Carteret Community College Title III Grant

Early Alert 8th Week evaluation


It’s the 8th week of the semester, and we’re pulling together a mid-term evaluation of the Early Alert system.  Again, keep in mind that this is a pilot project and that we’re piloting the software and the process. I am going to provide my impressions of what I’ve seen and heard, and what Bobbe and I have discussed.  But what is critical is your input.  We really need to get your thoughts and impressions so that as we move forward with this initiative, we are making it work for EVERYONE.  With that said, here are some Week-8 notes that I’d like to highlight:

One: From what I’ve seen, the software is working.  It has some glitches, but it’s a new piece of software, and we knew that we would be massaging it along the way (see list of tweaks below).  A number of things that need to be updated are only relevant on the administrative side of the software…I’m very keen on hearing comments from your side (the input side) of the software.

Two: We’ve had some success with the process, but we have a ways to go.  Particularly if we’re going to roll this out to the whole college.  This is the piece that will probably need the most attention.  I’m adding comments on this below.

Before analyzing product and process, let’s look at some numbers:

  • 40 students in EA cohort group
  • 39 faculty
  • 120 reports submitted (all faculty were required to submit a report on each of their cohort students in week 4)
  • 79 reports indicated that no intervention was required.
  • 33 required intervention
  • 6 had been resolved
  • Primary issues reported: Grades (23), Other problem (15), Test Taking Skills (8), Participation (7), Excessive Absences (6), & Preparation (6).

Here are my reviews on the Process and the Product:


  • Communication: With faculty to use the system needs to be strengthened.  There were instances where faculty (part-time) did not know they were to use the system
  • Communication: Between Bobbe and those who will intervene.  Need to ensure that those who will be intervening understand the process and have access to the administrative version of the software.
  • Communication: Between those intervening and Bobbe. The feedback loop needs to be solidified.
  • Communication: Between Bobbe & students.  There are about 6 cases where emailing and calling have not worked when trying to connect with student.
  • Whatever is written in the “proposed intervention” box needs to be specific.  It can’t be an action point, such as “emailed student”


  • When prompted to enter a student number to look up a student, only that student’s records should be viewable (currently, it’s a mixed bag of what appears)
  • More space for actual interventions; perhaps set it up so that interventions are listed in chronological order
  • A way of indicating (in the email announcement) that the attached alert is: a notice, a call to action, an action completed, etc…  This would allow Bobbe to focus more on those that need attention.

These are just a few of the key items.

Again, we are looking for your feedback.  Let us know what you think about the process and the product by posting a comment below.



  1. Speaking only for myself, this would be easier for me to remember to do (and get done) if the form were online — some secured web site with a basic php form that I fill out and it automatically gets e-mailed to all the relevant parties. Because I’m an adjunct, I had to find the adjunct computer in Wayne West, fiddle with it booting up (if you’re not computer literate, this would be a game stopper as the machine refuses to boot into Windows) and then wait for everything to load (there are continental drifts that move faster than that computer) before I could go through the Access file. Not to sound like a whiner — especially because once everything was up it was a simple process — but as a whole, I could definitely envision a much simpler (and quicker) way to do this, at least from the adjunct point of view. Hope this helps.

    Comment by James M. — October 7, 2009 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

    • It does absolutely James…thanks for the candor (and quick reply).

      Comment by don staub — October 7, 2009 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

    • I would appreciate something like this as well. As online adjunct, if I could just submit my thoughts in a copy of the form (or pertinent data from the form) via email, and have someone else enter the data, that would work, too.

      Comment by Lisa Taylor-Galizia — October 7, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  2. I thought filling out the reports was a breeze. I liked the idea that they were immediately sent, and then later I was contacted by email for a follow up…

    Comment by Kathleen Lang — October 7, 2009 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  3. I have only one online student. So far so good. The process is simple (if I have my notes).
    I’d be interested in knowing how it is helping on the other end.

    Comment by Lisa Taylor-Galizia — October 7, 2009 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

    • Good question Lisa…briefly, it’s doing some things well: e.g. helping us develop a system for data collection on these issues, getting a start on systematically assisting students early on (as opposed to when it’s too late)… And, some things definitely need improvment (see the communications issues above). I believe that once we get some of these things ironed out, we will have a useful product/process. Which is precisely why we’re piloting it…to learn such things. Thanks for your feedback.

      Comment by don staub — October 8, 2009 @ 8:13 am | Reply

  4. Some data and software suggestions:

    1) Only email addresses should be used for the students.

    2) Add the ability to enter new or different contact information.

    3) Add a box for instructor recommendations.

    Overall the software seems to work well. Not sure what happens after that.

    Comment by Allen Brooks — October 9, 2009 @ 6:47 am | Reply

  5. Allen…I’m glad you were finally able to get into the system. Thanks for the input. We’ve really struggled with the email issue. There are compelling arguments for both sides. Not sure where we’ll land with this one. I really like the idea for the instructor recommendations…as opposed to simply describing the situation. Thanks for the input!

    Comment by don staub — October 12, 2009 @ 8:54 am | Reply

  6. I found submitting the forms easy to do. I found having a set date for submitting may not be the best way. My students took a test the next day which would have allowed me more information to post or know if there is a problem. Frequent reminders to submit though are helpful since we are all new to the process. I was unable to view the responses Bobbe sent as follow ups. I received this message:

    File Not Found

    Firefox can’t find the file at /C:/DOCUME~1/heberth/LOCALS~1/Temp/XPgrpwise/Submitted.

    * Could the item have been renamed, removed, or relocated?
    * Is there a spelling, capitalization, or other typographical error in the address?
    * Do you have sufficient access permissions to the requested item?

    Comment by Heather Hebert — October 12, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  7. Thanks Heather…I’m looking into the technical issue you’re having. As for the communication loop, we know it’s an issue too. We are definitely trying to resolve that one…it’s the linchpin of the process.
    Keep in mind that the required submission date is not a substitute for submitting a legitimate alert (either before or after the 4th week). The purpose for the required submission was to get all pilot instructors using the system… Otherwise, we may not have ended up with this much useful feedback. I hope this makes sense.

    Comment by Don — October 12, 2009 @ 8:35 pm | Reply

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