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Use the Early Warning System


In this document you will learn about the Early Warning System in Bb 9.

The Early Warning System is a tool used to communicate warnings to Students or Observers that a performance problem is beginning to appear or has become more serious. Warnings can be generated based on graded performance, late or missing course work, or attendance within the online course. The Instructor can choose to communicate a particular warning to just the Student, the Student and a parent or advisor that is assigned as an Observer, or just the Student’s Observer. In addition, the Instructor has control over the message each time a warning is communicated. The Instructor can use the default message or modify it to more accurately communicate the seriousness of the situation.

The Early Warning System is a rule driven communication feature that can send email messages to students and their observers when criteria of the rule are met. For example, a rule can be set to send email to any student who scores below a 60 on an exam. The score entered into the Grade Center, whether automatically or manually, spawns the message.

When using the Early Warning System, please keep the following key
points in mind:

  • The Early Warning System does not continuously monitor the course. The Instructor must check the Early Warning System periodically and click Refresh to discover incidents of Student performance that trigger an alert. The Early Warning System consolidates these incidents and allows the Instructor to easily report problems; the Early Warning System does not automatically detect problems and notify Students and Observers. Remember to refresh rules manually on a regular basis
  • The System Administrator may turn off access to the Early Warning System based on policies at the institution. If the Early Warning System is on at the system-level, the Instructor may still turn it off within the course
  • The Early Warning System keeps a log of alerts sent to users. The log is searchable and can be used to verify that a Student was alerted to a problem

The Early Warning System is designed to work closely with the Grade Center. Early Warning System rules use Grade Center results to create rules and create alerts to student performance based on those rules. In particular, the Early Warning System can trigger an alert based on grades recorded in the Grade Center. As well, Assignments or Assessments that are not completed by the deadline may also be used to trigger an alert.

  • Click Evaluation
  • Click Early Warning System
  • Click Grade Rule, Due Date Rule, or Last Access Rule from the Action Bar


  • Grade Rule: Identifies when student performance on an Assignment, Assessment, or manually graded item is equal to or below a certain level. It is also possible to set a Grade Rule that identifies when a user exceeds a performance level. This can be a useful tool for positive feedback
  • Due Date Rule: Identifies when a Student does not complete course work when it is due. A Due Date Rule can only be used to track an Assignment or Assessment created through the Blackboard Learning System. Due Date Rules cannot be created for manually graded items
  • Last Access Rule: Identifies the last time a Student accessed the course online. Please keep in mind that rules are not constantly running in the background checking for events
Note: Regularly refresh the Early Warning System to run the rules and check for events that will trigger a warning
Note: The Early Warning System WILL NOT automatically notify your students
For information and screenshots about adding different types of content to the course site click on the following link to a video resource: Click on this link for a video guide on Using the Early Warning System.

For Assistance

Help Desk (Zone at the ILC):