If you like to learn about the instructional analytics dashboard, email the Research & Analytics Team