Using Blackboard’s Retention Center along with Course Signals allows instructors to see how students are currently performing in a course as well as predict student success based on current behaviors. If you would like to identify those students who are logging in much later than their peers in the beginning of the semester, the Retention Center can identify them and allow you to send those students a message encouraging them to log in. It can also help instructor’s flag individuals so they can monitor specific students. The rule creation and editing tools help to customize and fine tune how you want to group students and which behaviors you want to watch. Instructors can select the grades they desire to monitor, how many days are acceptable to go without logging in, and if they want to be alerted when deadlines are missed. Rules can be added such as to identify high achieving students and rules can be deleted and easily activated again.
Faculty who use Retention Center are able to monitor current activity or inactivity, depending on the situation. Those who use Course Signals as well are able to predict future behavior if students continue on their projected path based on current activity. By virtue of instructors providing feedback to students via Course Signals, advisors are also able to monitor and intervene with their advises who are in courses using Course Signals. Course Signals, unlike the Retention Center, divides students into three groups, allowing for a middle group of students who are neither high performing nor low performing. This at-risk group of students, identified by the yellow signal, can be shown resources in their messages that are sent with their signal, which can help them pull themselves out of this risk area.
Having both tools available gives instructors the ability to use whichever tool best fits their needs or even both tools. No matter the size of the course, the monitoring tools within the Retention Center can provide valuable information as to the details of your group right now. Course Signals can help determine if your students are on a path to success. Both tools, particularly when used together, give instructors a powerful resource in providing student feedback.
For additional information comparing Retention Center with Course Signals: http://www.itap.purdue.edu/learning/innovate/hdiseries/bbanalyticsvssignals.html