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Archive for Sunday, August 19, 2012

New proactive program helps students keep up

August 19, 2012

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Up to 2,000 Kansas University students will take part this fall in the pilot program MySuccess, an online service that sends students, professors and administrators notifications when the student’s grades, attendance or performance slumps.

The online program, which works off KU’s existing online academic tracking system known as Blackboard, will also send a notice or “flag” if the student has not used Blackboard for more than a week. Professors will be able to manually flag students who they think need extra help or to give them a “kudos” or message that the student is doing well.

“A decision was made at the beginning of the year to go with this company; it’s been a fairly rapid implementation,” Assistant Vice Provost for Student Success Kathryn Nemeth Tuttle said. “It fits nicely on Blackboard and with the faculty.”

The idea behind the program is to be proactive and help students before it becomes too late to repair their grades. Students who receive flags will have opportunities to meet with either the class professor or an adviser and will also receive information about tutoring.

Tuttle said that the MySuccess program has been implemented at other schools, and the program’s performance at these schools played a part in the university’s decision to implement it.

Eastern Carolina University, with an enrollment of 21,000, uses MySuccess.

Jayne Geissler, executive director of retention programs and undergraduate studies at ECU, said the program works well at the school.

“We love it,” she said. “We are thrilled. It’s easy to use and faculty like it. Really I can’t think of any downside.”

KU administrators hope the program will help retain students. Tuttle said the force behind such a program is the Bold Aspirations strategic plan, which seeks to improve the university’s retention and graduation rates.

“I think the thing for students and families to understand is faculty that teach classes have a deep desire for students to succeed,” Tuttle said.

When the fall semester swings around, the university will implement the MySuccess program in large, freshman-heavy classes, such as Geology 170, where students might need extra help. The university will then evaluate the success of the program and spread it to other classes if successful.

Students use the program by logging into their user account on Blackboard, which will have an additional tab called MySuccess. Students can look at their flags as well as their kudos, or notifications they receive for doing well.

The MySuccess program is run by a company called Starfish.

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