ICET Quickguide: Beacon Early Alert in Desire2Learn

Beacon is a campus-wide early alert system that notifies the Pioneer Academic and Transitional Help (PATH) Center when a faculty and staff member creates an alert about a student who is struggling academically in their courses.  Research shows that students identified as "at risk" within the first 2 - 3 weeks of the semester who are then offered help and accept the help are more likely to succeed. For those faculty who use Desire2Learn, a Beacon widget appears in each course shell to make it convenient for faculty to report to PATH about students who may be academically at risk. This quickguide explains how to use the Beacon Widget.  For more information about Beacon and alerts, see PATH Quickguide on Beacon.  For more information about PATH, visit their homepage.   Information is also available in the Beacon Video!


  • Firefox or Chrome are preferred browsers

Note: If the student you are reporting on is not found in Beacon, you will need to contact PATH directly.  If you do not use Desire2Learn it is still important to contact PATH about at risk students.  Call 608.342.1081 or email  

Steps to Follow:

  1. Log into Desire2Learn.
  2. Select a course.
  3. The Beacon Widget appears on the right side of the screen.

Beacon Widget
Beacon Widget on Desire2Learn Course page

  1. Scroll down in the widget and click Create Success Notification.
  2. Type in username and password if requested.

Beacon Login Screen
Beacon Login Screen

  1. Search for the student by entering their name or username (email).

Note: DO NOT PRESS ENTER!  Wait for the list of matching names to appear.

Beacon Search
Beacon Last Name or Username Search

  1. Select the name of the student, if found.  

Note: if the name does not appear, then contact the Path Center directly by phone or email. Call 608.342.1081 or email

Beacon Success Notification Data Entry Screen

Note:  The warning message that appears is an internal Beacon notice about the student's advisor.  This can be ignored.  An Alert notice when submitted is sent to the PATH office who will then attempt to followup with the student.  

     8.  Select the "Alert" tab 
     9.  Mark the "Allow student to view alert" checkbox.  The alert will be shared with the student.
    10. Type in a note to the PATH Center staff.  Refer to the list of possible reasons or comments from the PATH Quickguide on Beacon.
    11. Click the Submit button.
    12. The Success screen should appear and allow for another notification to be entered.  Close the window if no more notifications are needed.

Completion Screen for Notification

If you need further Assistance, contact or phone 608.342.1792

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