Aim for progress

At some point in our lives, many of us realize that we are a “work in progress,” and our collective experiences and education lead us to try to improve, learn, to aspire. Monitoring our progress leads to increased performance, self-actualization, and self-awareness. The same is true of students. “Research has demonstrated that when teachers use student progress monitoring, students learn more, teacher decision making improves, and students become more aware of their own performance” (Safer & Fleischman, 2005). UAF Student Progress Reports and Nanook Navigator are useful monitoring tools for both the student and the instructor.

UAF academic advisor Ginny Kinne on a laptop screen helping a dual enrollment student in the UAF North Star College enroll for courses..
UAF academic advisor Ginny Kinne helps a dual enrollment student in the UAF North Star College enroll for courses via Zoom. Photo by JR Ancheta.

This week UAF Student Progress Reports were submitted as midterm grades in UAOnline. By submitting these grades for all students (not just those performing poorly), you have provided valuable feedback to your students and contributed to UAF’s commitment to student success. But it doesn’t stop there. Collectively, we want to lead students to the actions they can take and resources they can use to improve their academic performance. Take for example the high school students in the UAF Alaska Advantage program. Since its inception, students in this online dual enrollment program have had a 92% student success rate (students earning a C- or better) and even with explosive growth in fall 2020, the student success rates topped 94%. This isn’t by chance. A collective commitment by several coordinators, counselors and teachers who monitor student progress has consistently facilitated student success. Monitoring progress and providing feedback to students regularly is a win-win for all.

Here are some ways to continue that commitment to student success:

  1. Post an announcement within your course shell that midterm grades have been submitted. Consider including your office hours and contact information so students can easily reach out with questions. Be open to them contacting you to discuss how they can improve their performance.
  1. Encourage students to connect with their academic advisor. Oftentimes academic advisors have a good rapport with their students. They can provide valuable assistance and lead them to helpful campus resources.
  1. Log into Nanook Navigator and use the Alert feature for these students. By selecting the option “In danger of Failing” or “Poor Attendance,” an alert will notify a member of the UAF Academic Advising Community who will be prompted to reach out to the student and provide assistance and resources.
  1. Be mindful that life happens. You won’t always know the battles your students are facing. During any online instruction, it’s not easy to gauge a student’s commitment or content mastery. Oftentimes instructors rely on assessments or assignments. Missing an assignment or doing poorly on a quiz might not tell the whole story.
  2. Direct students toward on-campus and virtual resources. At UAF we have an array of student support services and dedicated staff who can provide the help students need. Refer students to the CTL Support page or other UAF resources.

Feedback, positive or negative, can be extremely helpful for students to gauge their performance in the course and to make improvements. Tools like Student Progress Reports and the Nanook Navigator Alerts feature are an easy way for faculty to provide feedback, as can reminding students about office hours and contact information mid-semester. Students often benefit from being connected to a support network beyond the course, and UAF advisors can provide students with information about resources available to them. We have a team of student support staff at UAF who are committed to creating the best possible educational environment for students and instructors alike. Be sure to reach out to them.


Safer, N., & Fleischman, S. (2005). How student progress monitoring improves instruction. ASCD Educational Leadership, 62(5), 81-83.

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