Skip to main content

EDUCAUSE Webinar | Building Terracotta: A Platform for Conducting Randomized Controlled Experiments in the LMS

When: On-Demand: Event Posted October 18, 2021
Complimentary Online Briefing

EDUCAUSE-logoThis webinar is a part of the EDUCAUSE Industry & Campus Solutions series.


One of the most urgent questions in education research is “What kinds of learning activities improve student success?” Unfortunately, even with terabytes of data gushing out of our e-learning systems, we still have trouble inferring what works. This is because relationships between learning activities and student success are just correlational—a learning activity might cause students to succeed, but it’s also possible that successful students are just more likely to engage in the learning activity. To identify what works, we need more than data—we need to be able to conduct experiments.

Indiana University’s Ben Motz (the brain behind Terracotta) and Unicon (the brawn) worked for 3 months to create a proof of concept tool that integrates with Canvas LMS. This tool utilizes the latest technology which includes a Vue front-end, Java back-end, Caliper data emission, and LTI 1.3 interoperability. These technologies were selected for their versatility and scalability, and enabled Terracotta for seamless integration with other LMS providers. Terracotta removes the technology barriers and provides teachers with seamless tooling to enable real-time experiments, and research to foster effective data collection and decision-making.

In this session, we describe the vision for enabling teachers and researchers to easily run experiments in their classes, and unveil Terracotta, the product of a collaboration between Indiana University and Unicon.

The event with Indiana University, The Learning Agency Lab, and Unicon is ready to view below. Find out what Terracotta is, how it will help researchers and educators, see a demonstration of an experiment using the tool, and get answers to questions posed by the audience.


  • Become familiar with the importance of experimental research in education and the challenges to conducting experiments on learning and instruction
  • Gain insights into the process of turning a product vision into working software
  • Learn how experimental research designs can turn conventional learning data streams into powerful tools for identifying what works
  • Be among the first to see Terracotta, a platform that enables rigorous and responsible experimental research in the LMS

We’re excited to be working with the folks at Terracotta and tell our story of how this application is simplifying experimental research on teaching and learning. After you watch the webinar recording, check out Terracotta’s website to learn more about this innovative new open source platform.


Ben Motz Director, eLearning Research and Practice Laboratory. Research Scientist, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University

Aigner Picou - Program Director, The Learning Agency Lab

Patty Wolfe - Senior Director, Applications, Integrations, and Data, Unicon, Inc.

Who Should Watch?

CIOs, Deans, Researchers, Teachers, Faculty, LMS Administrators, Developers, K-12 District Technology Specialists

Resources and Downloads

Terracotta Webinar Slides

Terracotta Webinar Transcript

Contact Us to Begin Your Evaluation