In an effort to enhance student learning outcomes and better understand how students interact with ICON, several courses at the University of Iowa have undergone ICON redesigns. The course instructors were interested in learning whether students’ ICON course activity changes between pre- and post-redesign. That information has proven useful to faculty members as they seek to improve their course designs.

The Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology Research & Analytics team has started to analyze the millions of rows of data generated by students’ activity (clicks) in each ICON course site. Student clickstream data was pulled from the Unizin Data Warehouse (UDW), which stores a timestamped entry for every student action in ICON.

The results indicate that some design elements have had the intended effect on student interaction behavior. Putting key course information directly into weekly module pages led to fewer clicks on the syllabus after the first week and fewer emails sent to instructors compared to the previous semester.

In addition, more students interacted with course learning materials when they were designed as weekly modules in some courses. 

Overall, there is a small positive association between student activity in ICON and course outcomes. This is shown visually for one course below. The animated heatmap shows student clicks during the first 6 weeks of the semester on three types of module items: introductory materials (e.g., syllabus), an exam guide, and lecture slides. Students are grouped according to their final letter grade.

Animated Heatmap



































Interested in learning how your students are using your ICON course? Contact the Research &  Analytics team at