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The Student Pulse is a tool designed to provide immediate, visual feedback about how online students are performing in their online classes, based on a range of factors, including assignment grades, exam and quiz scores, discussion participation, learning module progress, and attendance.

NOTE: As of Summer 2019, students can no longer see the Pulse — but it remains visible to instructors.

How does the Pulse work?

A colored dot — green, yellow or red — provides a visual indicator of each student's standing. Red and yellow markers identify areas in which their performance is suffering.

Where do the Pulse colors come from?

Here is how the Pulse calculates each of its elements:

Average Assignment Grade = Averages all assignment grades, regardless of module.

  • Good/Green: C+ or better
  • Fair/Yellow: between F+ and C+
  • Poor/Red: F

Average Exam Score = Averages all exams taken. If an exam was in a module that is now closed, and you didn't take it, averages 0% for that test until you take it.

  • Good/Green: 80% or more
  • Fair/Yellow: Between 60% and 80%
  • Poor/Red: 60% or less

Average Posts & Comments Per Module = For topics in the discussion that are tied to modules, counts posts and comments in those. Averages this data across all modules that have associated discussion topics. Rounds down.

  • Good/Green: 2 or more posts
  • Fair/Yellow: 1-2 posts
  • Poor/Red: no posts

Average Quiz Score = Averages all quizzes taken. If a quiz was in a module that is now closed, and you didn't take it, averages 0% for that quiz until you take it.

  • Good/Green: 80% or more
  • Fair/Yellow: Between 60% and 80%
  • Poor/Red: 60% or less

Module Progress (course content visited) = Percent progress for all closed module content that you should have seen by now.

  • Good/Green: 90% or more
  • Fair/Yellow: Between 70% and 90%
  • Poor/Red: 70% or less

Total Absences = Just a simple count of absences

  • Good/Green: no absences
  • Fair/Yellow: 1 absence
  • Poor/Red: 2 or more absences

TIP (lightbulb)

An instructor asked:

I notice that the "stoplights" on the Student Pulse don't seem to equate to each student's situation. For instance, one student has a green light, yet she has missed turning in 6 projects. Can you illuminate?

 I responded:

As far as assignments go, the Student Pulse counts only the information that you have input. So if you have not given this student an “F” for these missed assignments, the Pulse doesn’t “know” that she hasn’t done this work, so these missing pieces are not factored into her score.

This one reason we recommend that you enter an “F” or a zero (and not “no credit,” which is not counted by the Pulse either) whenever a student misses an assignment.

Where can I see my students' Pulse ratings?

Instructors can see their students’ Pulse ratings beginning from either the Portal or the Roster page. You can also see your students' Pulse via the Student Progress Report, which is accessible from the Outline.

From the Roster page, click on the colored dot to see the detailed information for a student.

If you use the Portal, you’ll need to choose “Class Sections,” and then select the section you want to view. "Student Pulse" is one of the options on the section menu.

 Click the “Detail” link to see the specifics of a student’s rating.

The detail view shows the student's performance in several different areas of the class.

To see the Pulse via the Student Progress Report (on the Outline), click the drop-down to display the list of students.

Things to remember about the Pulse:

  • First, the Pulse provides only a general overview of student progress, based on data recorded by the online learning system.
  • Some of this information may be misleading: in particular, missed assignments are not factored into the rating for assignments. Students are only rated based on the work they have submitted—and that you have graded. This means that a student who submitted only one of four assignments—but did well on that one project—will show a green pulse. At present, there is no way for the system to factor in missed assignments, unless you enter a grade for them.
  • Similarly, the Pulse only tracks results of tests a student has completed. Missed quizzes and exams are not factored into the Pulse.
  • The Student Pulse data is calculated automatically; at present, it cannot be adjusted to compensate for the quirks of individual classes.
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