eLearning statistics report - April 2013

This report shows UQ elearning environment usage statistics for April 2013.

The Learning Management System (LMS)

Figure 1 below shows the number of individual students making use of the elearning system each day, since 2011. The April usage rates remain higher than the same time in 2012, or 2011. This may be due to both greater student engagement, and also some increase in student numbers. The green line in Figure 1 is provided to allow comparison over time.

Blackboard All staff and student logins
Figure 1 - Discrete students per day (blue) and staff per day (yellow)

During April UQ students accessed more than 82,000,0000 pages, drawing 12,209GB of data from the LMS. 

Blackboard April statistics

Figure 2 - Unique Vistors and Bandwidth


To put Figure 2 in perspective UQs elearning system accounts for double the amount of pages viewed by the top 500 other UQ web sites combined, as shown in Figure 3 below. Furthermore Figure 17 shows the relative usage rates for UQ corporate systems.

Figure 3 - Pages per month compared to other UQ sites

Learning Management System Availability

UQs Blackboard system has been running on new infrastructure implemented during April. This 'Exadata appliance' is proving very reliable. Figure 4 below shows that the Blackboard uptime exceeds the 99% required to meet the eLearning SLA for the month of April. 
Blackboard up-time

Figure 4 - Blackboard Availability


Blackboard logins have remained steady for the month of March with the notable exceptions of the mid-semester break and ANZAC day.  

Blackboard April statistics

Figure 5 - Impact of Semester Break


Weekend and night time use by UQ students continue to generate very high demand as depicted in Figure 6. There was a noticable drop at the commencement of the month due to the mid semester break.

Blackboard April statistics

Figure 6 - UQ LMS use by Day of Month


Blackboard April statistics

Figure 7 -UQ LMS use by Day of Week

Blackboard April statistics

Figure 8 - UQ LMS use by Hour of the Day


Blackboard System Response Times

Response times shown on the performance page represent the time taken by the application servers to respond to a request from a user. This time includes the time taken to retrieve data from the data base or file store. 5th, 50th and 95th percentile values are shown. Times are consistent and provide sub-second performance. UQ has 8 application servers. All responses are less than 1 seconds and most sub 0.5 second. Beyond the application servers other factors can affect performance such as the user’s network speed and the user’s work-station performance and reliability. 

Lecture Recordings
Lecture recording and view rates significantly exceed those in 2012. In Figure 9 below you can see how the 2013 mid semester break occurred one week earlier than 2012.

Echo360 usage

Figure 9 - Lecture Recordings and Views

Student Video Submissions and Kaltura Video Server

At UQ, instructional video is available directly from Blackboard as a file, from the lecture capture system (Echo360), from the Kaltura video server, or via a link from an external system (e.g. Youtube). Usage of Kaltura  continues to grow, and during April students were given access to new ‘download’ button functionality. 
Kaltura usage

Figure 10 - Kalture video usage by day


There was slightly more Kaltura media watched for slightly longer when compared to March.

Kaltura usage

Figure 11 - Kalture video usage by percent watched


Virtual Classroom System Usage (Adobe Connect)

Adobe Connect log-ins declined slightly in April compared to the previous month however, the number of host users remains steady averaging at around 20 separate hosts facilitating sessions totalling up to 63 logged in users at peak times.

Adobe connect usage
 Figure 12 - Virtual Classroom System Usage (Adobe Connect)

Mobile Access to Learning Management System (Blackboard Mobile)

Use of the mobile client for our LMS is at 8000 students daily. This means at least one third of users are now regularly accessing Blackboard via mobile devices. The figure is likely to be much greater as tablet users would often use a full browser instead of the mobile client.


Blackboard mobile usage

Figure 13 - Mobile Client Use


Learning Management System Tool Usage Trends

Each semester, all tools in Blackboard are queried for usage at an institutional level and also by faculty.  This data summary is provided below and shows trends of usage over time (since 2010).  Note the the Summer school times have usage trends particular to that time of year and should ony be compared to other Summer school periods for meaningful trend analysis. Some notable trends for Semester1 -2013:

  • 95% of UQ courses make use of announcements within the learning management system
  • 97% of UQ courses have uploaded learning materials, typically documents (pdf, Word etc)
  • Up to 72% of courses have an online assignment.  52% of all courses have a Turnitin based assignment (up from 47% in Sem2-2013), and 25% have a standard Blackboard assignment. Note there are some courses that require both.
  • 51% of courses actively use a discussion board (note 100% have a discussion board created at the start of semester).
  • 40% of all courses have lecture recordings available (up from 25% in Semester 2 – 2012).
  • 14% of courses make use of the quiz tool (up from 11% sem2-2013)
  • Some courses will be using elearning tools not shown above. There are also a large number of more advanced tools in UQs learning management system not yet heavily engaged with, but indications from training attendance are there is strong interest to do so (e.g. video assignments).


(Click image to enlarge)

Figure 14 - Blackboard Tool Usage Trends


Elearning Technical Support

Since March help desk activity has moved away from routine course creations towards support for tool usage. Incident volumes have continued to fall as clients resolve their start of semester teething problems. TLS produces a comprehensive report on elearning helpdesk support that is available on request. Response and resolution times (business/attended hours) have improved since March. The number of referred lecture recording problems has dropped significantly since March reflecting growing client understanding of the recording process.  During April, there were 6 jobs that were flagged as ‘urgent’ by the client (down from 13 in March). The support team responded in less than 3 minutes to all urgent jobs from the time they were escalated to the eLearning queue.


Figure 15 - elearning support requests by category


It should be re-affirmed here that Teaching and Learning use automatic course creation scripts to create the bulk of courses and that the “Course Creations” listed below actually refer to the “Course customisations” which need to be performed manually. This includes course merges, selected resource
copying, and other tasks that cannot be automated which cater to specific requests from course instructors.

Figure 16 - Distribution of elearning support incidents by category



Figure 17 - Relative usage rates of UQ corporate systems


Figure 18 below conveys the large number of systems required to keep UQ's large elearning environment running. Just the 'Blackboard' component in Figure 18 is in reality 14 servers and a number of storage systems spread across two physical datacentres.


Figure 18 -  Systems that UQs elearning environment is dependant on.


Figure 19 - UQ courses available on its Learning Management System during Semester 1 - 2013