Recently Oklahoma’s public radio KOSU carried a report on using digital tools to address the issue of student dropout in high schools. There is no reason why such methods cannot be applied in the higher education context. “A stitch in time saves nine.” Certain digital tools can help you identify potential performance issues before they get worse. Here are a few Blackboard tools worth considering for student performance improvement and remediation, and ultimately, student retention.
- Flag scores in the danger zones: Blackboard Grade Center offers the option for you to color-code students grades. You can set up a color-coding schemes (Grade Center–> manage –> grading color codes –>grade ranges –> add criteria ) to highlight scores below a certain level so that it is possible for you to pay special attention or to find remedial methods for particular students.
- Use Blackboard’s “early warning” system: You can create an “early warning” rule in Blackboard (Control panel –> Evaluation –> Early Warning System –> Create Rule) to monitor student grade, access and/or missed due dates for their homework. This can be especially helpful if you have large classes and you cannot see at a glance from the Grade Center how everybody is doing.
- Check attendance and participation: You can run course reports (Control Panel –> Evaluation–> Course Reports) which can tell you exactly how much student participate in your course in Blackboard, for instance, how often they log in, when was the last time they accessed the course, how many posts they have contributed in the discussion forum etc. You can also run reports on certain individuals when you suspect of performance problems. Using this tool presumes that you have set “tracking views” for the content or activities you created. Therefore, when you see “tracking views”, check “yes”. It won’t hurt anything even if you don’t use it.
- Selective release of content or course activities: Selective release is a highly useful tool that can be used in a variety of scenarios. As the name suggests, the feature allows you to “selectively” release certain content to certain students at certain time. For instance, you can set up a selective release rule for an exam in a way that only one student in class can take it (for instance, if this student has had very special personal circumstances that warrants such release.) This can be used for remedial purposes as well. Content/activities can be released to particular students or groups of students while the rest of the class can proceed at a pace you normally set for the class. You can set selective release for folders, content, tests, assignments and almost any other activities in Blackboard.