I attended a useful workshop today on the Blackboard Retention Centre, which I was aware of before, but never really looked at. However, it looks like it could be quite useful.
Perhaps the reason it doesn’t look immediately useful is that the initial options set up automatically by the retention centre are too broad. When I first noticed the alerts, I had about 750. If I have two groups of students doing labs at different times, but was too lazy to set up groups, then half the class flag an alert.
Therefore first task will be to turn off all alerts and customize new much more specific ones that I want.
What do I want? After the first week of flipping, a handful of students didn’t access the screencast or do the quiz. I trawled through the data, identified these students, and sent them all an email. The next week, uptake was better, so this strategy worked. It was time consuming though, so the first rule I create in the retention centre will be to flag any students who doesn’t do the specific weekly quiz each week. I don’t think I can flag if a student hasn’t accessed the weekly video, but can flag any student who hasn’t logged in in the previous seven days. These obviously can’t have watched the video nor done the quiz. From a pastoral point of view, flagging students who score below average in the quiz means I can contact them and see where they need help.
The nice thing is that these rules we create bundle together students in particular categories, and with a click of the mouse, you can email that group. It looks like it will be a very efficient process.
We also considered a way of uploading the spreadsheet of in-class attendance, and including that in the retention alerts.
All in all, a very useful workshop! The video with introductory details about the retention centre is here: