How can you make something that is structured, rigid and tradition, more dynamic and fun? That is the challenge that I've been given when Blackboard is my CMS, and game-based learning is my pedagogical strategy. In this series of posts, I will share some of the critical tools and changes I made to the default Blackboard structure. What was most critical to the entire design? Adaptive Release.
A little bit about my CI 202 course. There are about 100 students each semester from different secondary certification areas required to take this instructional technology course. I had challenges getting the course to relate to this diverse group, and I implemented a game-based learning method in spring of 2013. Student feedback was good, and comments clearly showed what was working and what wasn't. The students enjoyed the online portion in Blackboard, but it took some serious changes to make it work for my needs. The first modification I will share with you is Adaptive Release.
This function allows you, the instructor, to determine how and when items are shown to students. When you create an item, you can right click to show the menu and your options for this feature. The basic version (simply "Adaptive Release) will release the items when a criteria is met. For this, you can pick ONE of FOUR choices:
I use this simple version for adaptive feedback after students take quizzes. Here's how it works: Each week in my course is organized within a Blackboard module. Student follow through the modules pages, including a take-home, randomized, multiple attempt quiz.
By the way, students really like the quizzes. It gives them an opportunity to "fail", knowing they can improve their grades. Cheating is possible, but would be highly unlikely, as the questions are pulled from a question bank, randomized, and the answers are randomized as well.
Based on the scores of the quiz, students will either get praise (e.g. Well done!), or encouraging feedback (e.g. Go to xyz website to learn more.). By creating two text items, I am able to set the adaptive release on one to be 80% or above quiz score, or 79% or below on the other item. Only one shows up at a time.
Advanced Adaptive Release
This function allows you to combine more than one of the four choices above. I use this for the badges that students earn in class. Not only does the student have to get an 85% or better on the quiz, but also attend class that week, participate in the discussion board, and earn credit for the week's lab. Do all those things, and you can earn a badge.
Creating the advanced "rules", as they are called, took quite a bit of time. No copying and pasting for this function. On a positive note, as long as I don't change the criteria, they will transfer from class to class.
Adaptive release is the perfect way to individualize the student's experience online. With unlimited time and energy, I can imagine a course where every action produced appropriate and personalized reactions with course content. Now, if only I could get a few years off to make that happen :)