AOI | Learning Innovations

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Weekly Tip: Keeping Your Students on Track to Successful Course Completion

During this stressful time, it is easy for students to fall behind in their courses.  Here are a few ideas that instructors can use to help their students stay on track to a successful course completion:

  • Provide opportunity for formative assessment. Students need rich and frequent feedback to know how they are doing throughout the semester, and instructors can respond to student needs.    
  • Use polls, surveys or quizzes to help identify common misconceptions or challenges.
  • Use the Blackboard or Canvas gradebook so that students can see how they are doing.
    • Replace blanks with 0 to get the student’s attention.
  • Send a personal email to students who are missing or failing assignments and/or not attending and invite them to a one-on-one meeting. (Time saving tip: create email templates for various messages to your students)
  • Submit actual midterm grades, (Academic Regulation 88), not placeholders. This helps students determine their progress in a class and decide if dropping the course is an option.
  • Use the announcements feature in Blackboard or Canvas.
  • Encourage students to login to Blackboard or Canvas frequently by incorporating the following:
    • Attendance quizzes (completed before or after class)
    • Discussion boards
    • Panopto lessons for students to view before class meetings
    • Assignment submissions

For more on how Blackboard can be leveraged to provide early alert warnings regarding student performance visit Blackboard Course Reports Teaching Tool Box.  

Students will find helpful information on these sites:

Learn more from The Office of the Provost’s site for Early Academic Referrals.

This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing

For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.