Automated Alert Best Practices

Overview

With the amount of information provided through Student Success & Engagement, this can often make it hard for success coaches, advisors, faculty, and staff to know where to focus their efforts.

Especially for campuses with heavy caseloads, the influx of information provided through automated alerts can be overwhelming.  Please keep in mind, the best practice is always to be proactive, build rapport and develop a relationship with students early in the staff to student relationship.  Staff can utilize the SS&E early alert and automated alert technology to spend meaningful time on their student interactions and make it easier to know which students need assistance. 

Alerting gives the ability to access a holistic view of the student, identify potential obstacles and to utilize predictive risk reasons to help shape conversations with students.   

For example, from shared experience:

  • The best practice is not to pick up the phone or send an email to address a specific automated alert, rather it is to take a more holistic approach to build rapport with students and identify potential obstacles and reasons of why a student may be falling off track.
  • SS&E early alert (eg. staff initiated alert reasons) and automated alert notifications are meant to help shape on-going conversations by directly reaching out to students and/or staff depending on the individual alert configuration. 
  • Alert notifications provide staff and/or students a starting point for on-going interaction and continued conversations allowing staff the time to plan and prioritize outreach with students who are in need of intervention.

Institutions may wish to regularly evaluate their strategy on how they address automated alerts while reviewing settings that support best practices in SS&E Alert Administration.

Examples

Following are some examples of best practices on automated alerts shared by different institutions:

Thresholds

Check the thresholds on alerts to view when they are triggering.

  • If there are too many triggered alerts, your institution may find that narrowing the results by changing the threshold limit can help achieve the results of student interaction with the highest need for intervention.

Reports

In order to anticipate the number of alerts, teams can proactively run SS&E reports that identify which students are falling off track. 

  • One of these reports is the Attendance and Registration Detail Report. This report will give an indication of students that may receive an attendance alert.  

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Predict Analytics

Using the Predictive Analytics are meant to help direct and prioritize outreach efforts, where many schools use the analytics to interact with students who are of medium risk first.

  • It is imperative that staff members utilize predictive risk reasons to help guide their conversations and review the student holistically- courses tab, transcripts tab, notes tab, activity tab, etc. will give a holistic view of where the student is at and what is going on with the student.
  • More information about Predict can be found here.

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Communication Strategies

Build communication plan strategies for proactive outreach and to build rapport with students. The best practice is to be as coordinated and targeted as possible so that it is most relevant for the student.

  • Communication strategies can be built and deployed based on predictive risk indicators and risk reasons. 
  • Automated alert verbiage and messaging can be updated and personalized by tag, program, courses, location and many other parameters within SS&E Administration. 
  • Bulk and scheduled messages are powerful features that allow staff to send mass messages while still maintaining a personal touch.
  • For example, Medium Risk students who receive one alert may receive a specific email. Upon the second or third alert, this may warrant a text message or phone call.
  • Having standard communication plans based on the information presented in SS&E will assist with achieving a consistent clear workflow. 

Open Alert Metrics

When working with larger caseloads, a best practice is to set baseline metrics of time periods in which open alerts should be closed or responded to.

These metrics should reflect the staff resources available as well as the number of students assigned to a caseload. 

  • Students with Open Alerts can be found different ways:

Alert/Achievement Calendar

Develop an alert/achievement institution schedule/calendar reference chart for staff and faculty.

  • The Alert calendar should be updated each semester and communicated to all staff and faculty on when and which automated alerts will be triggered, including the parameters that trigger the alerts, on what information, and if/what the alert notification will include on messages sent to students. 
  • This has been proven as critical and very beneficial to the campus community, so that when alerts are received by students, the staff/faculty are aware of why it was triggered and what the student message on the alert notification says. 
  • For example, if your institution has a current grade alert triggering every few weeks, staff and faculty should have a clear understanding of when these will occur and what triggered it. 
  • The alert schedule can then be adjusted based on-campus resources and the ability to intervene. 
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