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Getting Started with Courses

Access the Application

When your deployment is completed, you will receive a unique link to access Courses along with your login information. If your institution uses Single Sign-on, Courses may be accessible with those credentials. 

We are constantly making software improvements to deliver the best possible experience. Click the Help button in the lower righthand corner of any page in Courses to access the complete user guide. Refer to the Release Notes section to stay up to date on recent and upcoming changes. These are refreshed in coordination with our update releases.

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Upon logging in, start by deciding whether to focus on graduation or persistence.

Click Next to select one of three Focus Areas for course exploration. Note that there are Focus Area choices for graduation or persistence. Persistence is the act of a student re-enrolling for a future term at your institution and staying enrolled past the census date, typically 14 days after the start of term.

The courses that have the highest potential to boost graduation rates may differ from those that have the highest potential to boost persistence rates.

Select a Focus Area to narrow the scope of your exploration. Each Focus Area will surface the courses that are most predictive of graduation or persistence with a focus on a certain outcome:

  • A student’s course grade strongly signals graduation (or persistence) likelihood if a course grade increase by a single letter would significantly boost an individual student's graduation or persistence likelihood. Grades in these courses tend to affect graduation and persistence likelihood more than the average course, which is determined by identifying other courses typically taken in the same year by similar students.

  • Potential to boost graduation (or persistence) rates is highest when a letter-grade increase in the average course grade would result in a significant increase in graduation or persistence rates across all students in the filtered student group. Grades in these courses tend to affect a large number of students and present the greatest opportunity for large scale impact.

  • Students are struggling the most when the course has the highest percentage of Ds, Fs, and withdrawals compared to other courses typically taken in the same year by similar students. Understanding why students in these courses receive these grades at a disproportionate rate could dramatically affect the courses’ future impact on graduation and persistence rates.

Add Filters to Narrow Your Focus Area

Next, filter for courses that are most relevant to your role at your institution. Focus on a specific department or set of majors to uncover insights that apply to a certain group of students at your institution.

For example, as a department chair for psychology, you may be primarily interested in exploring the courses affecting psychology majors’ success at your institution.

Add a filter for psychology majors to view only the courses affecting psychology students’ graduation rates the most.

If your role instead involves managing advising, you may not be interested in which courses are predictive for individual majors. In your role, you may need to understand holistically which courses are affecting different types of student groups. These courses could be highlighted by advisors as courses to prioritize and courses for which additional academic resources should be allocated.

Filtering is an important step in uncovering insights that are the most actionable. By identifying a specific subset of students impacted by a set of courses, you can more quickly determine the best actions to take and the right stakeholders needed to carry out the actions.

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