Canvas X: Nudge, March 2018

Community Team
Community Team
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Canvas X is where we seek your input on experiments from our secret pandaworks lab!

 

Nudge is a prototype service that helps students effectively manage their time and coursework. This service is the first step in a longer term smart messaging vision for Canvas. When enabled in a course, Nudge sends notifications to students about upcoming and late assignments. Students receive these notifications according to their notification preferences.

 

Because feedback and data are core to our development process, we are reaching out to the community for a beta test. The current version of Nudge is experimental and in early development; iteration is expected as the experiment progresses.

 

Any course that enables Nudge will provide us with insight into the effect of “nudging” different students in different ways. We also value feedback about the user experience and effectiveness of these reminders from your perspective as an instructor.

 

Your course may be a good fit for the beta experiment if it falls into one or more of these suggested criteria:

  • Blended or fully online courses
  • History of teaching the same course in prior semesters
  • Have a course beginning in the next few months
  • Make use of multiple assignments throughout a course
  • Multiple sections of the same course (nice to have, but not necessary)

 

The initial Nudge pilot is closed for participation. If findings look promising, there will be a fuller Nudge pilot in August of 2018. Please check back in August, we hope to have something awesome by then.

 

Have questions? Leave them below.  Please note that this experience is currently limited to United States domestic users.

46 Comments
Community Coach
Community Coach

rcarney@instructure.com‌, the form doesn’t seem to be working - at least from my phone it’s not. 

Community Team
Community Team

Thanks, Kona.  Should be working now!

Community Member

I hope it's okay, but I forwarded the information on Nudge to a few of my coworkers who also happen to teach. One of whom tests just about everything in her course.

Instructure
Instructure

Definitely ok, encouraged in fact. Thanks!

Learner II

Normally, I would consider signing up for this, but I won't have any new courses starting until Fall.

In the USA K-12 world, I would say that April-July is an unusual window to be starting new courses in, so you may not be able to gather as much useful feedback about that use case due to time of year. (In most places I've worked, students take most of the same classes all year long in core subjects. At my school, we organize into two semesters a year for grading/transcript purposes, but students will mostly be taking the same things in the spring as in the fall.)

Our summer courses are completely different than our regular year courses, and I'm worried that you'll get a lot of skew in your results if that's true of other institutions too. (I know this was also very true at the community college level back when I was paying attention to that.) (We don't even use Canvas for our summer courses for a variety of reasons, mostly because all we offer in the summer is Credit Recovery courses and the thinking is that if you failed an Online course, your second attempt at it should be in a different format in case the format was an issue for you.)

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

We are K12 and have some summer online courses (US/VA History; Economics and Personal Finance).  Students can choose to take the course in the summer and free up a class period during the school year.
I will share this with those summer, online teachers -- but before moving forward, can you tell me how it works?   Is it loaded on our system and then turned On by course?  Thank you!

Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for bringing this up! Part of why we are testing in the summer is to be minimally invasive, as there are less courses being offered. However, I think you are right that we may have a hard time finding K12 courses starting in the next few months (especially based on the sign-ups so far). Luckily this is only the first round of testing some of most basic features, and we will likely have another more advanced test for fall courses, I hope you sign up then!

Instructure
Instructure

Certainly. For Canvas X we are going to try a new process which will be a lot more informal then the traditional Canvas product testing. The features will be turned on on a course by course basis through consent of the teacher and/or the institution. The ability to turn off the testing will also of course remain in the hands of the teacher. Before we turn anything on we will contact the teachers who sign up to make sure we are aligned on the details.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Thanks Greg.  We will inform those teachers so they can volunteer if they would like.  Thanks!

Surveyor

Hi, I am trying to sign up for University of Washington as an institution.  We haven't yet recruited teachers.  The form doesn't let me proceed unless I falsely inform you that I teach courses, and what the average course size is, etc.  Anyway, we will be recruiting some instructors to participate. Thanks.

Learner II

I'll keep an eye out for Fall-based sign-ups! I'm of the firm opinion that the more feedback I can give developers on my school's use case, the less annoying I will find new features. 

I just wanted to re-emphasize that in schools on the traditional American Fall-Spring school year model, summer term student behavior (and course composition) is often very different from regular school year student behavior and course composition, and really caution you against trying to generalize too much about intervention effects on student behavior based on summer term data. Summer term is very much its own animal in terms of who takes the courses and their approach to the courses they take.

Common summer course offerings are either "second chance" courses for students who failed or "accelerator" offerings for students who want to get ahead, and both of those tend to attract fewer of the "middle" students than a course in a regular term. Summer term courses also tend to be faster-paced for a shorter term length and set up with the idea that students are taking fewer different courses at a time and have more time to spend on each course each week. Instead of spending 4-ish hours a week on a course for 18 weeks, they may be spending 8-ish hours a week on that same course for 9 weeks, or 12-ish hours a week on that course for 6 weeks, or some other compression plan. This creates different study patterns and deadline awareness, particularly if a student is only taking a single 6-week class at a time and thus only juggling deadlines for one course. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hello again, @Greg:  We've shared the info with our summer online teachers.     We aren't quite understanding what "Nudge" provides that can't be accomplished with other Canvas features.   From a teacher:  "Based upon what I read I am unclear as to what it actually accomplishes that can’t be done in other ways.  Perhaps [more information] will help me to better understand its value to students."

Greg, can you help us understand what Nudge offers that is  more or better than the current Canvas mechanisms?  Thank you!

Instructure
Instructure

So your teacher is right on track. For now we are going to leveraging current Canvas functionality to test the Nudge idea. So there isn't anything here that couldn't be done by teacher on their own. There are some advantages however: 1. Semi-autonomous. Canvas will identify students that could use a nudge automatically. 2. Adaptive. When nudges aren't successful, don't continually bother a student. 

As it stands this is a limited test of limited functionality. We want to validate that simple ideas work before investing a lot of time into a tool that might not help students. If this test is successful, we will take the findings to make Nudge a better framework and hopefully some of the benefits will become more self-evident.

Community Member

Will Nudge only use assignment due dates to determine student progress?  Is there an option to use log in data (ie. contacting students who haven't logged into the course in X days or weeks)?  We run continuous enrollment courses that are self paced, so there are no assignment due dates.  Students in self paced courses are especially vulnerable to falling behind in their coursework, and automatic nudges would be very useful.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Yes, I agree with Sharon about automated nudges when students haven't logged in...

Instructure
Instructure

That's a great idea. Its not currently part of the test, but I think we may be able to get it in there. I will get back to you.

Instructure
Instructure

hildi.pardo@apsva.ussdoyle@berkeley.edu‌ We are going to add logins as a Nudge type. Thanks for the suggestion!

Community Member

Great!  Are you planning on creating a fixed algorithm to launch the nudges, or will instructors/institutions be able to select the ones they are interested in?  I'm asking because we have self paced courses that would not work with assignment due dates, but would with logins.  Also, differences in course design would lead to a desire to set the login triggers differently (in terms of the duration of inactivity that would lead to the nudge).   I'm hopeful your service will work for self paced courses with different student start/enrollment dates.

Instructure
Instructure

We will definitely work with the selected instructors to pick the Nudges that are right for their courses. With regards to trigger customization, that is still up in the air. I am not sure if in this test we will be able to facilitate a completely custom implementation per instructor but we will do out best. We will see as the test gets closer.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Oh it's so exciting to see this. I was just in a meeting of my college's Distance Education and Information Technology Committee and we had a nice discussion on early alert in Canvas. I shared this page with the committee members and look forward to seeing this in Canvas.

pandas nudge each other

Instructure
Instructure

Hi all! So happy to see the interest around this. I'm in charge of design and testing for Nudge, here's a quick update:

I'm just getting the first round of invites out for testing now. To keep things manageable on our part I'm limiting the sample quite a bit. Some things I'm selecting on are (1) used Canvas for 2+ years, (2) 16 - 50 students, (3) HE only, (4) summer course(s) starting within the next few weeks (and a few more things). This is just the first round of testing, we want to work out any kinks with about 5 instructors in a "pre-pilot" before we really go forward with testing Nudge. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

If you need a pilot after the pilot, I'd be happy to help... 😉

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi airvine 

Me, me, me, me, me! Pick me!

  1. 6 years with Canvas,
  2. . 25 - 30 students,
  3. HE,
  4. Summer 18, (2 courses).

Pick meeeeeeeeeeee!

Kelley

Community Member

I'm going to second kona@richland.edu‌' statement. I already have faculty who were interested in this tool and are teaching this summer.

I was even hoping to get it turned on in our Faculty Training (IDL6543) 10-week course that runs this summer so that new teachers could experience this tool from the student side. But if not, we'd love to test it in the Fall too.

Instructure
Instructure

Kelley... you're too much, I'm blushing. Smiley Happy 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Getting faculty to experience all these tools from a student perspective is a great idea, as there is no teacher better than experience. It helps nudge us to become better teachers.

Community Member

I think it helps --with perspective, expectations for-- faculty to see how the system behaves from the student side

Community Member

Wish I could participate in this directly, but don't have any assigned classes other than some professional development courses I administer from time to time. This prototype SaaS sounds awesome, and I'll pass this post around to the Canvas power-user teachers in our district. Then I can look over their shoulders for a look!

Surveyor

Is it too late to pilot this?  I have a professor that is teaching a course she has taught many times but is working to try different concepts within  it this time.  This would be a great opportunity in HE.

Community Member

I've volunteered in the form. Any ideas when we might hear back whether we'll be part of the trial?

My course fits every single one of the criteria, and it would so great to trial it with my ~300 students so I really hope I end up part of the trial! Looking forward to it!

Instructure
Instructure

Over 130 people have filled out the form, this is great!! The first round of invites went out last week. 

Many volunteers fit the criteria stated previously, however I did not include all of the criteria in that message (only listed a few). To your point,  ~300 students sounds great for round two of testing in the fall. Right now I'm intentionally limiting samples to courses with around 30 - 50 students.

Thanks so much for your continued interest! 

Community Member

Hi Nudge Team,

This is an awesome idea. Please consider me if you're looking for admins/instructors to interview as part of the customer development process.

-Ryan

Community Team
Community Team

The Nudge summer pilot is closed for participation. If findings look promising, there will be a fuller Nudge pilot in the fall. Please check back in August, we hope to have something awesome by then.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Good luck Nudge pilots! I hope that the Instructure developers are "nudged" by your experience and feedback enough so that an effective tool is created and made widely available soon. 

Community Member

A bit late to this discussion but just hoping if/when an oppt to participate is re-opened that I might have some of my coaches trial this as have been pressing me for a range of reminder/nudge capabilities...

Thanks for pushing on this important set of features, sounds great!

-Damian

Instructure
Instructure

Gearing up for a fall test trial. Check back Aug. 8th for a sign up. 

Community Member

Can I play, too? Teaching hybrid and online this quarter. 

Pretty please?

thanks. 

Polly

Instructure
Instructure

Heck Yes (hopefully)!! Right now the Nudges are specific to assignments that are due soon and/or can be turned in late. More Nudges are coming and we hope to add ones that stand to positively impact a greater variety of courses. 

Adventurer

Is it close enough to August to check in and volunteer for the next round of testing?  ;o)

We are:

  • 3 years with Canvas,
  • 30 - 35 students,
  • HE,
  • August term (starts Aug 6th).

Another suitable 'conscript' is learym1@erau.edu‌ 

Instructure
Instructure

Hey Jeff! Look for something end of next week.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Awesome! Thanks for the update! :smileygrin:

Community Member

Excellent. I'm being asked about this by several teachers and my director. 

Surveyor

I can't wait! This is going to be so helpful!

Community Team
Community Team
Surveyor

I just filled out the survey. This is going to be an amazing tool and something that is going to be such a benefit to students and teachers alike! 

Surveyor

Is this still being tested? Plans for implementing into courses?