Faculty Matter Teaching Tip #18: Re-engaging Students Who Are At Risk to Fail the Course

This is the time in the semester where you become aware of students who are struggling in your course. Reaching out to students in the middle of the semester is a proven effective way to re-engage them in the class, increase learning of the content, and ultimately increase their academic success.  Below are some resources to support students.

Progress Reports and Spartan Connect Program

Last Friday, the Office of Student and Faculty Success sent out requests to some faculty for progress reports on some students. If you have these students in your class, you would have received an email with the subject header “Spring 2017 Progress Reports”. Please take the time to read and respond to that email.

This is a request for your help in identifying students in your class who may be in jeopardy academically and might benefit from extra support. We realize that your time is valuable and your prompt participation in this request allows us to provide appropriate and effective academic support for the students who might be at academic risk.

In addition, you have the ability to proactively alert us to any other students who are struggling in your class (who you weren’t asked about in the progress report email). Through Spartan Connect, you can bring these students to the attention of our staff advisors who will reach out to the student.

Using Canvas Tools to Identify Students in Need of Support

There are a couple of tools in Canvas that allow you to relatively quickly assess the engagement of students in your course and to reach out to those students. When you open a course shell, select “View Course Analytics” on the right-hand side. From there you can see the activity, submission, and breakdown of grades by assignment. At the bottom of this, you will see a list of the students in the class. When you click on a student, you see their level of engagement. If you wish to reach out to the student, you can click on the “envelope” icon by their name to send them a message.

There is also a new feature in Canvas called “Student Context Cards”. Click on “People” on the left side bar. Then when you click on a student’s name, a panel will open on the right that summarizes the student’s overall grade, grades on recent assignments, and level of participation and viewing of course pages. You can scroll through the students in your class to see each student’s context card. If you wish to reach out to the student, you can click on the “envelope” icon by their name to send them a message.

Connecting Student to University Support

Below are some places on campuses where students can get tutoring or attend academic success skill workshops. You can highlight these resources to all students by mentioning them at the start of class, posting them on Canvas, or emailing them to the class. You can also pass this information on to particular students who you see struggling. Send them an email or Canvas message with the resources and a note encouraging them to both take advantage of these resources and to come and see you in office hours.

Peer Connections provides one on one appointments for peer mentoring and tutoring. They also offer several workshops a month on academic success skills. The Writing Center offers one on one tutoring for writing, online resources, and workshops. The Communications Center has drop in and one on one appointments for oral and written communication. There are also numerous tutoring centers in the departments and colleges listed on the Tutoring Hub.

Educational Counseling provides one on one appointments, workshops, and online resources for academic success. The Spartan Success Portal has a range of online, academic success modules.

The library has technology workshops. In addition, the library offers resources to support students, including laptop and I-pad rentals, meeting rooms that can reserved for teamwork or collaboration, details online to help the student define the type of resources and help they need and how to connect with a librarian, and online resources on referencing and literature reviews and tutorials on plagiarism.

While we know this is an incredibly busy time of the semester, the time you spend now reaching out to students and connecting them with support is an investment that will pay off in their improved academic success.

You can read all previous Faculty Matter Tips on the Provost’s Academic Spotlight blog under the category “Faculty Matter. Share your thoughts and ideas by clicking on the comments link below.

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