OnTask is a learning analytics tool that works with Canvas to enable instructors to send timely, personalized feedback to students, based on the criteria they select. OnTask is currently being piloted as part of UBC’s Learning Analytics Project and is available for UBC instructors to try in their courses.

How OnTask Works

OnTask is a free, open source platform that makes it easier for instructors to send their students personalized messages about their performance in a course. Developed through a collaboration led by the University of Sydney, OnTask uses existing course data produced in online learning systems (such as Canvas) to provide a scalable approach to learning personalization. OnTask makes it possible for instructors who are teaching large courses to improve the quality and timeliness of their feedback, without increasing their overall workload.

Messages sent with OnTask can range from reminders for subsets of students who have yet to meet certain course objectives to additional resources for high-achieving students.

Screenshot showing sample OnTask message.

OnTask makes it easier for instructors teaching large courses to send their students personalized messages.

For instance, an instructor who wants to send students a follow-up email after their first midterm can use OnTask to set conditions that determine when different messages will be included as part of that email. This functionality allows the instructor to create personalized emails with tailored advice, based on things like students’ total midterm scores or even students’ responses to individual midterm questions. For students with high scores, the instructor might choose to offer congratulations and enrichment activities. At the same time, students who need to catch up can be sent relevant advice and resources.

Instructors can also use OnTask to send targeted emails to specific groups of students, including reminders to students who have yet to submit assignments. These messages can help students stay on track and spark dialogue between instructors and their students.

Want to learn more about teaching with OnTask? Sign up for our OnTask Workshop on October 16 and read about about how Simon Bates, UBC Associate Provost, Teaching and Learning, uses OnTask when teaching large first-year physics courses.

Instructors: Try OnTask in your course!

If you’d like to try teaching with OnTask, please contact the Learning Technology Hub, and we’ll set up an initial orientation meeting between you and a member of the Learning Analytics Project Team. Please note that it will take approximately one week for OnTask to be set up in your course.

Interested in further exploring learning analytics? Find out more about additional opportunities for instructors to get involved with learning analytics at UBC, including trying out the social network analysis tool Threadz or Canvas Analytics and Quiz Statistics.

Students: Learn more about learning analytics at UBC

Find out more about learning analytics at UBC and about how you can get involved with UBC’s Learning Analytics Project.