Keep Your Eyes on the Dashboard

Posted by Christopher Stormer on November 20, 2015

Dashboard of Car with Fuzzy Dice

Your car's dashboard has some helpful information to keep you driving smoothly-- how fast you're going and how much gas you've got left to get there!  Blackboard also has a dashboard to help you keep you monitor your courses, and this short post will help you get started.

As we near the end of the semester, your courses in Blackboard have become full of student submissions, discussion board posts, and, of course, your feedback and grading. There is a lot in there to keep track of! One thing about Blackboard is that there are often multiple ways to access the same information-- and in this post I'd like to introduce you to a tool called the "Performance Dashboard".  This tool lets you get a quick view of student activity in your course.  

Performance Dashboard

To access the dashboard, in your Course Management Menu, go to "Evaluation --> Performance Dashboard". 

You'll be presented with a list of your students, with information about their last course access time, the number of discussion board posts they've posted,  and some customizable alerts related to course deadlines or grades.

This information is a great window into student activity-- but you can click on some of the columns in order to get more detailed information about each student's work in the course. 

Performance Dashboard

  • Clicking on the number of discussion posts brings up a list of posts that includes information like the average number of words per post. You can even click on through to view the full-text of each post.  This is a great way to look in detail at one student's work-- and is a great tool when doing end of course assessments or feedback on participation, or when you are working with a struggling student to help identify areas in which they should focus their attention.
  • Clicking on the grades link takes you directly to that student's row in your Grade Center, so you can move from a birds-eye view of course participation into the details of a student's work.
  • Clicking in the "Retention Center" column takes you to a customizable page where you can configure alerts to notify you if a student has missed deadlines, isn't logging in to the online course site regularly, or has a poor cumulative grade.

The Retention Center is a subject worthy of its own post, but the cross-linking here between the tools that Blackboard offers is an example of how you can take advantage of features you are already using in Blackboard in order to give you insight into your students' study and work habits. Identifying students who are falling behind early in the course is the first step to getting them the resources they need to succeed.

For more information and a video about using the Performance Dashboard, take a look at the Blackboard Help Site for Instructors. And, as always, if you have any questions, you can always contact us at