Blackboard Retention Center

The Blackboard Retention Center helps you discover which students in your course are at risk. Based on default rules and rules you create, students’ engagement and participation are visually displayed, quickly alerting you to potential risk. From the Retention Center, you can communicate with struggling students and help them take immediate action for improvement.  The Retention Center does not automatically connect at risk student with ECU support resources so with that in mind, it should NOT be used replace Starfish. The Retention Center should be used to better inform you of at risk students that are then reported using the normal Starfish processes.

Access the Retention Center

 The Retention Center is automatically on and immediately visible in your My Blackboard menu, and also accessible in the Evaluation section of a course’s Control Panel. The information in the Retention Center is for instructors only and isn’t seen by your students.

You can turn the Retention Center on or off in your course from the Control Panel > Customization > Tool Availability. If you teach a course with another instructor, and turn off the Retention Center, it’s turned off for both of you.


In My Blackboard, you can stop or start tracking individual courses. On the Retention Center page, select a course link in the left panel. Use the tracking link in the right panel after the course name. Once disabled, warnings are no longer refreshed, and Retention Center is hidden in the Evaluation section of the Control Panel in the course.

Retention Center Page

Select the colored bar above the table to display a summary of the at-risk students in your course. Select a colored section to access more information. Select links in the pop-up boxes to drill in further. For example, in a grade alert box, you can select the displayed number to access a list of students who trigger the alert.

Note that you can access students and their observers from the Notify menu from more than one spot in the tool. Observers are typically parents or counselors who are assigned to follow specific users in Blackboard Learn. Observers don’t interact with the system but are able to view the course and track student progress.

Email notifications you send have a default subject and message that you can edit. If you’re sending an email to more than one recipient, the list isn’t revealed to the group.


Risk Tables

The main table displays which students are at risk in one or more of four categories:

  • Missed Deadlines
  • Grades
  • Course Activity
  • Course Access

Retention Center Rules

Course Activity – 
Alert is based on students’ overall activity within your course. Students who are below a defined level of activity trigger the alert.

Blackboard measures the time a student works in a course with the data generated from his “clicks.” Students are assumed to be working with a course from the time they click something in the course until the time they click something outside the course or logs out. If a login session is timed out, Blackboard only counts the time until the last click within the course. The time isn’t counted between the last click within the course and the timeout.

Grade – 
Alert is based on a defined score for any grade or calculated column in the Grade Center. Students who score above or below the defined threshold for a specific grade item trigger an alert. Determine when a grade triggers an alert:

  • Set Grade Value: Use the menus to select above or below and points or percentage. Type a value.
  • Use Average Grades: Type the percentage and select above or below the average grade from the menu.

Course Access –
Alert is based on the date users last accessed your course. Students who haven’t logged in for a defined number of days trigger an alert.

Missed Deadlines –
Alert is based on a defined due date for an assignment, test, or survey. Students who don’t complete an assignment, test, or survey by the due date trigger an alert based on the option you choose:

  • Monitor all course deadlines: Determine how many deadlines must be missed and by how many days before an alert is triggered. From the menu, select More Than or Less Than the number of days you chose.
  • Monitor Specific Deadline: Make a selection in the Select Course Item menu. The due date for each item appears in parentheses. Then, select More Than or Less Than from the menu and type the number of days to trigger an alert.

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