Hi all


(Sorry for the necro) At UoM we get atomic (every click in Blackboard, by everyone, ever) data logged into an Oracle Discoverer table. The data from Blackboard isn't perfect, but for many actions it does provide a useful string by which the type of action or tool can be recognised. It logs the user, their role etc etc, the time, what they did (as I say, not perfect).


We can then aggregate on these to produce a profile, of sorts, for each course. We count up (and often average, to allow comparison between different cohort sizes) things like total actions, discussion posts authored, actions in the wiki tool, entry into Turnitin instances and many more.


(Here, this is easier: http://media.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/humanities/screencasts/humelt/bb_data_jisc.swf)


The resulting data is quite rich and we're in the process of working out ways to present digestible information to different audiences (management at various levels, T&L committees, course tutors themselves, discipline academics). Some of the reporting is inspired by Mark Gamble's work at Telford. I've seen some of his material with some very illustrative scattergraphs setting quantity of usage against variety of usage within courses, layered year on year (Mark: I hope I got that basically right?)


The main issues/problems:


·         The table is massive. Right now I think it’s around 450m rows and grows by maybe 0.5m per day. Aggregating on that takes resources and I think our data warehouse team want to shoot me.

·         The data from Blackboard isn’t as complete as it could be (for us, anyway). Some tools are not logged or are logged incompletely, so if the data were to be used to measure performance at all, any omission could be unfair on someone using any such tool.

I think Mark Gamble and Telford get around the “massive” issue by running a constant aggregation (new batches of rows feed into a lowest-common-denominator aggregation, like course-user-day) which I imagine reduces the row count by a useful factor.


Kind regards

Philip Styles | eLearning Support Officer


Internal: 61744 External: 0161 306 1744

C1.42 Ellen Wilkinson Building





-----Original Message-----

From: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mark Gamble

Sent: 17 January 2013 09:33

To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Re: Analytics / Blackboard


Hi Peter,


Am I imagining that you seem to be saying it will let you gather data by tool type and roles and therefore gives data with some sense of pedagogical style / level of activty in a Bb Course (module/unit)? Is this just wishful thinking on my part?







Mark Gamble, FHEA

Head of Learning Technology, Centre for Learning, Excellence (Rm D009) University of Bedfordshire, University Square, Luton, LU1 3JU Office (+44)1582 489260 ext 9260 Mob (+44)7720 068605 ext 6360



BREO HELPLINE 01582 489205 / ext 9205 Twitterfeed: @Bedsbreo

Facebook: BREO at University of Bedfordshire





From:       Peter Rayment <[log in to unmask]>

To:   <[log in to unmask]>

Date:       1/17/2013 09:28 AM

Subject:    Re: Analytics / Blackboard


Hi Gary


Following on from Hendriks answer


We have also put in place Google analytics which does provide a lot of useful information. One thing that the EesyAnalytics provides that Google doesn't is that it will display the access to areas in Blackboard by different roles. I am thinking that in combination Google Analytics and EesyAnalytics should provide us with pretty much everything that we need to gather with regard to system access and use. I am hoping that the statistics gained will help to guide strategy and resource allocation in the future.


By the way I believe that any UK customer can get a free 30 day trial of EesyAnalytics if you would like to see what it can do and whether it would provide the answer to your questions.





-----Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist

<[log in to unmask]> wrote: -----

To: [log in to unmask]

From: "H. van der Sluis"

Sent by: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist

Date: 17/01/2013 08:40AM

Subject: Re: Analytics / Blackboard


Hi Gary,


At Kingston University we explored the use of client-sided data collection with Google Analytics on Blackboard.


Just putting a tracking code on Blackboard will not provide you with much meaningful analytics accept for the usual web metrics, such as number of visitors, demographics and server download times.

 However, with customisation it is possible to obtain a very rich insight in it usage on an institutional level. By setting goals on URL snippets it becomes possible to track the visits/usage of almost all functionality and applications within blackboard. I documented the settings of our customisation at http://goo.gl/a7Gmh. I&#8217;m sorry but it didn&#8217;t fit in one blog post.


Google Analytics has obvious limitation, because not individual id etc are collected it mainly provides analytics on an institutional level, although a fair degree of filtering can be done on a module level, by taking the course id. It provides a rich insight in e.g. the usage of social and interactive tools which has be used to inform staff development and used in discussion to illustrate growing use of certain tools. In many respect the analytics has surprised us, on the other hand it has confirmed anecdotal and observed usage of the VLE. 


One other advantage is that besides from the initial customisation and maintenance it does not require a huge amount of investment, although that might change over time. And it does not require much technical knowhow, although some understanding of html and web-analytics will be useful.


Currently we are comparing client-sided data collection with server-sided data collection to attempt some form of validation. It is a debatable comparison, both data collection methods are different and in most occasions record in different units. But initial results of logins for example indicate a very strong correlation, and it is likely that both methods show similar trends.


More than happy to discuss things in more detail.


Kind regards,



Hendrik van der Sluis

Academic E-developer & Researcher

Kingston University



On 16 January 2013 15:36, Peter Rayment <[log in to unmask]>


 > Hi Gary


> We have just started looking at Eesysoft Analytics, we already have


> Help system and are looking at the capabilities of the Analytics


> (http://www.eesysoft.nl/) which I believe is being used by a number

of Dutch

 > Universities.


> We have deployed it on our Blackboard system, and it provides very

> interesting information, this is quite customisable. Currently we


> started mapping points in the system to monitor, for example access


 > discussion boards or wikis. The results can then be displayed graphed

> showing the numbers of people of each role that are accessing that

> monitoring point.


> I am hoping that it will facilitate us in the focusing of Support


 > Training Materials, plus pro active promotion of Learning System

> capabilities.


> Also I am hoping it will allow us to see the results of campaigns


> changes to the system over both the short and long term.


> We would also be able to surface currently unavailable information


> statistics by role)  to key stakeholders within the University to

> demonstrate activity and levels of interaction within the



> If you are interested in seeing a demo of EesyAnalytics the person


> contact is  Michel Visser his email address is

[log in to unmask]


 > Peter Rayment

> Learning Technology Manager

> Cardiff University




> -----Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist

<[log in to unmask]>

 > wrote: -----

> To: [log in to unmask]

> From: CLAY Gary

> Sent by: Blackboard/Courseinfo userslist

> Date: 16/01/2013 03:11PM

 > Subject: Analytics / Blackboard



> Hi all - I've been asked to try and find out what is happening in


> community with regard to utilising analytics with Blackboard.  I'd


> interested to know therefore


> 1) how are institutions making use of analytics?

> 2) what software are you using?

> 3) what sort of things are you gleaning from this?

> 4) who makes use of the outputs from this?

> 5) has anything changed as a result of using analytics compared to


 > things were before you used them?


> ---------------------------------------------------------

> Gary Clay

> Learning Development Manager

> Learning Development and Innovation

> Staffordshire University

 > Beaconside Campus

> Stafford ST18 0AD

> Telephone +44 (0) 1785 353648

> e-mail [log in to unmask]



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