Moodle offers a Statistics Report which allows you to delve into the timing and number of hits, views and posts within a course. In this article we will look at how you can use the statistics report to monitor your course.
Why use the statistics report?
It can be useful when managing a course to understand how your students and your facilitators are interacting with the course. At the big picture level you can see how often people are engaging with the course and what trends exist for when they engage. At a zoomed-in level you can see which particular days people are active or inactive. The statistics report could be used to answer the following questions:
- What days do students make the most posts?
- Are students the most active during the week or on the weekends?
- How active have the facilitators been?
- Have facilitators made the required number of posts at the required times?
- How does the activity on this course compare to previous runs of the course?
All of the questions above we can answer using the statistics report. Let’s have a look at how we would do this.
Accessing the Statistics Report
The statistics report is accessed from within a course. Click on Administration, then click on Reports and finally on Statistics. Note that you need to have statistics enabled for your site in order to access the statistics report.
Note that this reports aggregates the data. You see the data for all students or all facilitators. You cannot break the data down to a specific student or facilitator.
You can select a report type and a time period for the report. The time period will be the number of weeks or months prior to the current date to display. You will get all the data from this starting point (e.g. 4 weeks ago) up to the current date. A good idea is to go back to the start of the current course when you are viewing a course that is repeated throughout the year. You have the following options for the report type:
- All activity (all roles)
- All activity Facilitator
- All activity Student
- All activity Guest
- Views (all roles)
- Posts (all roles).
The report will show you the number of hits that there have been on various parts of the course for the time period selected. The all activity reports will show both views and posts. You can select Facilitator, Student or Guest to limit the data to just those roles. Make your selections in the Report type and Time period – last boxes and then click View.
The top part of the report is a graph showing the selected activity on each of the days within the selected time period. A line will display for each of the roles you have selected. The number of actions (view, posts or all) for each day is plotted. If you hover over a data point you can see a breakdown of the data.
A table appears below the graph detailing the number of views and posts for each day, for each included role. These start at the most recent date and then work backwards through the selected time period.
Let’s now turn our attention to how we can use the statistics report to help us understand the engagement with our course. We will do this by looking at students and facilitators separately.
Have a look at the following student statistics graph. It shows a course which is the first week of an eight-week training programme. The graph is from the middle of the programme when the students would have already completed the training in the course. What questions do you think you could answer from it?
The following are some observations we could make based on this graph of student engagement:
- Student engagement appears to peak once every few days with most of these peaks occurring towards the middle to end of the week.
- These students have made very few posts. This could be due to them not engaging with the content or to not requiring any support.
- There are a couple of spikes where students returned to the content in this course.
- Overall students do not appear to be returning to this course very often.
Below is the graph for the facilitator engagement in the same course for the three months prior. It captures the period prior to the course, when this course was delivered and then the remainder of the programme. This course contains the forums which students can post to throughout the programme so we would expect to see some activity from the facilitator throughout the programme. What questions could you answer from this graph?
The following are some observations we could make based on this graph of facilitator engagement:
- The facilitator posted regularly (weekly) throughout the programme, but only a couple of times per week
- The facilitator was most engaged in this course in the first two weeks of the programme, suggesting that this was when the students required the most support
- The engagement was pretty consistent from about Week 4 onwards.
Using the data
The statistics report gives you some data points to determine how well, when and how often students and facilitators are engaging with your course. You can use this information to look for trends in the course engagement, to monitor your facilitators or to understand the impact of your content on the activity of your students. The statistics report can be especially useful for testing activities that you add to the course. Use the report to get a baseline for student or facilitator activity. Perform an action, such as adding an activity, and then view the impact that this has on engagement. By using the statistics report over time you can get a good feel for how people engage with your course and how changes you make to the course impacts this engagement.