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Course Signals

Research has shown that messages sent by instructors using the communication system Course Signals, inspire, and motivate students who are not utilizing their time in class. 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.

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.

Used By:  

 Instructors, Advisors

Workstation Installation:
Application is web-based. Association with Blackboard by instructors is all that is necessary. Advisors need to log in using the link below.

Course Signals Login

Read more about Course Signals

Course Signals

Who Can Use this Application?

Instructors use Course Signals to detect early warning signs so feedback can be provided to assist students in their success. Advisors can also log into Course Signals to check on the status of their advisees who are enrolled in courses using Course Signals once a signal has been run. Instructors and advisors can both send email to associated students within Course Signals. Students do not directly use Course Signals but can view their signal within Blackboard.

Using Course Signals In Your Class 

Using Course Signals in your course encourages communication between faculty and students. It provides a way for prompt feedback to be given in the form of their signal and the associated email message, which can communicate high expectations and emphasize time on task. Chickering and Gamson target these factors as key components for good practice in undergraduate education (1991).

Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. E. (1991). Appendix a: seven principals for good practice in undergraduate education. New Direction for Teaching and Learning. 47, 63-69. doi:10.1002/tl.37219914708

For more information about good practice in undergraduate education, click here. For a video description of Course Signals for a student audience, click here.

Comparison with Blackboard's Retention Center

For a comparison of Blackboard's Retention Center with Course Signals, click here

Workstation Installation

If you are using Blackboard Learn, you just need to associate the Course Signals tool with your course. This PDF has directions in how to do this.  

Training and Support

Workshops are posted on the ITaP Catalog page (under the heading "Feedback Tools for Instructors") as well as on the Resources and Workshop Course Signals web page. Individual consultations can be requested here. 


Due to requests from faculty using Course Signals, PassNote was created to assist in the composition of research-based feedback for students. For more about PassNote, click here.