The Milestone Tracker creates urgency and provides students with incentive make progress in courses designed without due dates or sequence of assignments. Designing a course with no due dates or sequence of assignments gives students more autonomy and can improve motivation.
The Milestone Tracker displays students' progress towards point milestones (e.g., 100 point milestone, 200 point milestone). Students earn bonus by staying ahead of point milestones and penalty for falling behind. It also helps students celebrate success, map out their progress, and make goals by clearly show students where they are, where they are going, and where they have been.
Note: Each of the items below includes a mouse-over tool tip in the UI that provides details.
Points Meter: Shaped like a thermometer. The bottom of the meter represents 0 points and the first day of class. The top of the meter represents the max total points in the class and the last day of class.
Blue Fill: The meter fills with blue to indicate the students current total points.
Current total points: Orange circle with white background that indicates student's current points.
Redline: The red line represents "now" and moves from the bottom to the top of the meter as the term progresses. It indicates how many points a student should earn in the class at any given moment.
If a student's total points match the red line, then they are meeting expectations for the course. If a student gets ahead of the red line when they cross a milestone, they lock in "bonus points". If a student falls behind the redline when they cross a milestone, they lock in "penalty points".
Milestone Due Dates: Milestones are levels on the "Points Meter "that represent a specific date and the number of points that should be earned by that date (e.g., 200 points due on December 3 at 2:00pm)
Note: You can view the due date for each milestone when you mouse over it
Milestone Titles: The point value and title for each milestone are listed to the right of the Points Meter
Milestone Calendar and Todo Items: Milestone Calendar and Todo Items are NOT real assignments and are worth 0 points. They only indicate when you need to earn a specific number of points to keep up with the redline (i.e., milestone due dates). Points can be earned on ANY available assignment in the class. Adding milestone due dates to the Canvas calendar and todo list helps students remember to earn enough points to avoid penalty points and earn bonus points.
Blue Dots: The current total points for every student in the class is displayed as a blue dot between the Points Meter and Milestone Titles.
Mouse over blue dots to view the course alias for each student
Blue dots allow you to track your progress in comparison to the progress of all of your peers
Orange Circle Dot: This dot represents your total points.
Bonus and Penalty Points
During the time period of a course, the redline will travel from the bottom to the top of the points meter. As it travels, the redline will cross each milestone at each milestone's due date.
To create a sense of urgency and encourage students to make regular progress in a course, the Milestone Tracker gives students "bonus points" when they earn enough points to cross a points milestone before the redline, and "penalty points" when they earn enough points to cross a points milestone after the redline.
Note: Calculating bonus and penalty points depends on when an assignment "submitted", not when it is "graded". Some assignments may take several day to grade. This may temporarily generate penalty points or lower bonus points in the Milestone Tracker. However, when the grade is entered into Canvas, it will be counted from when the student originally submitted the assignment and the bonus and penalty be will be recalculated accordingly.
Note: Resubmitting an assignment that results in a higher grade will change the submission date for that assignment. This will move the submission from where it was in bonus and penalty calculations and it will may no longer be counted towards an earlier milestone. This shifts all the other submissions down and may have a huge impact on when a student's total points cross milestones. For example, if a student resubmits a large assignment, that was originally submitted at the beginning of the semester, and the new submission date is at the end of the semester, then it is possible that EVERY milestone would be adjusted from receiving max bonus to max penalty. This could lower the student's grade and would likely be distressing to the student. We recommend that if you intend on resubmitting an assignment, that you do so as close to the original submission date as possible to limit the impact on bonus and penalty calculations.
Bonus points are used to reward and celebrate students for staying ahead of the redline and earning points ahead of schedule. The earlier a student crosses a milestone before the red line, the larger the bonus points will be (up to the max bonus points for that milestone). Each milestone lists its "potential bonus" under the milestone title in green text in the Milestone Tracker next to a green "clock" icon. As the redline approaches a milestone, the "potential bonus" begins to decrease until it reaches 0 when the redline is equal to the milestone.
"Potential bonus" has no impact on a student's grade. "Potential bonus" is converted to "locked-in bonus" when a student earns enough points to cross a points milestone before the redline crosses it. "Locked-in bonus" is added to the points a students earns from completing assignments when the course grade is computed and bonus can improve a student's final course grade. "Locked-in bonus" is listed in green text in the Milestone tracker next to a green "lock" icon.
Students should maximize bonus points by staying ahead of the red line enough to cross points milestones when "potential bonus" is highest and they can "lock-in" the most bonus points.
Note: Bonus points earned from earlier milestones are NOT added to the points meter and do NOT affect future milestones. In other words, you cannot earn bonus with bonus points.
Note: It is usually best to earn as many points as possible on each assignment. While "sacrificing" an assignment to submit it in time to cross a milestone ahead of the redline might earn more bonus points, losing points on the assignment to get it done early will usually result fewer points overall in the class and lower your grade. The extra points you earn will also make it easier to beat the redline to the next milestone.
Penalty points are used to discourage students from falling behind the redline and earning points behind schedule. The later a student crosses a milestone after the red line, the larger the penalty points will be (up to the max penalty points for that milestone). If a the redline crosses a points milestone before a student earns enough points to cross that milestone, the milestone lists its "potential penalty" under the milestone title in red text in the Milestone Tracker next to a red "clock" icon. As the redline travels higher above a milestone, the "potential penalty" begins at 0 and increases until it reaches the max penalty for that milestone. Students should aim to "freeze" increasing "potential penalty" by crossing the milestone as soon as possible.
"Potential penalty" has no impact on a student's grade. "Potential penalty" is converted to "locked-in penalty" when a student earns enough points to cross a points milestone after the redline crosses it. "Locked-in penalty" is subtracted from the points a students earns from completing assignments when the course grade is computed and penalty can lower a student's final course grade. "Locked-in penalty " is listed in red text in the Milestone tracker next to a red "lock" icon.
Note: Penalty points earned from earlier milestones are NOT subtracted from the points meter and do NOT affect future milestones.
Note: It is usually best to earn as many points as possible on each assignment. While "sacrificing" an assignment so you don't cross a points milestone and lock in penalty can limit penalty points, the assignment itself will usually add more points overall in the class than the penalty subtracts and improve your grade.
Note: Students can cancel out some of the penalty points they earn by earning bonus on other points milestones. Students should aim to keep a bonus and penalty balance that is as high as possible and avoid a negative balance. This system provides students with some flexibility to recover from difficult personal schedules.
Thoughts about the Milestone Tracker
The Milestone Tracker aims to mimic real-world consequences for performance. In primary, secondary, and higher education, rules for turning in assignments are often rigid. However, in the real world, work is rarely refused if it is a few minutes late, but consistently being late can have a lasting negative impact. Also, in the real world, consistently exceeding expectations can have a lasting positive impact.
Milestone due dates with bonus and penalty points mirrors this reality. Even a few bonus and penalty points can affect a final grade, so it is important to stay ahead of the red line. Students who are hard working and get ahead are rewarded for their efforts, as they will be in real life. Students who procrastinate or have life events that make performance difficult will have the consequence built right into their grade, but they still get a chance to recover from early poor performance.
Milestones Grades Tab
Occasionally, students may like to see the exact calculations used when generating bonus and penalty points. This information is available in the Grades tab in a secondary tab titled "Milestones".