Product Overview
We’re committed to making Terracotta available to as many people as possible, which is why it’s open source, and why new features are designed with the goal of improving the platform’s accessibility.

Feature Overview

Informed consent
Terracotta weaves informed consent into the process of experiment creation, stores participants’ decisions, and assigns them accordingly.
Random assignment
To maintain a study’s integrity and minimize bias, Terracotta randomly assigns students to different experimental conditions.
Deidentified data export
While manually deidentifying data and excluding non-participants is an arduous task, Terracotta does this work for you automatically.
Mapping outcomes onto experimental treatments
Terracotta links your experimental assignment directly to a gradebook item or teacher-reported score so you can determine if your assignment intervention has the desired result.

How do I get Terracotta activated at my school?

Terracotta currently integrates with the Canvas learning management system (we have plans to build integrations with other LMS’s). To get Terracotta activated at your school, you’ll need to ask your local Canvas administrator to hook Terracotta up. If your school asks for contact information, we can be reached at

I have Terracotta. Now what?

Note: An experiment in Terracotta may require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, depending on the goals of your research. If you aren’t sure, reach out to your principal or department chair.

When you create your first experiment, Terracotta will walk you through a sequence of design decisions (determining the number of treatment conditions, the experiment design, the informed consent procedures, etc.). The experiment builder has three sections: design, participation, and assignments.

When conducting an experiment within Terracotta, a teacher differentiates Canvas activities for different students. In doing so, some students will receive versions of assignments and learning resources that differ from their peers' assignments. To minimize concerns about fairness, consider the following recommendations:
Use "Informed Consent" in Terracotta so that only students who volunteer to participate will receive the experimental manipulation.
Use the "All Conditions" design option in Terracotta so that all students receive all versions of manipulated assignments, but in different orders.
Ensure that all experimental versions reflect pedagogically sound instructional strategies. Do not expose students to variations that are known to be less effective.
Avoid manipulating high-stakes assessments or pivotally important learning experiences.
Provide additional opportunities for students to learn the material outside the scope of the experiment.
Emphasize to students that you are available to answer any questions, and that your availability and your responses will not be manipulated as part of your research.

I’m a Canvas Admin. How do I install Terracotta?

You have two options. First, since Terracotta is fully open-source, you can host your own instance of Terracotta, and handle your own integration. Or, if you’d prefer, you can use our free service. We host a multi-tenant instance in the AWS cloud, and we’d be happy for you to join the party. Contact us at

Terracotta will require a scoped LTI 1.3 developer key. Our HECVAT is available upon request. Institutions have the option of subscribing to an event service (IMS Global’s Caliper standard) to record live activity data within Terracotta. Additional details are listed in Terracotta’s Instructure Partners page.