Vetting Early Alert Technologies

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As more colleges and universities look to improve the success of those students who are most academically “at risk,” a host of software technologies to assist in early alert have proliferated on the market. Investment in such a third-party technology can be significant; yet many institutions purchase these tools quickly without the up-front decisions needed to ensure that the benefits will outweigh the cost.

We turned this week to Jennifer Jones, adjunct instructor at Minnesota State University, Mankato and a visiting assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, to learn more. While serving as the director of academic retention at the University of Alabama, Jones developed a comprehensive and strategic approach to identifying at-risk students.

Jones offers three critical pieces of advice:

  • Make certain you have defined, specific goals and that the technology you are considering is a good fit for those specific goals
  • Plan for how you will use and maintain the system -– before you buy it
  • Make sure that you select a vendor who will offer the level of support you need

In speaking with us, Jones offered checklists of the questions you need to be asking up front, prior to procuring new software. Here are some of the most important points.

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