Embedded Data Fields Guide

Modified on Thu, 21 Mar 2024 at 11:55 AM

This article explains everything you need to know about embedded data fields: what they are, how to activate them, how to place them in a survey, and where to see the collected data.


What are embedded data fields?

Embedded data fields are pieces of information that can be collected when someone takes a survey. The data is associated with their Canvas account/course, and can be collected in the background with every survey submission. 

Types of data that can be collected usually relate to either the person taking the survey or the Canvas course, such as student name, student or course SIS ID, instructor name, and course name (along with many other options). Because this data can be collected automatically, it is then not necessary to have questions asking students to fill in their name or select their instructor or course. 

A list of commonly used embedded data fields can be found here

Note that the embedded data fields that are available for use within your institution must first be added by your root account/institute admins. If there is a specific data field that you would like to have access to, please contact your Canvas root account/institute admin. 

Where can I access and add embedded data fields for my institution? [Institute Admins Only] 

Institute admins can choose which data fields are available for use in their institution. To allow data fields for use, go to the Qualtrics LTI Institute Admin account within Canvas. Click on the “Menu” button in the top right corner, then click “Data fields.” 

Here you can add new data fields with the blue button “+ Add Data Field” and edit or delete existing data fields with the pencil or trash icons on the right hand side (see the images below). Then, in the pop-up window, you can name a data field, add an optional description, choose the data type (fixed vs. selection – see more information on this below), and then select the parameter from the dropdown menu.

Note that fixed data fields are “copyable,” meaning that you can easily copy a survey into multiple courses without having to edit that data field. These are typically things like student name or course ID – fields that depend on the launch of a user and do not need any additional configuration. Meanwhile, selection data fields DO need additional configuration and are not able to be copied into multiple courses (thus they cannot be used in Bulk Surveys). An example of a commonly used selection data field is the “Faculty Selection” property. If you have a course evaluation survey and multiple instructors, you must select which instructor to review. 

If you would like to add a specific data field that does not already exist, please contact your root account admin or our Qualtrics LTI support team so that they can add the proper developer key. Here is a list of commonly used embedded data fields that you can add to the Qualtrics LTI.

Where can I access and activate embedded data fields for a specific survey?

When you click into the survey settings page from the Qualtrics LTI, you will see something similar to following screen: 

  1. Here you can see if you are in Institute Surveys, Department Surveys, or Your Personal Surveys. 

  2. This shows the survey name.

  3. This tab bar defaults to the “Details” page. You can toggle between survey Details, Settings, Data Fields, and also see Linked Assignments (which Canvas assignments the survey is in). 

  4. By clicking this link you can go directly to the survey in your Qualtrics account. 

To activate embedded data fields for a survey, click on the “Data Fields” tab. If no data fields have been activated for the survey yet, the page will look like the screenshot below: 

From here, click on the “+ Activate data fields” button. 

A pop-up window will appear, and from there you can select the data fields you would like to activate by clicking the checkboxes on the left-hand side. Finally, click “Activate data fields” in the bottom right corner. See the GIF below for a full walkthrough of how to activate embedded data fields for a survey:

Finally, back on the main “Data fields” tab, if you would like to deactivate a data field (so that the data is no longer collected for each survey submission), simply click on the “Deactivate” button to the right of each data field. 

Can I create my own data fields? 

Yes! If you want to add your own Data Field name you can do so by clicking the “Custom text” option and add the name there. We advise that you choose a name that is clear and easy for you and your colleagues who will be working with the Qualtrics LTI.

A common use case for the “Custom text” field is to be able to evaluate multiple instructors in an end-of-course survey across multiple courses. For this instance, you can duplicate the custom text field and rename them to be called “Instructor 1” and “Instructor 2” (and add more fields if necessary). This is mainly used for Bulk Surveys to allow them to be copyable into multiple courses – since the Faculty Selection Data Field is a selection field, it is not copyable and thus cannot be used in Bulk surveys. This Custom Text field provides a workaround for this in Bulk surveys. 

You can do this by activating the “Custom text” data field, and then duplicating and renaming it to suit your needs. 

How can I place embedded data within a survey question? 

Inserting the embedded data into survey questions is a great way to personalize surveys and to reduce survey length. For example, if one of the active embedded data fields is the student’s name, it is no longer necessary to ask for students to fill in their name in a question. 

Note that adding embedded data into a question is optional – as long as an embedded data field is active for a survey, that data will be collected in the background regardless of whether or not it is included within a survey question. 

In order to add an embedded data field to a question, first go to the survey in Qualtrics. Next, click in the text where you want the data field to appear. Click “Piped text ” and then click “Embedded Data Field.” Search for the data field you want to add (e.g., Student First Name, Course Name, etc.). Lastly, click “Insert.” 

See the screenshot and GIF below for more information. Note that the examples below show adding the “Student First Name” embedded data field into the introduction text of a survey, but the steps of clicking “Piped text > Embedded Data Field > Insert” are the same for each data field that you would like to add to a question. 

Once the data field has been added to a question, it will appear in the survey editor as a string of letters, symbols, and numbers. However, once the student launches the survey, they will see the data field content. Using the instructions in example survey from the GIF above, if a student’s name is John, they will open the survey and see the text “Hello John! Welcome to the Training Survey for Qualtrics LTI…” 

Once you have edited the survey in Qualtrics to contain the embedded data within your desired questions, make sure to publish the survey again. This ensures that the most recent version of the survey is available for use in Canvas. 

Where can I access and analyze the collected embedded data? 

The survey results and embedded data fields are stored in Qualtrics. Survey responses can also be stored in Canvas SpeedGrader (depending on how you configure the survey settings), but the embedded data fields can always be viewed in the Qualtrics Data & Analysis page. Here you can click on “Column Chooser” > “Embedded Data” and then select the data fields you would like to see in the results table. See the image below for what this looks like in Qualtrics. For more information on Data & Analysis in Qualtrics, please see this page

In Canvas, you can more easily view the results of one student at a time. If SpeedGrader is enabled, you can view the marks there as well.  

If you would like to have a more detailed view of the results, Qualtrics dashboards may be of interest to you. Please see this page for more information on dashboards. 


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