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Tulsa Community College Taps Starfish To Monitor for Students in Need

Tulsa Community College has selected Early Alert and Connect from Starfish Retention Solutions to enable the college to identify at-risk students in real time. The system will help campus staff to connect those students with support resources such as an academic advisor, dean of students, healthcare personnel, and other services that can assist the student when help is needed.

Starfish will primarily be used to monitor the performance of students who are part of the Achieving the Dream initiative and the Tulsa Achieves program. Achieving the Dream is a multi-year national initiative to help college students succeed. For the last three years, the college system has participated in Achieving the Dream. The initiative is particularly concerned with student groups that traditionally have faced barriers to success, including students of color and low-income students. With this initiative, TCC works to increase the number of students who successfully complete their coursework, persist from one semester to the next, and ultimately earn degrees and/or certificates.

Tulsa Achieves is a state program that helps students pay for their education. Since it was started in 2007, more than 2,500 students have enrolled in the community college through the program.

Starfish Early Alert will automatically and securely notify the appropriate instructor or advisor on campus when a student turns in an assignment more than seven days late or when a student's grade average drops below 70 percent. Starfish Connect will enable all students, including those at risk, to go to an online service and find and schedule time with advisors and tutors.

"Today's students live in a digital world, and Starfish will connect them to services early enough to improve their chances of graduation and success," said Randy Dominguez, dean of distance learning. "As community colleges strive to demonstrate and improve outcomes for students, we are excited about using Starfish to provide data generated in real time to inform our decisions about who needs help and how to further improve our service programs."

"Tulsa Community College is proud of our ability to use the latest technology to amplify the efforts of our students, instructors and advisors, regardless of whether they regularly visit one of our campuses or take classes online," said Dominguez. "By incorporating Starfish into our course management system, our community of full-time, part-time, adjunct, and distance learning instructors will now be able to know which of their students are having trouble and be able to refer them to the right support resources in time to help."

The college serves about 35,000 students annually in credit and continuing education classes.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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