03 Feb 2017

"Is anyone actually reading this?!"

Have you ever had the feeling that you are spending time communicating with parents and students and they just aren’t reading it? Are they checking their email? Are they checking grades? Do they have a Canvas or Infinite Campus account set up? Did they watch that cool video I sent them?


Here are some ways that you can see how people are engaging with your resources you share:


Infinite Campus Portal Usage:

There is a report in Infinite Campus where you can view how often your students and parents access Infinite Campus to see who is engaged and who needs more support and encouragement in staying involved in checking grades. Simply go to Reports (Roster) and select a “Portal Usage” report from the drop-down menu. When you are generate the report, you’ll see when the last time a parent and student has been on Infinite Campus and how many times they have visited the site recently. Very insightful information can be gained for this!


Canvas Observers:

Your parents can create parent accounts to see grades, the to-do list, the calendar, and course content in Canvas. If you click on the People button in a course, you can see how many observers you have in your course as well as identify which students are being observed. You can also see how long they have been active in your course. This will give you a more targeted idea on which parents are already engaging with your courses and which could use some encouragement to get involved. While you are in looking at People, you can also see the total time they are actively using your course. There's also a brand new feature called Context Cards. If you click on a student in the People menu, you'll see how they interact in your course compared to other students in the class.


Canvas Analytics:

Canvas Analytics can give you a lot of information on how frequently students are engaging with your course. You can view analytics by student to see if they have missing or late work and how often they are viewing the course. You can also look at analytics for assignments to see how many students have it turned in, missing, or late. There’s a lot of great information to be gleaned from Analytics in Canvas! Simply click on the “view course analytics” button on your homepage to take a look. Or to view student analytics, click on People and then click on a student.


Short Link Generators - or

Using shortlink creators like and is useful for a number of reasons. It makes it easy for people to manually type in a link. The other benefit is you can track the number of clicks on a link created using one of those programs. allows you to customize the name of the link, while is quick and easy to use and has a QR code maker built in. Creating a short link and pasting it into an email or on your website lets you see how many people are engaging with that link. It can be a great tool to use when sending a link to a survey or video to see how many people clicked on it.



MailChimp allows you to create “campaigns” for sending emails. MailChimp automatically tracks who on the list opens the emails and who does not. Using a spreadsheet of names and emails or manually entering them one by one, you can create a mailing list to send to your parents and/or students. MailChimp also has a form you can put on your website so that people can sign up to be on your mailing list without needing to contact you. This very convenient, especially for coaches and advisors!

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