A set of stacked blocks in a row showing growthIn most disciplines, there are skills that need to be learned and understood before moving on to something more complicated. Without a solid foundation, moving on to more difficult endeavors can be challenging as well as frustrating and can be a hurdle the student is not able to get over. As an instructor, you need to know students have a good understanding of certain topics before asking them to delve deeper. Based on student’s previous experience, some may require more instruction and practice before showing understanding at the level they need for success as the student moves to the next stage.

Staging activities using Blackboard’s Adaptive Release helps you manage this process. By creating various “rules” you can automatically create a step-by-step performance assessment  that meets your definition of success before students may move on to the next step. Based on your desired results, you have the option to make new content available. Content can be new instructional material(s), access to a discussion forum or a new assessment (i.e. an assignment, quiz or exam). Allowing the student to move to the next step is based on certain criteria you set up. You can apply adaptive release rules to almost all elements in Blackboard:  instructional materials, files, links or websites, folders, discussion forums, assignments and tests and exams.


DATE: Release content during a defined period of time or to specific students based on a specific time. If you want to release content to the entire class at a specific date regardless of other criteria, it would be better to use the “Display Date After” and “Display Date Before” built into the content options. This takes fewer mouse clicks to set up compared to adaptive release.

REVIEW STATUS: Instructors can set a Review Status checkbox on all content in their class. Students click on a checkbox so a review mark appears. As a student marks something as “Reviewed” new content is released.
Mark reviewed with select box

MEMBERSHIP: Content can be released to individuals or to groups. The content will be specific to that individual or to that group and will not be seen by others.

GRADE: Release content based on whether an attempt on a test or assignment was made by a student or based on a grade (percentage or score, less than, greater than, equal to or between). Release remedial content for a low score to give the student extra practice.

BASIC ADAPTIVE RELEASE: Create one rule for a single piece of content. You can have multiple criteria tied to this rule. For example, you could require a student to meet both a required review status on a lecture and a certain score on a quiz in order to see the next module.

ADVANCED ADAPTIVE RELEASE: Create multiple rules on a single content item and each rule may have multiple criteria. For example, one rule could advance a student to Content A if the student receives an 85% or higher on a quiz along with advancing a student to Content B if the student receives an 84% or lower on the quiz. This can get complicated quickly. It would be helpful to draw this out on paper before implementing.

Want to know more about how Adaptive Release might work in your class? Come to one of eLearning’s Open Labs regularly scheduled on campus in 131 Bunnell on Tuesday at 2-4p and Friday at 10-12p.  Virtual Open Lab hours on held on Wednesday from 1-3p via a Google Hangout. See the calendar at  https://iteachu.uaf.edu/events/


Blackboard Learn Help. (n.d.). Rules for releasing content.  Retrieved from May 31, 2016.