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Beacon Access & Resources for Faculty & Staff

Getting Started and Posting a Beacon Alert

What is Beacon?

Beacon is an online early alert system where users can communicate information about a student to one another.

Beacon Notifications

Notifications are ways in which users can communicate information about a student to one another through Beacon. This information will help to provide members of the Success Network a comprehensive picture of student’s experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

The three types of notifications are Alerts, Updates, and Encouragements. To create a notification, you will log into Beacon using your Shepherd University Credentials. For instructions on how to post an alert, refer to the links above.

As a Reminder: When issuing a notification please avoid disclosing specific or personal information about a student’s circumstances. If you’re unsure of the language to use while posting the alert, contact the Office of Student Success directly to convey this type of information, or to receive recommendations of what to write in the content of the alert.

What are the Different Types of Notifications and How to Use Them?

ALERTS: Alerts are the most significant notification and will require that someone act on the alert. Alerts should be used when the information is directly relevant to the student’s outcomes; avoid specific information sharing. This information should be general, but enough to get the information across. Examples include the following:

Failing midterm warning Failed multiple quizzes, tests, etc.
Lack of social fit Ill family member
Loss of Financial support Discussion of leaving Campus
If a student has missed two or more consecutive classes Not turned in multiple assignments
The student is receiving, or is in danger of receiving, or is receiving a D, F, or IF Shows signs of distress of disengagement (use your best judgment if a referral is needed for counseling)

UPDATES: Updates are observations or comments you want to make about a student. This may be in the form of a note to yourself about the conversation you had, or you may want to share information with others in their success network. An example may be a reflection of how a face-to-face meeting went with the student, with a list of the topics that they spoke about.  Information about attendance, coursework, etc. that is a concern but doesn’t require a reach out from their Student Success Network (i.e. Student did not pass one test; needs to do well on the rest to receive a passing grade) Other examples would be:

Status change and/or further details from a previous alert Transition difficulties, academically, personally, or socially
Career/internship discussion Change of major

ENCOURAGEMENTS: Encouragements are a way to send a message to the student with the option to send just to the student or the students’ success network. Examples of this type of notifications are:

Recognizing excellent work in the classroom Acknowledging improvement on test grades
Recognizing good teamwork Providing positive feedback on assignments

Three Ways Access Beacon and to Post a Notification:

Faculty Experience Tool: Post a notification for a specific student in your class(es)
Beacon Webpage: Post a notifications if you’re assigned advisee’s, you can access your individual list of students through here
Quick Notification Tool: Post a notification about any student on Shepherd’s campus

What Happens After You Post an Alert?

  1. The Director of Student Success might follow-up with the individual who posted the alert, requesting more information.
  2. A reach out to the students will be made, notifying them that an alert was posted and they may be in academic danger for a particular class(es).
  3. Once a reach out is made, the following can happen:
  4. The student will either respond with an action to remedy the situation or the student may meet with the Director of Student Success to create a plan of action.
    Some examples are:
    The student may need to withdraw from the course(s)
    The student may need to sign up for tutoring session(s)
    Student may need to speak with their professor(s) or advisor
    Student may need to withdrawal from the University
    Connect students with campus resources
    Student may request weekly meetings
    Student may need to change their major
  5. Once a solution has been made the Director of Student Success will lower the alert and write a comment about the solution.

It is important to note that with the volume of alerts, the individual who wrote the alert may not receive an update until the alert is lowered. On occasion and depending on the situation with the student, the alert may not be lowered until the end of the semester. If you would like an update about the student you placed an alert on, please feel free to contact the Director of Student Success.

Quick Tips & Instructional Videos:

The Shepherd University Contact for Beacon

Julia Franks
Director of Student Success & Orientation Programs

Family Educational Rights And Privacy Act (FERPA)