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Can DEWS Save your GPA?

By Brian Riley
Features Editor

LIU Post has recently implemented a Digital Early Warning System, which alerts students of their poor performance in classes. Faculty members can report student progress to a portal on My LIU, which automatically sends a message to the student and the student’s success coach or enrollment services counselor.

According to Lori Knapp, LIU’s Deputy Vice President of Academic Affairs, this system is meant to increase student awareness about their performance in classes. “It is understood in higher education that student persistence and retention are linked to engagement and early success in the classroom,” said Knapp.

Although this system has been in place since day one of the spring 2015 semester, it was used university-wide for undergraduate students in the fall of 2014. In addition, a smaller pilot program ran in the spring of 2014. According to, Abby Van Vlerah, the Dean of Students, the online system replaces a paper system of warning notices that was in place in a few departments, such has athletics and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

Throughout the course of the semester, there are several points when a professor can flag a student. There is no specific grade that causes the warning to be sent, but faculty members can report a student based on participation, attendance, assignments, and midterm progress.

Benjamin Gerdes, Assistant Professor in the Media Arts Department, is one of the professors who has used the new system. So far, he has only used the alert system for the attendance aspect. Gerdes believes that the system is not perfect, but has the potential to be of assistance to a student.

“It would probably be very difficult to develop a progress system for all classes, but in general, it’s good to have a progress marker,” Gerdes said. The only drawback, according to Gerdes, is the limited feedback that the professor can send to the student and academic counselor.

Senior Broadcast major Yaritza Abreu agrees, and thinks a larger amount of feedback would benefit the students. “I would prefer a descriptive comment; I don’t want an operator telling me I’m failing,” said Abreu. Abreu is indifferent to the delivery of the message, but believes it is beneficial, saying, “It gives students a chance to pick up their slack.”

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