Threadz is a learning analytics and social network analysis tool for Canvas that allows users to visualize the social dynamics of discussion forums. This tool is currently being offered as one of the UBC Learning Analytics Project’s tool pilots.

How Threadz Works

Threadz is a free, open-source tool developed by Eastern Washington University that works as a plugin tool for Canvas. Threadz is currently being piloted as part of the UBC Learning Analytics Project and is available for instructors to try in their courses.

Instructors can use Threadz to easily access data about activity in their discussion forums. Threadz can highlight whether students are actively engaged in discussions and whether they’re achieving the engagement goals that were set for their course.

Threadz network diagram.


Threadz can also draw attention to potential issues early on — such as learner isolation and instructor-centric discussions — providing insights that can help instructors reflect on and improve online discussions. The network diagram pictured above allows instructors to quickly identify individuals or groups that are isolated in a discussion, with orange nodes (circles) representing isolated learners (individuals who have posted but who haven’t received any replies).

Threadz can also highlight late posts, unread posts, post word count, and the total number of posts sent and received for any particular discussion topic.

Instructor View + Student View

Instructors have the option of deploying Threadz either exclusively as an instructor-facing tool or for both themselves and their students. Enabling the student view can support instructors in facilitating conversations with students about the factors that contribute to productive online discussions — something that can be particularly useful in fully online courses.

Threadz visualizations are designed to be intuitive and understood at a glance, which makes it easy for instructors and students to explore the dynamics of their online discussions.

Instructors: Use Threadz in Your Course

Threadz is currently being piloted at UBC and is available now for instructors to try in their courses. Instructors who would like to try Threadz can contact the Learning Technology Hub to request access. Want to learn more about Threadz before trying it out? Watch this screencast from Eastern Washington University to find out more about how this tool works.

Threadz is one of several learning analytics tools currently being piloted at UBC as part of the Learning Analytics Project. Learn more about other learning analytics tools currently available at UBC.

Students: Learn more about learning analytics at UBC

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