Help! I want to learn more about how Achievements work in Blackboard?

Document created by ml21582 on May 22, 2018
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I'd love to hear from some folks - faculty, instructional designers, instructional technologists - on how they use Achievements. I'm just at the beginning stages, and I have a faculty member who is interested in using Achievements in her course(s). Any comments, advice, suggestions are welcome.


I really like Achievements, but they aren't taking off much at my institution. I think they add interesting facets of motivation, recognition, reward, and gamification, but they are not visible enough to be as effective as they could be.


I used Achievements in one of my courses to recognize mastery of key skills, as demonstrated by various phases of a project they were working on. It was an evaluation course, and I provided badges for writing a prospectus, developing a logic model, writing evaluation questions, identifying stakeholders, etc. I also had badges for extraordinary achievement, like being a great contributor on the discussion boards. Here are two of the badges I created (in PowerPoint, because I'm not a professional graphic designer). Students earned the badge for getting 90% or higher on each assessment, and they could submit multiple times if they wanted to improve their grade to get the badge, which most took advantage of.

Prospectus.png Contributor.png


We have also used the certificate achievement type for non-credit training. For example, our Title IX team developed a training course in Blackboard and provided a certificate once you had completed the quiz with 80% or higher to prove you had taken the training. It was required for compliance, so the certificate was particularly important to them.


I love Achievements! I use them to signal to students when they have completed their work for the week.



I place the achievement at the beginning of the folder containing the work, and include the achievements tool on the course menu.  They can check the requirements on the tool, and when they have earned the achievement,they see this at the top of that week's folder:




This is particularly in the shortened summer semester, as they will have anywhere from 3-5 learning activities to complete each week. I know this works, because one week I linked the wrong item (chapter 6 instead of week 6), went out of town, and came back to several emails asking, "Where's my achievement?"


I also started a "weekly winner: achievement this spring to highlight student performance I want other students to emulate, like completing learning activities (Bb Learn quizzes) multiple time or posting their social activity early in the week.  It gives me a chance to explain in an announcement what the exemplary performance is and why it's important. Again, after doing this, I noticed an increase in the exemplary behavior in other students.


I, too, created my own badges, using Adobe Illustrator.  I am not a graphic designer either, although I have taken several (*cough*26*cough*)(it's an obsession...) free online courses over the last couple of years from Adobe to learn how to use their products. The Illustrator for Educator courses often have an assignment to create a badge. My only complaint is the badges in Bb Learn are so small...


Week Complete Badge



Exemplary Performance Badge



I love the idea of using Achievements to signal that your work is done for the week. That's a great idea!


While no one really uses them here yet, I did build them into a little Continuing Education Professional Development series we offer here. Like those who commented above, we use them more as a signal of completion. We have offered three CEPD courses, each on a particular Distance Learning and Teaching topic: Cheating, Engagement, and Feedback. Those who complete them, receive achievement badges. I think the only good they do on our end is maybe encourage people to continue with each subsequent release in the course series so they can "collect them all." They hold no official value right now.



I love the names....

Out of curiosity, what do you cover in "cheater beater?" I ask because this is an issue we are facing, and there is a push to go to something like Proctor U, while I am pushing to design courses that inhibit cheating instead.


It is shockingly successful.  Of course, I teach students in the first week how to use the achievement tool to keep on track, but it is one more way, in addition to the gradebook and calendar, to help them be successful.


BTW, I set this up using rules where students have an attempt in the specified columns, with one rule per achievement and several criteria (one for each task) per rule.


Hi Karen,

I think every educational institution has its own unique ongoing conversation about cheating and academic integrity. While we have attended pitch meetings from various companies like HonorLock and Proctor U, we have never really entertained any of them. As you stated, we've also focused more on design that hinders cheating. The Strategies to Prevent Cheating in Distance Learning Courses CEPD session discusses some research-supported techniques like authentic assessments, deliberate test design including various Blackboard test settings, redesigning point distribution to make tests/quizzes lower stakes than other authentic assessments, social presence/connecting with students, and a few other strategies/readings on improving academic integrity in the classroom.


I'm also curious about some of the strategies you've been employing, so please share!


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