We have disabled the links (they are just plain text) under To Do in both List View and Card View for students only so they don't click on a To Do link and ended up in an assignment that's still locked. All our modules items are set up to be unlocked sequentially.
We made the 'View Grades' button more noticeable with a blinking red outline (annoying, but it's the most helpful part of the card layout Dashboard that students tend to miss) and overlaid the course grade marks on the course tiles.
The grades overlay for the course cards has been built to meet some of our specific needs, so at the moment this code would likely take a bit of tinkering with to setup for others. Essentially, we just use API calls to gather the logged in user's grades, and then insert our own grade element into the appropriate Course Card via a JS function. I will simplify it a bit so that it is copy/paste friendly for other institutions and post it here when I get a few moments, but this is the result. The users can also click on that grade overlay to view the grades page for that course.
JS - You may need to place this inside of a window.onload function as well.