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C21U Launches New Canvas Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Tool to Help Instructors Collect Weekly Student Feedback

Brittany Aiello - Communications Program Manager

With more instructors than ever before teaching remote and hybrid courses this Fall semester, insights into course experience are critical for the continued success of both instructors and students at Georgia Tech. With that in mind, the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) has developed a new tool that provides instructors with course-specific weekly snapshots of how students are performing. Designed to work seamlessly with Canvas, Georgia Tech’s Learning Management System, the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Tool gives instructors a new, near real-time measure of student progress.

Developed and tested by a small group of faculty during Summer semester, the purpose of the tool is to help instructors monitor the student learning experience and gain insight into how to enhance learning in future remote and hybrid courses. One faculty member who tested this tool in Summer semester courses noted that the KPI tool allows them to “(be) more cognizant of the students’ actual understanding.” Another faculty member noted that the tool empowered them to “gauge student learning as well as their views of how the various aspects of the course experience are going.”

"This type of feedback becomes important in online course environments in which instructors often have difficulty receiving spontaneous feedback from their students,” said Jonna Lee, assistant director of research in education innovation for C21U and the KPI pilot project lead. “By receiving students’ KPI ratings on a weekly basis, we expect that instructors can easily make adjustments for quality instruction throughout the semester.”

Beginning this week, the KPI pilot is available to any instructor who wishes to opt in via Canvas. If you are interested in testing this new tool, simply log in to your Canvas course and click “GT Apps Labs” in the course navigation menu on the left. GT Apps Labs is a resource that lists new tools that are available for your course, including the KPI pilot.

When installed, the KPI tool appears in the course navigation on the left side of your course. When a student clicks the tool, they are directed to a short survey like the one shown below.

Pictured is a screen shot of a sample student KPI survey.


When instructors click the tool, they are directed to a dashboard that shows the results for their course(s). The color-coded heat map (pictured below) allows instructors to easily track trends over time and across dimensions. The dashboard is updated every Monday and contains weekly snapshots of students' self-ratings.

A screen shot of a sample weekly KPI report.


After testing the KPI tool in Summer semester courses, faculty from the first user group were asked how they used the student responses from the tool. Faculty most often reported that they used the tool to adjust instruction methods (36.36%). C21U believes this tool will be useful for faculty and instructors adjusting to a “new normal” of widespread, technology-enhanced instruction, as well as those interested in providing a new feedback mechanism for their students.

If you would like the new KPI tool to be installed in your Canvas courses, just click the GT Apps Labs in your course navigation. Have questions about this new tool or the installation process? Please submit a request for support through the Georgia Tech Service-Now website.