Analytics on Analytics: Introducing Usage Reports for Blackboard Intelligence


This is a blog post co-authored by Timothy Harfield and Rachel Scherer

In direct response to customer feedback, we are thrilled to announce the availability of usage reporting (affectionately referred to as ‘analytics on analytics’) for all Blackboard Intelligence modules (Analytics for Learn, Student Management, Finance, HR, and Advancement).

It is an unfortunate irony in higher education analytics that the very products that are meant to support data-driven decision making and demonstrate returns on investment are frequently unable to report on their own use. But ‘analytics on analytics’ is incredibly important.

In the case of learning analytics tools, instructional designers and learning technologists want to know if dashboards and reports are being used, by whom, and whether their use has an impact on teaching, learning, and student success. From the perspective of analytics adoption, the ability to monitor and report on analytics use in granular detail means that institutions can identify early adopters and scale high impact practices.

Lastly, it is important for system administrators to know that reports are being reliably displayed, so that users have access to the information they need, when they need it. To fully understand the impact of their analytics investments, and ensure that they are supporting best practices, higher education institutions need access to analytics on analytics.

The usage reports feature was initiated by our customers and is the direct result of active ideation via the Blackboard Analytics Community Site. Now that this feature is available for all reports, across all supported report providers (Pyramid BI, SSRS, and in Blackboard Learn courses), in every module of Blackboard Intelligence, users can:

  • Promote analytics adoption by understanding how much their reporting environments (Pyramid BI, SSRS, Blackboard Learn) are being used, in what ways, and by whom.
  • Support institutional best practices around analytics use through an understanding of peak reporting periods for comparison against recommended decision-making timelines.
  • Support system administration through the ability to monitor trends in report performance and return execution status details.

In addition to the basic functionality available to all Blackboard Intelligence customers, we also understand that meta-reporting is of particular interest from the perspective of teaching, learning, and student success. Hence, we have created a special feature for Analytics for Learn (A4L) that centers the course as the subject of reporting, wherever that reporting happens. What this means is that it is now possible for institutions to identify those specific courses in which instructors and students are using learning analytics to engage more deeply in their course, as well as describe the types of information that report users are seeking about the course.

Usage reporting  is now available to all current Blackboard Intelligence customers. For more information, visit Behind the Blackboard or contact us here.