The Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning has observed increased requests for information from Canvas data logs to track student activity during online assessments. The Canvas learning management system was designed to support teaching and learning, not to detect academic dishonesty.
The Poorvu Center recommends that data collected from Canvas quiz, page view, and event logs and the “New Analytics” dashboard not be used as primary evidence in cases alleging academic dishonesty. Activity log data are not reliably precise enough to use as evidence of specific behavior during a defined time period. Our recommendation aligns with statements from the publishers of the Canvas platform that these data reports should not be used to validate academic integrity or provide evidence of cheating.
Learning management systems such as Canvas are designed to promote learning. Canvas analytics in the aggregate can yield valuable information about behaviors that are correlated with success in the course—providing a snapshot of which materials students are accessing and how much time they’re spending on them. These same analytics cannot effectively monitor individual students, such as a human proctor might when giving a closed-book, timed exam. Besides, these kinds of exams are not supported by research as effective ways of measuring student learning. The Poorvu Center has been helping instructors move toward forms of assessment that are better correlated to student learning, and we’re prepared to support such considerations by request.