Student retention, already a major concern at higher education institutions, is an even greater concern as students are unable to learn in person and on campus. It is now standard for education learning management systems to provide some kind of at-risk warning feature. At the end of July, Blackboard Inc. announced a service called Blackboard Retention Coaching, which uses predictive data from Blackboard Predict and the institution’s student information system to determine when students are struggling or becoming disengaged with their studies. The solution is designed to pull student information from Blackboard Data and from the student information system to determine which students would benefit from additional intervention and support, which is then offered by Blackboard coaches and/or the institution’s own services.
Student retention has already been a long-standing concern for higher education: 59% of students complete four-year college/university degrees within a six-year period. Moreover, institutions may be operating within performance-based funding models, which adds to their motivation to improve completion rates. To complicate the matter, as more teaching and learning moves online due to the pandemic, teachers are increasingly cut off from the in-person, interpersonal strategies they may have been accustomed to using to determine if a student is struggling. Predictive data can appear as an attractive solution to helping students before an individual teacher is able to perceive they need help. Blackboard’s introduction of coaching services seems to offer a restoration of the personalized support element to potentially alienated students. Institutions can look at data to see whether retention rates improve; however, equally useful will be qualitative feedback from students who use these call-center coaching services to understand their perspective on what the most useful types of intervention are.
Some major LMS conference cancellations or online alternatives have been announced in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, though not all have canceled.
As the world responds to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, closed schools in some affected areas are turning to eLearning and web conferencing to maintain continuity in course delivery and/or studying.
Plans to require four online high school credits in Ontario, Canada, have changed: the required credits have been reduced to two and made opt-outable.
Instructure has responded to pushback from both users and investors about their proposed sale to a private equity firm.
This is the third maintenance release since Sakai 19 was released in spring 2019. Thanks to its open-source community, Sakai is continuously providing fixes, security updates, and improvements to its users.
Pearson released the results of its Global Learning Survey. This is the first time that Pearson has undertaken such a study to capture the opinions of 11,000 learners across 19 countries. The study uncovered eight key trends indicating a shift to life-long, learner driven education.
Following on the heels of Blackboard Ally accessibility integrating with D2L, D2L announced a strategic partnership with Aria, a service for blind and low-vision people.
Moodle, an open-source Education LMS, released an update on Sept. 9, that removes the ability to share courses on moodle.net as well as removing the community finder block. This is in anticipation of the relaunch of moodle.net in November 2019.
Sakai has recently launched its 2019 version, which includes many new features that target areas like communication and collaboration tools and facilitate content creation and delivery.