Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Using Early Warning System to Reduce Attrition in Online Learners

 One of the most important tools faculty can use to reduce attrition rate in non-traditional students enrolled in online courses is Blackboard's integrated tool - Early Warning System.  When set up properly, this tool alerts the instructor to students who are at-risk of failing their online course.

Here is how it works.  The instructor sets the criteria and can communicate the particular warning to the student(s).  In addition, the instructor has control over the message each time a warning is created, and also has the choice to use the default message or to modify it to more accurately communicate the seriousness of the situation.  By keeping track of online students' at-risk academic behavior, faculty can plan successful interventions that will scale down attrition rates and improve retention. 

It is still early in the semester and you have time to explore the use of this tool further.  If you are interested, go to for a handy help sheet on setting up an Early Warning System in your course or you may contact the Instructional Design Specialist that is assigned to your College, School or Department for additional assistance. 

Also, feel free to leave comments of your success of challenges in using this tool.  We would love to hear and learn from you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Five Communication Tips Using Blackboard's Announcement Page

Announcements can be used in a variety of ways to push important information to students in a single course and is one way for you to communicate to everyone in the course. In online and blended courses, they are the equivalent of standing at the podium and giving general information to the class.
Announcements are an important communication tool because they allow you to “write once so many can read.” This allows you to provide general information from a single location with the assurance that all students are receiving the information.
The Online Instructor Tips for Using Announcements in Online/Blended Courses:
1.      Use Announcements primarily for time-sensitive information (emergencies) and to talk to the entire class (general information).
2.      Develop a routine to post general information Announcements.
3.      Query your class about options such as pushing Announcement via email. This is a good feature for certain students and an annoyance for others.
4.      Learn how to “pin” an Announcement to the top of the Announcements page to control the order in which Announcements appear to students.
5.      Don’t use Announcements as your only communication tool in a course. 
We are constantly trying to think of new, innovative ways to communicate to online students, and would love to hear your comments, ideas, and what you are doing in your course.  Please add your comments below and thank you for reading.

Student Health Services Open House

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Student Health Services (Located next to the DPS in Hubbard Hall)

  • Tour Student Health Services and learn about their services

  • Receive Door Prizes

  • Munch on Healthy Snacks

Contact Student Health Services at 940.898.3826 for more information.