MCC Daily Tribune
President's Wednesday Message
This Wednesday Message, I will respond to a couple questions that came in through the anonymous portal. Thank you for these questions!
Faculty are asked to complete Starfish surveys multiple times per semester. Do we have data that shows that the use of Starfish is successful at MCC? I define success as students who are contacted (flags) that complete the semester with a 2.0+ GPA. This data is important to calculate the cost-benefit analysis of Starfish.
The definition of success put forward by the individual submitting the question suggests that Starfish itself can impact retention and grade point average. It cannot. Starfish facilitates communication about and tracking of needed interventions and behaviors that are linked to student success, such as tutoring or attendance. In past year, MCC retooled the intervention process for school specialist to reduce the length of time it takes to get back to students. The College is also moving to a more direct system of intervention that will give the faculty direct access to an online referral system to the tutoring center.
The Starfish Early Alert system allows users to raise flags and send automated and manual alerts to students. Use of the system here is primarily with defined populations of students, for example online students and student-athletes. Among the results in the most recent analysis are the following:
- Students who received both an email and a phone call were almost 9 percentage points more likely to remain enrolled in the course and were about 5 percentage points more likely to earn C or Better grades than students who only received an email for low attendance.
- Online early alert flags have yielded the highest persistence rates in online courses ever achieved at the college. For the first time ever, 90% of the students who start an online course are still present at census, a number that historically has been as low as 70%.
- Starfish Kudos were found to have a significant lift in our lowest quartile students; in this population the lift was about 8 points higher than for students in the top quartile. Again, this suggests that targeted interventions based on demonstrated or predicted need for an intervention are having real impact.
Academic research has shown that mandatory new student orientations increase student success. Why doesn't MCC require mandatory, on-campus (except for 100% fully online students) orientation for new students?
I agree that Orientation is foundational. In 2015, Orientation was moved from Student Life and Leadership to Admissions to more closely align it with the onboarding process as well as our movement into guided pathways. Institutional Research used Civitas to create impact reports on face-to-face and online Orientation. In both cases, students who took Orientation showed an increase in student persistence: 4.3 percentage points for face-to-face and 6.2 percentage points for the online version. Discussions about making Orientation a required step prior to enrollment continue. Student Services and Academic Services are also discussing onboarding through the college success course.
As with the College's decision several years ago to mandate registration deadlines and drops for non-payments, any decision about mandating orientation would need to address concerns about equity in implementation and any impact on enrollment and/or other student services. Examples of questions that would need to be answered: Would we provide child care for individuals required to attend face-to-face orientation or offer facilitated computer lab access to those required to complete orientation online? Would we commit to dropping students who did not attend orientation? How would we address the loss of this enrollment in individual classes or for individual instructors?
When students call MCC's direct number 585-292-2000 it gives a very unwelcoming message and does not prompt the student where to be directed ... have you been able to make any progress regarding this topic?
The Student Services division is pulling a group together to improve the College's outgoing message. In addition, the College continues to look into expansion of the use of artificial intelligence in programs that can serve individuals looking for information. You likely have noticed the "Ask Tiberius" link that pops up when you access our admissions and Financial Aid websites. This feature was added to provide a higher level of service to our students and is in a "soft" roll-out. An official roll-out of this feature will be coming in the near future as well as a more prominent spot for "Ask Tiberius" on the college's website. Finally, Student Services is exploring the development a student-staffed call center. Individuals with questions will be able to call, text, or email a single point of contact and receive consistent correct responses. The division is committed to having the call center up and running for the Fall 2019 term. One goal is to move us away from the use of the 292-2000 number for general inquiries during business hours.
If you have additional questions, please submit them through the portal, and I will respond in a future post. As always, please feel free to leave your comments on the blog.
Office of the President