DSU Receives Award for Outstanding Use of Technology in Higher Education

Wednesday, 15 October 2008, Written by Jona Schmidt

WOW AwardDakota State University has been recognized for outstanding use of technology in higher education with a 2008 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award. WCET is a membership cooperative of institutions and organizations dedicated to advancing access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology. WCET has members in 46 states and six countries.

Dakota State was honored for the Student Retention Alert System which is a web-based early-alert system that signals faculty and advisors about students needing help before they fail their classes. Other programs recognized included Ohio, University of Alaska Southeast, University of Texas, and California State University. A more detailed version of the award winning Dakota State program is below.

Dakota State University: Student Retention Early Alert System. Technology experts at Dakota State University—Dr. Haomin Wang and Ms. MingMing Shao—developed a web-based, early alert system as one means of increasing student retention. It provides instructors and academic advisors with an easy-to-use, browser-based tool for alerting student services and academic advisors when students have academic difficulties (e.g., missing class, missing assignments, missing exams, etc.) or behavioral difficulties, so that proactive actions can be taken to help the student.

When an instructor searches for a student’s record, the database automatically populates student identification fields (advisor, major, etc.) and the instructor uses drop-down boxes to identify the student’s specific issues. Once completed, the system forwards the instructor’s report to both the student’s academic advisor and a centralized campus liaison. The campus liaison is responsible for contacting the student, for identifying and arranging additional services (tutoring, counseling, ADA testing, etc.) and for maintaining contact with the student to ensure that the follow-up services are helping to resolve whatever issues existed initially.

The system facilitates communications between the instructor, academic advisor, and the university on the actions each has taken to assist the student and to document observable outcomes. Since implementing several new retention programs, including the early alert system, retention rates for DSU’s freshmen cohort rate increased by 6% over previous years.

Last Updated: 8/12/11