Using Beacon to Enhance Student Success

Beacon is one of the tools we can use to help students
understand their strengths; connect them with advisors,
mentors, and campus resources; and facilitate their
development. The goal is to help students realize academic
success, stay in school, and graduate.
How does the system work?
 All students are connected to a “success network”
consisting of their instructors, advisors, Residence Life
professional staff, and coaches.
 Faculty are connected to students in their classes as
well as with their advisees.
 Coaches and some organizations’ advisors
are also connected to students.
How does the system work?
 Anyone connected to a student has the ability to create
a notation about the student.
 Notations may be in the form of an Update, an Alert,
or an Encouragement.
 Updates are for sharing information about a student;
Alerts are items that require some action be taken.
 Encouragements are self-explanatory.
How Do I Make a Notation?
 Access Beacon through Blackboard or through the
Beacon page on the FSU website.
 Search for your student.
 Select Update, Alert, or Encouragement.
 Select the audience you want to receive the notation.
How Do I Receive and Reply to Notations?
 Whenever a notation is made, the selected
recipients receive an email.
 Through your Profile, you may elect to receive emailed
notices as they are posted or in a daily digest form.
 Clicking on the student’s hyperlinked name will take
you into Beacon and to the student’s page where you
can add a response.
Examples of Alerts:
 Adam has missed the last 4 classes, and has not turned
in a crucial assignment.
 by Darrell Rushton
 Audience: Full Network (Professionals and
Peers), Visible to Student
 I will reach out to Adam. I haven't seen him in ORIE
either, although I had a heart-to-heart with him last
week about classes and performance in them. Thanks.
 by Nicole Mattis
Examples of Alerts:
 I have been trying to reach Jon to schedule an advising
appointment so that we can get him registered for
spring classes. He has not responded to emails, so if
any of you see him, please send him my way.
 I want to encourage him (again) to declare his major,
 Jon has made an advising appointment with me.
Thanks, Coach!
Examples of Updates:
 Jamal recently completed an evaluation form for his
DVMT class on which he was asked to list his intended
major and the math course he plans on taking next
 He listed ART and DVMT 100.
 Art students can satisfy GEP math requirements
with MATH 104. DVMT 100 is NOT required for this
Examples of Updates:
 Brianna had two midterms. She is staying in both of
the courses - not W.
 Math 104 - she has been meeting with Don Maxwell
for tutoring.
 Hist 100 - she is working to improve her grade...
Response from Student:
Hello Dr. Rhodes,
I'm not sure how I have poor attendance, I have been to
every class except the one today and maybe one a few
weeks ago when I was sick, however, I have been
slacking on work in that class. I am trying to stay ahead
in my other classes and my performance in this one is
suffering. I made sure to turn in important assignments
and I am now working on completing late assignments
to turn in with grade deductions.
Complying with FERPA
 Law provides college students the right to inspect
official records directly related to them and…
 An opportunity to challenge such records on the
grounds they are inaccurate, misleading, or
otherwise inappropriate.
 Students have the right to review all notations in
Complying with FERPA
 The law restricts, with certain specified exceptions,
release of personally identifiable data about students
to third parties without the student’s written consent.
 [S]tudent written consent is not required where the
student records circulate within the University for
disclosure to those University officials with an
appropriate educational interest. Faculty members
and administrators are covered by this provision.
FSU Faculty Handbook
Beacon Notations Should…
 Be informative, but not so detailed as to cross the
privacy line
 Contain accurate information
 Not be judgmental or prejudicial
 Purport to diagnose a condition
Examples for Discussion
Susan is a student in my PSYC 213 (Psychology of
Adjustment) class who has not attended class all
semester. She responded to email indicating she had
been unsure if she was going to stay in school and that is
why she was not coming to class but that she would be
there the next class. It has not happened. She has
completed a few online assignments but not well and
missed the 1st in-class exam this week. She needs to drop
this course.
Examples for Discussion
I met with George today because he is a freshman on
academic probation. We discussed adopting some
behaviors that will help him be more successful
academically this semester, including time spent
studying and preparing for classes. He completed an
Academic Strategy in PAWS and set grade goals. I will
check in with George again after midterm warnings are
issued. If any of you see ways that George could improve
in your classes, please let me know. Thanks.
Examples for Discussion
During this semester, [student’s name] missed 33 homework
assignments, 7 quizzes, and 3 tests. She indicated in her
email to me at 12:14 a.m. this morning that: “my health
problems and mental issues regarding the sexual assault
really messed me up. It’s affected multiple classes. That’s why
I’ve been so busy the past few weeks with makeup work.”
I am wondering if anyone knows anything about this sexual
assault issue. I am assuming that if it is true, the Office of
Student Educational Services and/or the Counseling Center
would have contacted all of her teachers. I appreciate your
advice and suggestions. Thank you.
Examples for Discussion
Brandon stopped by today. His mother had a heart
attack and was just released from the hospital causing
him to miss Monday and Tuesday classes.
Examples for Discussion
Emily was absent from class again today. Other class
members tell me that she drinks every night of the week.
She needs to get her social life under control and start
focusing on her education.
Examples for Discussion
I think John has a learning disability. He can’t sit still in
class and disrupts class by asking questions that have
nothing to do with the lesson.
Examples for Discussion
Jacob had a 51% on the second Math 118 test and has a
48% overall average.
 When possible, have a conversation with the student
about your concern before sending an alert.
 Suggest what action you would like to see taken in
response to your alert.
 Be judicious when selecting the audience for your
update or alert.
 Indicate what course the student is taking.
 Peter has not been attending the lab for BIOL 149.
Effectiveness of Beacon
 Does posting alerts and
updates through Beacon
help students?
 YES!
 More communication
between faculty/staff
and students
 Opportunities to reach
out to struggling
 Can we do more?
 YES!
 We need more faculty
and staff to use Beacon
so that we are better able
to identify students in
difficulty and offer
assistance in a timely
How can we help?
 If you have any questions about using Beacon…
 If you experience technical problems using Beacon…
 If you would like to schedule training for you or for
your department…
 Please contact:
Harriet Douglas
PASS Office – 150 Pullen
[email protected]