One key to being a successful online student is the ability to be self-motivated. The asynchronous nature of distance learning means students can miss the kinds of cues that would help keep them on track in a face to face class, such as showing up to a class and having to physically turn an assignment in, seeing reminders and written up on the board or calendars, hearing fellow students discussing what is due or how they solved instructional problems as they casually chat in the moments before class activities begin. While these cues don’t necessarily exist in the same way in an online class, there are tools in Desire2Learn to support student’s self-motivation by helping them be aware of their self-monitored progress, such as completion tracking.
Completion tracking provides progress indicators as students complete course activities. You as the instructor can define whether this tracking is automatic (the system will mark the activity as complete once the student participates in whatever the instructor has identified as the activity to track) or manual (students are provided a check box to mark off when they have completed an assignment for their own tracking). Helping clarify student progress can serve as both a reminder and a motivator, keeping students not connected by a physical classroom on track.
Completion tracking can also help you as an instructor quickly review the completion status of your students at a glance from the user progress page. This can be especially helpful for identifying students who may be at risk of falling behind. Early intervention is key to a faltering student’s success.
For more information watch this brief video on what completion tracking is and how to use it, by Instructional Technology Specialist Jim Johnstone.