WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc. has unveiled a new release of its flagship learning management system (LMS) that includes a tool to help instructors identify and engage at-risk students based on course activity patterns that correlate with student success. The feature makes it easier for instructors with limited time to find effective ways to improve student retention and outcomes. The Retention Center, a new, standard feature in Blackboard Learn™, offers instructors an automatic view of student performance and engagement risk factors such as missed deadlines, logins, and poor grades. The information is delivered from within the platform to help instructors determine which students may be falling behind and to give them the ability to engage before it is too late. Previously, it may have been difficult for instructors to find or make use of this kind of critical information. With the Retention Center, risk factors closely associated with student success are pre-loaded, but instructors can also customize and create new ones to best suit specific approaches and use cases. Instructors can also discover information about their own performance so they can assess how their own behavior affects student success. "Effectively tracking student performance and proactively taking action on at-risk students are challenges for instructors," said Eric Kunnen, director of distance learning and instructional technologies at Grand Rapids Community College. "Improving student retention is an institutional priority and tools like the Retention Center empower faculty to easily identify and intervene to support student success." Blackboard has also delivered major updates to a number of heavy-use items within the course platform. The updates include an overhauled calendar, rebuilt discussion boards and a new inline grading feature. The Inline Assignment Grading functionality allows instructors to view, edit and grade assignments directly within the LMS. Instructors have a much simpler workflow across all types of student work, as they can edit assignments without having to download documents, work outside of the system and then re-upload to Blackboard Learn.