Completion progress block in MyCourses is a great tool to monitor students’ progress

The block includes a color-coded progress bar and other gamified features that many students seem to like.
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The more we have started teaching and learning online, the more important it has become that we try to take most out of the tools we have. In order to share best practices between colleagues, Senior University Lecturer Johanna Bragge gave her hint of adding gamification to MyCourses. Gamification means using game design elements in non-game contexts to motivate people to behave in a desired way.

‘I’m not anymore a youngster who could be more likely to be into playing games and gamification, but I like testing new features. It’s been learning by doing to me. Also, as I was recently appointed as Associate Director of the Bachelor's Programme at the School of Business, I feel that it’s important for me to become familiar with tools that can be useful in teaching and learning.’

Johanna Bragge presented the Completion progress block of the MyCourses platform in the Aalto BIZ Virtual Café on 27 May.

‘I’m happy to present this tool, because it has been very useful to me and I have also received a lot of positive feedback about it from students,’ she said.

One student said that “the progress bar on the MIS (Management Information Systems) course page for assignments has actually motivated me to be more productive and made me feel better for completing an assignment or a course” and another commented that “the progress bar can be seen as levels and checkpoints which makes it easier to keep track of learning objectives. Many teachers don’t realize that having a progress bar on MyCourses would already help students keep track of things immensely”.

MyCourses: Completion Progress bar
In this student’s view, the user has hovered the mouse over the unfinished (blue) task, after which the details appear under the bar. It is possible to directly access the submission box by clicking the bar.

Setting up the Progress bar and starting to use it

Johanna Bragge told that if you don’t set up the progress bar in any of the course task’s settings, it’s not visible by default in the course page. For students, the progress bar appears on the right-hand side of the MyCourses’ course main page. It is designed as a color-coded time-management tool for them. It is also possible to directly access the activities by clicking the elements in the progress bar.

MyCourses: Completion Progress bar 1
The overview is giving a great snapshot of the students’ progress, as can be seen from the example.

An important element for the teacher is the overview of the students: you can easily spot problematic assignments or students who are at risk, if there is a lot of red elements on the bars. It’s good to know that in case of a group submission, the progress bar element turns green only for the student who has submitted it on behalf of the group, for others it appears yellow. The default color is blue as long as there is still time left to submit an assignment, after which it turns red. In general, the overview is giving a great snapshot of the students’ progress, as can be seen from the example.

‘It’s also good to inform the students at the assignment page instructions about the completion progress configurations: whether they get a task completed (green) by submitting the assignment, or once they have received a grade, or by manually marking the assignment completed by clicking small box next to its title line,’ Johanna Bragge told.

Progress bar: course overview

‘The only not so good feature of the progress bar is that teachers cannot see what the student’s view is like. Recently, I got a chance to see it when I participated in a pedagogical course as a student, and it was a good learning experience to me how it works in reality. I also learnt then from the MyCourses main dashboard that the students see a combined view of their progress from all courses they are enrolled in. This information is shown as a percentage bar under each course that has the completion progress block in use.’

Further information:
Take a look at Johanna Bragge's presentation slides at BIZ Teachers Teams (Files > Virtual Café 27.5.2020)

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