Purdue students keep an eye out for red lights in their course management system.

Purdue students keep an eye out for red lights in their course management system.

Purdue University is using educational technology–and online “signals”–to warn some students that their grades are dropping, offer study-habit suggestions, and provide positive reinforcement to students who are acing quizzes and exams.

When students log into their Blackboard course management accounts this fall, they’ll see frequently updated feedback indicators similar to traffic lights indicating their standing in each class. Each Purdue faculty member using the online system, called Signals–developed at the university and piloted for three semesters before its 2009 launch–will assign red, yellow, or green lights to their students.

Red is reserved for students with low or faltering grades, and warnings include critiques and suggestions from faculty on how a student can improve his or her grades. Yellow lights are for students in the middle of the academic pack, and green lights are encouragement for those at the top of the class.

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