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Understanding Time Zones and the Time Zone Selector

When you run reports, in order to accurately interpret date/time results you should:

  • Understand how Skillport tracks dates and times.
  • Understand how date filters work.
  • Understand the difference between Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and local times.

Note: UTC is the time standard commonly used across the world. The world's timing centers have agreed to keep their time scales closely synchronized - or coordinated - therefore the name Coordinated Universal Time. For more information, see http://www.thetimenow.com/utc/coordinated_universal_time.

Time Zones

Since Skillport users can be located anywhere in the world, all learner activity is recorded in UTC time. This includes all asset activity dates, and all registration and log in dates. Additionally, all date filters in Reporting use UTC time to filter results. This can cause confusion, especially with date-limited reports because UTC-based date filters will not line up with other time zones. For example, a user may complete a course on the assigned due date according to their local time zone, but appear to miss the deadline according to UTC time.

Example

Assume you manage four users living in two different locations, and all four complete Course 1 on May 31st. Table 1: Course Completions indicates the learners’ locations and when they completed the course.

Table 1: Course Completions

User

Location

Date/Time Completed Course 1

 

 

User's Local Time

UTC Time

A

New York

Thu   May 31   4:00 PM

Thu    May 31    8:00 PM

B

New York

Thu   May 31   9:00 PM

Fri     Jun 1      1:00 AM

C

Los Angeles

Thu   May 31   2:00 PM

Thu    May 31    9:00 PM

D

Los Angeles

Thu   May 31   8:00 PM

Fri     Jun 1      3:00 AM

Note: UTC does not change for Daylight Savings Time (DST). For locations using DST, the UTC offset will change twice a year. This is a sample table only. Date and time differences are approximate and may not reflect exact times.

Run the Report

Today is June 4th.  You want to confirm that your users completed Course 1 before the end of May, so you run the Learning Activity > Asset Activity by User report with the following filters applied:

  • Activity DatesPrevious 1 Month(s)  - Captures the entire previous month.
  • To DateUnchecked - Does not include the current month, so the report end date will be May 31st, 11:59:59 PM.  
  • Completion StatusCompleted  – Limits the data to courses that had a completed status within the Activity Date range.
  • Time Zone: Unchecked – Date and time values are displayed in UTC time.
  • Time StampChecked – Displays the time of the event along with the date.

When you run the report, the results indicate users A and C have completed the course, but there are no results for users B and D, as indicated in Table 2: First Report Results.

Table 2: First Report Results

User

Asset Title

Completion Date

Completion Status

A

Course 1

2015-05-31 20:00:00

Completed

C

Course 1

2015-05-31 21:00:00

Completed

Explanation 

The report was filtered to only return data for courses that have a status of Completed, and the Activity Date filters were set to only return data for activity that occurred during the month of May. These combined filter settings returned data for all courses that had a status of Completed, between May 1st 12:00:00 and May 31st 11:59:59 UTC.

Since Skillport records and filters dates using UTC, users B and D did not complete the course in May. They both completed the course on June 1st, UTC. Therefore, as of May 31st 11:59:59 PM, they did not have a status of Completed, so their data was rightfully excluded.

Rerunning the report with Completion Status set to Any will include users B and D in the results, but their Completion Status will be In Progress because that was their status as of the end date of the Activity Date Range, as shown in Table 3: Second Report Results.

Table 3: Second Report Results

User

Asset Title

Completion Date

Completion Status

A

Course 1

2015-05-31 20:00:00

Completed

B

Course 1

 

In Progress

C

Course 1

2015-05-31 21:00:00

Completed

D

Course 1

 

In Progress

If you extend the end date of the report, you can capture data for May 31st in all time zones. Use the From and To Date filter to set the end date at least 2 days after the end of the month. This ensures the most recent database refresh has captured the desired data. Table 4: Third Report Results shows the results of running the report with the new settings.

Table 4: Third Report Results

User

Asset Title

Completion Date

Completion Status

A

Course 1

2015-05-31 20:00:00

Completed

B

Course 1

2015-06-01 01:00:00

Completed

C

Course 1

2015-05-31 21:00:00

Completed

D

Course 1

2015-06-01 03:00:00

Completed

The Time Zone Selector

The Time Zone selector allows you to display date and time results in a selected time zone. Selecting this option only affects the displayed results; Skillport still uses UTC to filter the data. When you run a report, the Activity Dates and other date filters are applied first using UTC time, and then the display of the results is converted to the selected time zone. 

Example

Again, using our first example from Table 1: Course Completions, we have four users who completed a course on May 31st.

Table 1: Course Completions

User

Location

Date/Time Completed Course 1

 

 

User's Local Time

UTC Time

A

New York

Thu   May 31   4:00 PM

Thu    May 31    8:00 PM

B

New York

Thu   May 31   9:00 PM

Fri     Jun 1      1:00 AM

C

Los Angeles

Thu   May 31   2:00 PM

Thu    May 31    9:00 PM

D

Los Angeles

Thu   May 31   8:00 PM

Fri     Jun 1      3:00 AM

If you run the report filtered for completions in May and select Eastern Time, you will see the two users who completed the course in May (filtered by UTC), with the Completion Date/Time in Eastern time, as shown in Table 5: Results in Eastern Time.

Table 5: Results in Eastern Time

User

Asset Title

Completion Date

Completion Status

A

Course 1

2015-05-31 16:00:00

Completed

C

Course 1

2015-05-31 17:00:00

Completed