How are we going to monitor students on our online (face to face) courses?

Blackboard Retention CentreA number of recommendations came from a recent course validation event for an online only programme. One of the recommendations was the need to provide information to students and staff around the tools which would be used to monitor progress and allow use to be more proactive with respect to retention. I thought I might work up the answer in this space, and if you are a Blackboard Learn user, please add comments 🙂

The course is designed to integrate a number of short and regular formative tasks through the semester / module. With the real time, online webinars needing to integrate feedback slots for students to see worth in the activities and close the loop. These will use a range of tools within Blackboard, including a strong reliance on the Blackboard Quiz (with subjective questions), the Reflective Journal, and in the later modules the Wiki and Discussion Board. An advantage of the tool sets is they include the option to include them within the grade centre. This is the key for successful ongoing monitoring. Information, around completion, grade etc., can be drawn into Blackboard’s Retention Centre. This allows rules and conditions to be set to highlight students who meet certain conditions, ie., not completed a piece of work to a certain level, or below average course activity data or missed deadlines. The screenshot is from Blackboard’s Guide: Using the Retention Centre.

The screenshot illustrates the way the Retention Centre integrates the information, clusters individuals based on conditions and criteria, and allows you to easily contact these students.

The requirement for the successful use is the course team needs to design meaningful formative activities and create the right motivation focus for their students to engage within the activities.


One comment

  1. Matt (VLE Manager Southampton Uni)

    Hi Andy!

    The retention centre is very useful looking feature. I’m highlighting how it can be used to both students and staff.

    We have some guides about it here that may be of interest:

    One interesting part of the Retention Centre is it all shows instructor engagement with the course:

    There is an element of gamification there, the instructor may obseve the metrics of their own engagement and see how it compares with their students’ outcomes as shown in the Retention Centre.

    Hope all is well with you.


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