Blackboard – Privacy

Blackboard is provided as a Virtual Learning Environment to support teaching and learning at the University of Southampton.

Information available to others

When you interact with online, users of the same Blackboard course or Teams site may be able to see your name, contact email and photograph.

Updating your personal details in Blackboard

  • Most systems will reflect your preferred name if you wish to change this in subscribe.
  • Update other settings on your Blackboard Profile Page – Blackboard profile help
    • You can add your pronouns and pronunciation
    • You can change your Blackboard avatar image
    • In Blackboard you can update your Privacy settings

Please note that students and instructors can see your name, avatar image and pronouns (if entered) even if your Blackboard Privacy Settings are set to “Only administrators and other instructors can view my profile information”.

Information available to University staff about student usage of Blackboard

To assist University staff in assessing academic progress, Blackboard provides a number of tools described below, which provide information about student use of Blackboard courses.

This list excludes those features where students would expect their activities to be viewed by University Staff such as:

  • Assignment submissions
  • Discussion board posts
  • Blog entries
  • Wiki Pages
  • Test and Survey responses

Course Wide Statistics

This feature is available in every Blackboard course and does not need to be enabled. Statistics are kept for the duration of the course (usually 1 year). On courses with large cohorts the volume of data is so large that it is necessary to examine small amounts at a time, for example one month’s worth of data.

Information collected shows

  • Number of course accesses, spread across different course areas
  • Date and time of course accesses

Information may be filtered by

  • All students
  • Multiple students
  • Single students

Content Item Tracking

This feature allows the instructor to enable tracking of a single piece of content in a Blackboard course. This must be turned on for the single item before it can be used. Tracking of accesses made to that content takes place from the moment the feature is enabled.

Information collected shows

  • Number of accesses in terms of when the item itself (not an attached file) was rendered within the user’s browser
  • Date and time of access

Information may be filtered by

  • All students
  • Multiple students
  • Single students

The Performance Dashboard provides an “at a glance” view of student usage of a course. The dashboard shows the students enrolled on a course, when they last logged into Blackboard, how many documents students have marked as reviewed (for documents with “review status” enabled), what is visible to students through adaptive release, and provides a link into the gradebook to view student grades.

This feature does not need to be enabled.

Information collected shows for each student

  • Student Details
    • The lastname, firstname, iSolutions username, and course role are shown.
  • Last Course Access
    • This displays the last time the student accessed the course.
  • Days Since Last Course Access
    • This displays the number of days since the student last accessed the course.
  • Review Status
    • This shows the number of documents viewed by the student for which review status has been enabled.
  • Adaptive Release
    • This opens the Course Map, showing every possible item in the course. Icons beside each item in the Course Map indicate the visibility of an item to that course user, and the review status of any items with a review requirement, if applicable.
  • Discussion Board
    • The number of posts made by the student to any discussion forums.
  • Early Warning System
    • This shows for how many rules the student matches the rule criteria.
  • View Grades
    • Provides links to the Gradebook: User Grade List page for that user.

Early Warning System

The Early Warning System is a feature in Blackboard that allows course University Staff to check on student progress within their course according to certain criteria.

This feature uses two processes. First the instructor creates a rule based on criteria such as a Grade Centre score and last access to the course. Once this has been created the instructor may run it so that it finds any students that match the criteria. Using this information the instructor may send a notification to students who meet the criteria via an email.

The criteria that may be used are:

  • Grade Rule
    • A grade rule can be used to identify when student performance as recorded in a Grade Centre column meets certain criteria.
  • Due Date Rule
    • A due date rule may be used to identify students who have not completed a Blackboard facilitated Test, Survey or Assignment by the Due Date.
  • Last Access Rule
    • A last access rule can be used to identify students who have not accessed a course for a certain number of days.

Additional logging

University staff may use Blackboard information from the above features and authentication log files as an information source for the Student Retention Project and Tier 4 attendance monitoring.

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