The myUMBC Check My Activity (CMA) feedback tool allows students to compare their own Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) activity to an anonymous summary of course peers. If instructors use the LMS grade book, students can also compare their own activity with peers earning the same, higher or lower grade on any assignment. Why might they want to do so? Since 2007, UMBC students earning a D or F have used the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) about 40% less than students earning a C or higher. More info.

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To be clear, students' digital footprints in Blackboard are simply a proxy for their engagement in a class. Social science research has used proxies for concepts that are difficult to measure (e.g., well-being, socio-economic status, etc.). Also, while grades in a course are definitive in terms of student success through courses and semesters over time they can occur to late in a current term to be actionable by students – or even faculty, advisors and others who might wish to help them. As such, the CMA merely provides students with a dashboard of how their digital engagement in a tool used by most courses, instructors and other students compares to a class average. For more resources on how to improve one's engagement in a course, please see the Academic Support Center's "Student Resources."

Tell Me - Definitions

  • Hits - Every time you view a file, post to a discussion, or read an announcement, that is considered a hit.
  • Rank For Students: This is where your activity in a Bb course places you among all students in the course. It is NOT a grade, but a student with a higher rank is more active than one with a lower rank, compared to course peers. You will also see (by color code) if your activity is above, below or within 20% of the Bb course average.
    For Faculty: This is where your Bb course's average student activity places you among all Bb courses in your discipline.

    Important: Rank is ONLY a measure of activity, not quality.
  • Sessions - Every time you log in to a Blackboard course, that is considered a new session.
  • Grade Distribution Report - If your instructor uses the Bb grade book, this report will show how your own activity compares with those who earned the same, higher or lower grade on any assignment.

Tell Me - Selected References

Fritz, J. (2017). "Using Analytics to Nudge Student Responsibility for Learning." In New Directions for Higher Education, 2017 (179), 65–75. version (login req'd).

Forteza, D., Whitmer, J., Fritz, J., & Green, D. (2018). Improving Risk Predictions | Blackboard Analytics [Case Study]. Blackboard.

Fritz, John, Thomas Penniston, Mike Sharkey, and John Whitmer. (2021). “Scaling Course Design as a Learning Analytics Variable.” In Blended Learning Research Perspectives, 1st ed. Vol. 3. New York: Routledge, 2021. | UMBC-only version (login req'd).

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