Frequently asked questions: Getting your questions answered
Hear from past and present faculty who have used Course Signals. We asked Frank Dooley, Larry DeBoer, and Jenna Sebold, three faculty who have used Course Signals in the past, to address some of the frequently asked questions we receive about Course Signals.
What is Course Signals? Course Signals detects early warning signs and provides interventions to students who may not be performing to the best of their abilities before they reach a critical point. The Course Signals program works best when instructors want to provide individual feedback but don’t have a good way to do so, especially in large enrollment classes. With Course Signals, students are provided with customized feedback that can help them make informed decisions about their academic performance early in the semester.
When an instructor runs Course Signals, each student is assigned to a risk group. These risk groups are denoted by one of three colors-green (not at risk), yellow (may be at risk) or red (at risk) icons that are released to the student’s Blackboard course page. When students see the icon, they get an immediate, clear, and effective indicator of how they are doing in the class, with accompanying information on what the rating means and what they may do to improve their performance.
Research has shown that messages sent by instructors using Course Signals inspire and motivate students who are not wisely using their time. These messages provide early intervention and may improve student performance by as much as a whole letter grade. Course Signals can also help failing students improve their grade and aid in the retention of students who are considering dropping. This communication system can help students be more successful in your courses.
How does using Course Signals help you as an instructor?
When do you run interventions & why is it important to run Course Signals early & often?
How long does it take to run an intervention & what steps are involved?
What is the advantage to Course Signals using more than just grades?
Does Course Signals ever experience outages? The maintenance window for Blackboard is on Saturdays between 7:00 pm - 1:00 am. The Banner maintenance window is also on Saturday but between 4:00 pm - 12:00 am. If Course Signals needs to be maintained, we try to use the Blackboard maintenance window. Course Signals will be unavailable to users if either of the systems it draws information from is being maintained such as Blackboard or Banner. Maintenance seldom takes the entire window allowed and does not occur every Saturday. Maintenance needing to be done outside of these windows will be communicated to users via email. Course Signals is also unavailable to users between semesters. Banner and Blackboard must have active information for Course Signals to be able to function as designed.