Coastal Carolina University is committed to increasing student retention, persistence, and success. One of the many ways the University can do this is by using the early alert module, Beacon. This module is designed to quickly identify students who may be at risk of academic difficulty or failure and connect them with campus resources.
Faculty often have the most daily contact with students. As such, faculty may be able to identify alarming academic and non‐academic behaviors that can greatly impact a student’s chance of success. By identifying these behaviors and creating an alert, faculty and staff are better informed to connect students with campus resources such as Academic Advising, Academic Coaching Experience Department, Counseling Services, Accessibility & Disability Services, the Tutoring and Learning Center, the Dean of Students Office, etc.
Submitting an Early Alert
Beacon is an early alert system. Faculty are able to create notifications on students exhibiting at-risk behaviors, while faculty advisors, professional advisors, academic coaches, and others who work closely with students are able to keep advising notes and reference prior notifications.
Beacon allows advisors to develop a heightened awareness of students most in need of support. Generating alerts helps advisors and academic coaches pair students with appropriate campus resources and allows for more effective, honest conversations with students.
Please review the Beacon Faculty User Guide for detailed information on how to submit early alerts.
To submit a new alert, use the box below.
Want to follow up on alert? View your submitted alerts within the Anthology Faculty module.
Who Sees Early Alerts?
The user creating the early alert can select different options for allowing others to view it:
- By default, students cannot see success notifications, with the exception of encouragements.
- Professional staff – all connected faculty and staff, excluding peer advisors (peer advisors are often graduate assistants)
- Full network – all connected faculty, staff, and peer advisors
- Specific network members – allows the user to select specific faculty and staff that are connected to a student in Beacon, such as advisors, academic coaches, athletic advisors, etc.
- Additional audience members – allows the user to select faculty and staff that are not on the student’s success network, such as Associate Deans, academic coaches, etc.
In most cases, selecting the full network is the most appropriate. Selecting professional staff or specific network members limits the ability of others that may need to assist.
Prior to submitting an alert, faculty should attempt to provide classroom or private interventions. Faculty should continue having open and honest communication with students while using Beacon as a resource to communicate valuable information about a student’s progress and to seek assistance from others on the student’s network.
The earlier an alert is sent, the better chance an advisor has of encouraging or helping the student to overcome obstacles and retain them in the classroom/program. In general, an alert should be sent as soon as a student meets one or more of the following criteria AND action from the student’s support network is being requested:
- Student is in jeopardy of meeting the excessive absenteeism limit where they will automatically fail
- Student has a low quiz, exam, or assignment grade
- Student has below a “C” average
- Student has missed assignments and/or exams that are significantly affecting the student’s grade
- Student cannot mathematically pass a course.
General alert submission deadlines:
- Up to a week before submitting interim grades
- Five days before the last day to withdraw, especially if you are recommending the student to consider dropping the course
Some coordinated courses may have other specific criteria. If you are teaching one of these courses, you will receive specific alert submission deadlines from a course coordinator or department chair.
Do not use Beacon to create an alert for a student that has never attended class. Contact the Registrar’s Office or refer to policy STUD-332 Class Attendance for more information regarding mandatory absence reporting.
When it becomes mathematically impossible for a student to pass a course, the following example text may be useful in the description box for the alert: “Strongly recommend dropping the course.” Those responding to the alert will need clear information to assist the student.
- Include in your syllabus a statement about Beacon. Here are some Sample Syllabus Statements.
- Before submitting Early Alerts, communicate to your class why you are submitting them and your expectations for students who receive them. Setting the expectations prior to an alert being submitted will make the student more likely to respond.
General guidelines for submitting an alert:
- Select appropriate categories and reasons. This will help when tracking the student’s progress later.
- Only provide what information is necessary. Information that is necessary but considered sensitive is best shared with follow‐up verbal communication.
- Be mindful of the audience when submitting notifications.
- Speak to the student prior to submitting a notification when appropriate. This will help the student understand that other faculty and staff may be contacting the student about resources and that the student is not in trouble.
- Do not include specific details about a student’s medical, financial, or personal well‐being. Even if the student shares personal details with a faculty or staff member, the student may not be comfortable with having those details shared with others.
Helpful information to include in the alert:
- Any communications you’ve had with the student about the issue
- The name of the course the student is enrolled in
- If the student is allowed to make up work
- Changes that may indicate deteriorating academic focus (disclosure of major life event, drop-in attendance)
- Disengagement in the classroom
- Resources you feel could be beneficial to the student’s success
For an alert, the student’s primary advisor or an academic coach attempts to contact the student within 48 hours. The advisor or academic coach may ask for a meeting or refer the student to appropriate campus resources. The advisor or academic coach will update and then close the alert. In some cases, the advisor or academic coach may need to contact the individual that submitted the alert if further information is needed.
There is no need for a faculty member to lower an alert he or she raised unless he or she is also the advisor for the student.