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scain
Community Contributor

Mobile App Usage Reported in Total Activity

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In the People page there's a really nice metric of "Total Activity" which shows how much time each student has spent in the course. Obviously, this can't be relied upon too heavily since some students aren't actively spending all that time in the course, but I am interested in a few students' reports. There are several students in this course who have no time listed (which I interpret as meaning that they have not accessed the course at all), but looking at their more detailed individual Access Report it shows that these students have accessed multiple pages in the course. My hypothesis is that this is because they are accessing the course exclusively through the mobile app. Can anyone confirm that the mobile app usage does not get added to the "Total Activity" timer?

4 Solutions

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rseilham
Community Coach
Community Coach

From my understanding in past conversations with the Canvas Mobile team and our admins, since mobile is "always" logged in, it's not easy (or possible) to set a timer on their activity, so it's not included in the Total Activity. So, mobile activity (pages viewed, etc) is tracked but time isn't.

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scain
Community Contributor

As closely as  @rseilham ​ has worked with the mobile team at Canvas, I trust him to have the correct information. I think it's safe to take the information he's passed along as being more than a "best guess." Smiley Happy

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rseilham
Community Coach
Community Coach

Deactivated user​ or  @peytoncraighill ​ - Do you have a definitely answer for us? Thanks!

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snugent
Community Champion

 @milesl ‌ we recently had a similar situation. I reviewed the Canvas Student Release Notes (iOS 6.3) which occurred around InstructureCon2018. It states the following about mobile activity. 

The Student app supports reporting mobile page views to Canvas. Canvas admins can track mobile page views in the Page Views section of a student’s User Details page. Each page view in the Student app is assigned a URL that corresponds to a page in the web view of Canvas. Mobile page views are only sent to Canvas from the Student app when a student leaves, or backgrounds, the app.

So apparently the page views can only be seen in the user details report which is only available to Canvas admins. In my test with a dummy student, it appears that the only way instructors can see mobile student activity in course analytics is when a student participates (submits an assignment or posts a discussion) in an activity. This is disappointing because most faculty use the last activity to determine if a student as logged in the course recently. 

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8 Replies
rseilham
Community Coach
Community Coach

From my understanding in past conversations with the Canvas Mobile team and our admins, since mobile is "always" logged in, it's not easy (or possible) to set a timer on their activity, so it's not included in the Total Activity. So, mobile activity (pages viewed, etc) is tracked but time isn't.

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Sorry, but I want to circle back around to this as we have had this conversation the past few days.

We want to ensure we are clear on this matter as it continues to come up, and we want to have a definite answer instead of a "best guess" answer.

When a student is accessing from a mobile device, the amount of time is not registered for total activity/in the activity tracker, but if you drill down into the individual access report, you can see what they accessed, no matter the area (as long as it is present in the mobile device, in the course, and they accessed it). If there is a limit to Canvas recording what is accessed, is their an official list of information gathered?

Thanks for humoring me in letting me revisit this!

scain
Community Contributor

As closely as  @rseilham ​ has worked with the mobile team at Canvas, I trust him to have the correct information. I think it's safe to take the information he's passed along as being more than a "best guess." Smiley Happy

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Thanks  @scain ​. I totally agree about  @rseilham ​ and his connections. The tiny bit I've been around here (about a month and a half now), the connections are pretty evident Smiley Happy

I suppose my hang up is this being a "best guess". It would seem to me Canvas would have it documented somewhere exactly what is recorded and where we can find that information. The way we are setup, we have a district office (where I work), and five colleges that have additional support folks for the faculty/students. When we can, we like to work in absolutes as we provide support information to our campus support staff or as we provide additional support to faculty.

rseilham
Community Coach
Community Coach

Deactivated user​ or  @peytoncraighill ​ - Do you have a definitely answer for us? Thanks!

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milesl
Community Contributor

Bumping an old thread:

An instructor came to us to show that a student shows no activity in the "total activity" column.

However:

1. Analytics shows that the student has pageviews, participations, and submissions

2. Looking at the student's page view log, I can see that they visited the course site in question with Chrome 71 as their user agent, indicating that this was not mobile activity.

Any ideas why this student's activity is not being logged?

Anti-tracking browser add-ons?

snugent
Community Champion

 @milesl ‌ we recently had a similar situation. I reviewed the Canvas Student Release Notes (iOS 6.3) which occurred around InstructureCon2018. It states the following about mobile activity. 

The Student app supports reporting mobile page views to Canvas. Canvas admins can track mobile page views in the Page Views section of a student’s User Details page. Each page view in the Student app is assigned a URL that corresponds to a page in the web view of Canvas. Mobile page views are only sent to Canvas from the Student app when a student leaves, or backgrounds, the app.

So apparently the page views can only be seen in the user details report which is only available to Canvas admins. In my test with a dummy student, it appears that the only way instructors can see mobile student activity in course analytics is when a student participates (submits an assignment or posts a discussion) in an activity. This is disappointing because most faculty use the last activity to determine if a student as logged in the course recently. 

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snugent
Community Champion

I just did another test and the last activity was updated when the student accessed the course on the student app. However, I noticed that content in modules was more accurately listed in the access report. For example in the first test as the student I navigated a module but didn't participate in anything. All the pages were listed in the access report. Then I tested going to the announcement page and viewing an announcement or going to the grades page. All of these activities were listed as viewing the course home and not individually. Then I tested going through another module. This module didn't appear in the access report so now I totally confused as to what instructors can expect to see in the access report.