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Students include users enrolled with the student course role in Learn. Instructors are users in a course with a role different from student. Instructor includes instructors, facilitators, graders and teaching assistants.

Instructional presence is an important consideration in student success. (Richardson et al., 2015, p. 259). Regular and timely instructor activity can lead to greater student success. Keep in mind, how regular and timely an instructor is can depend on their course load.

The Instructional Practices report starts with tabs for each consideration that can show the level of instructor activity and presence. Select each tab to see the data for that consideration.

By default, the report opens on the Class size tab.

Filters to refine the report follow the tabs. After these controls are the visuals that show the data for the consideration visible.

Together, the data shows how present instructors are in their online courses. Use this information to make decisions around training, policies, intervention, staffing, events, and so on. 

Class Size

Class size can impact how present and engaged an instructor can be in their online course. The more learners an instructor has, the less time they have to focus on individual learners. Class size can effect:

  • Instructor engagement in social and collaborative activities
  • Instructor grading response time
  • Learning outcomes
  • Learner achievement and satisfaction
  • Ratings learners give their instructors

In their article on online education class size, Taft et al. (2019) discuss possible effects class size has on instructional presence, student engagement, grading timeliness, educational outcomes, student achievement and satisfaction, and course evaluations. 

Class size can impact how present and engaged an instructor can be in their online course. The more students instructors have, the less time they have to focus on individual students. Class size can affect: 

  • Instructor engagement in social and collaborative activities 

  • Instructor grading response time 

  • Learning outcomes 

  • Learner achievement and satisfaction 

  • Ratings learners give their instructors 

The Class size data shows the number of active students an instructor has in a course. 

The Minimum, Maximum, and Average Class size per instructor numbers are based on the number of students assigned to an individual instructor. The measure only counts courses with active students and active instructors. 

Screenshot of minimum, maximum, and average class size per instructor

The bars in the Course distribution by class size per instructor histogram measure the number of students per instructor, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the chart corresponds to a range of values for class size. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of the ranges. 

Active students are those students that have accessed and registered activity in the course. For instance, students who dropped or withdrew from the course after at least one day of activity are included. 

Use insights from Class size and Course distribution to identify academic units and courses where your instructor workload policies are not being followed and raise awareness about the impact this could be having in your instructors’ working conditions and your students’ learning conditions. 

Point to a bar in the histogram for more details

Screenshot of Course distribution by class per instructor bar graph

Course Access

Instructor immediacy behaviors—including availability, presence, communication, and compassion, are important considerations for student success in online courses. Huun and Kummero (2018) noted that availability, in particular, “is ever present in students’ expectations of [instructors] accessing their course and responding to student communications” (p. 2). A look at how instructors access their online courses can show their availability.

The Course access data shows the frequency with which instructors access their courses. Keep in mind, if a course has multiple instructors, this measure will consider data for all instructors enrolled in that course. 

The Minimum, Maximum, and Average frequency of instructor access numbers are based on the percentage of available days an instructor or instructors visit a course. If the course has ended, the percentage is based on the total days of the course from start to end. If the course is ongoing, the percentage is based on the number of days the course has been available so far. 

The Course distribution by frequency of instructor access histogram measures the percentage of available days an instructor or instructors visit a course, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the chart corresponds to a 10% band for the frequency of instructor access. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of the bands. 

Use insights from Course access to identify academic units and courses where the frequency of instructor access is below expectation and could be impacting the student experience. These insights can inform training or other interventions to increase the level of instructor presence in courses. 

Point to a bar in the histogram for more details.

Screenshot of Course access tab

Course Design and Organization

Instructional presence is defined as “the ‘methods’ that instructors use to create the quality online instructional experiences that support and sustain productive communities of inquiry” (Bangert, 2008, p. 40); and includes online course design and organization activities (Richardson et al., 2015).

The Course design and organization data shows the amount, category, and type of course content items used by instructors and how much content is accessed by students. Course item count is a measure that serves as an indicator for the maturity of the course design and organization, and the usage of Learn.

The Minimum, Maximum, and Average course item count numbers are based on the number of items per course. Course items include: 

  • Assessment: Assessment items used in a course. Includes assignments, tests, and surveys.
  • Content: Instructional course items used in a course, including syllabi, file attachments, learning modules, SCORM packages, and links to third-party content or tools.
  • Tool: Course tool items used in a course, including announcements, discussion forums, wikis, blogs, and journals.

The Course distribution by course item count histogram measures the number of course items per course, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the chart corresponds to a range of values for course item count. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of those ranges.

Point to a bar in the histogram for more details.

Screenshot Minimum,Maximum, Average course item count and Course distribution by course item count

Course Item Count by Category and Type Table

The Course item count by category and type table shows the Minimum, Maximum and Average course item count, along with an Average for the percentage of course items accessed by students per course, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected.  

For an individual course, the percentage is based on the number of items in that course. When aggregated for more than one course, it is an average. The percentage shows if learners are using and engaging with the content available to them. 

Select the column headings to sort the table.

Screenshot Course item count by category and type table

 

Use insights from Course design and organization to identify academic units and courses where the creation and use of course items are below expectations and could be impacting learning conditions for students.  

The visuals also provide perspective about the overall use of course item types, especially assessments and tools, which indicate a more mature and sophisticated course design and use of Learn. These insights can inform training or other interventions to increase the creation and use of high-impact capabilities in courses.

Instruction and Facilitation

The instruction and facilitation data starts with instructor presence in social and collaborative learning activities and ends with instructor engagement in synchronous Collaborate sessions.

Instructor Presence in Social and Collaborative Learning Activities 

Instructional presence is an important consideration in learner success. Engagement in social and collaborative learning activities makes online instructors real to learners (Richardson et al., 2015, p. 259). 

Instructor social/collaborative learning interaction count is a measure of the number of clicks and page loads instructors have in social and collaborative learning activities in a course. Social and collaborative learning activities include: 

  1. Discussions
  2. Blogs
  3. Journals
  4. Wikis

These activities require instructors to be present and facilitate discourse with learners. Keep in mind, if a course has multiple instructors, this measure will consider data for all instructors enrolled in that course.

Use the drop-down control to select the measure to display in visuals, based on your selected parameter value — total interaction count or weekly average interaction count. Total interaction count is the default value.  

Screenshot measure to display drop down menu

 

The Course distribution by instructor social/collaborative learning interaction count histogram measures the number of clicks and page loads in social and collaborative learning activities, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the chart corresponds to a range of values for instructor social/collaborative learning interaction count. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of those ranges. 

Point to a bar in the histogram for more details.

Screenshot of course distribution by instructor social and collaboration learning interaction count bar graph

If you don't use Blackboard Collaborate, no data is shown. 

Select the column headings to sort the table.

 

Use insights from Instructor presence in social and collaborative learning activities to identify academic units and courses where instructors’ level of presence in social and collaborative learning activities is below expectation, and that could be impacting learning conditions for students. These insights can inform training or other interventions to increase the level of instructor presence in courses. 

Instructor Engagement in Synchronous Collaborate Sessions 

Chen et al. (2019) and Martin and Bolliger (2018) found direct instruction, with a synchronous tool like Collaborate, creates a sense of presence in online courses. Synchronous sessions enable instructors to share knowledge, actively engage with many learners at once, build relationships, and create an online community.

Instructor time in Collaborate sessions is a measure for the aggregate per course, of the duration in minutes, for synchronous sessions using Collaborate, in which both students and instructors were present. Keep in mind, if a course has multiple instructors, this measure will consider data for all instructors enrolled in that course. 

Use the drop-down control to select the measure to display in visuals, based on your selected parameter value — total minutes or weekly average minutes. Total minutes is the default value. 

The Course distribution by instructor time in Collaborate sessions histogram measures the aggregate of minutes for synchronous sessions using Collaborate, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the  corresponds to a range of values for instructor minutes in Collaborate sessions. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of those ranges.

Screenshot instructor time in collaborate sessions

Use Insights from instructor engagement in synchronous Collaborate sessions to identify academic units and courses where instructors’ presence via synchronous sessions using Collaborate is below expectation, and that could be impacting learning conditions for students. These insights can inform training or other interventions to increase instructors’ engagement in virtual live instruction and facilitation sessions. 

If you don't use Blackboard Collaborate, no data is shown.

Grading and Assessment

Instructional presence is an important consideration in student success. Instructional presence includes instructor activity in grading and providing formative/summative feedback in assessments (Richardson et al., 2015; Shea et al., 2010).

Metrics that describe instructional presence in assessments includes timelines in grading turnaround, which is commonly considered and assessed by institutions as a standard of instructor performance in online courses (Berg & Shaw, 2019).

The Grading and assessment data shows how timely instructors evaluate students course work. Grading turnaround time is a measure of how long, in average number of days, it takes an instructor to grade assignments in a course.

The course distribution by grading turnaround time histogram measures the average number of days it takes an instructor to grade assignments in a course, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. Each bar in the chart corresponds to a range of values for average number of days for grading turnaround time per course. The Y-axis represents how many courses fall into each of those ranges. 

Screenshot course distribution by grading turnaround time bar graph

Point to a bar in the histogram for more details.

 

The grading turnaround time, in days, by assignment type table shows the minimum, maximum and average for the average number of days of grading turnaround time per course, in days, by assignment submission type, across all courses within the filters you’ve selected. 

Select the column headings to sort the table.

Screenshot grading turnaround time, in days, by assignment type table

 

Use insights from Grading and assessment to identify academic units and courses where grading turnaround time policies are not being followed, and that could be impacting learning conditions for students. These insights can inform training or other interventions to improve grading turnaround time. 

 

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