Early Warnings Offer a Semester-Saving Opportunity

By Jonathan Webber, Kapi‘o Staff Writer / 

Students in risk of failing a course may receive an electronic alert from their instructors prior to the withdrawal deadline to inform them about where they stand in the course and what will happen if they continue their current path.

Starfish early alerts, a component of Starfish Retention Solutions, are made available to Kapi`olani Community College faculty to help with student retention and success. The alerts, which are sent at the discretion of the instructor, are delivered a week before the withdrawal deadline and prompt students to meet with their teacher to discuss their options. Rather than being surprised by a failing grade at the end of a semester, the student has the opportunity to withdraw from the course or, if possible, work with their teacher to raise their grade.

Starfish prompt students to meet with their teachers to avoid failing grades.

Starfish prompts students to meet with their teachers to avoid failing grades.

While the alerts are optional, many instructors are embracing them as another way to reach out to students who may be doing poorly in their course.

The alerts are “a very effective way to communicate with students,” said history instructor Kelli Nakamura, who was involved in the program’s implementation.

A survey identifies students in jeopardy of failing. Teachers then have the option of sending an alert via their class Laulima site and the student’s UH Gmail account.

This is the first year that the alerts are being used campus-wide, following a pilot program last year that involved a few classes.

“If you stay where you’re at, you won’t make it,” said student Kevin Roche, who received an alert from Nakamura regarding his standing in her history class.

“It actually felt like she cared,” said Roche, who was able to work with Nakamura to raise his grade from an “F” to an “A.”