An Alternate Approach for Advising Online Students
Presented by Jaclyn Kulls, M.Ed Graduate Student, Higher Education Leadership
TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO ADVISING
IMPLICATIONS / PREDICTIONS
WHY FOCUS ON DISTANCE LEARNERS?
• Participants will learn about various approaches to academic advising.
• Participants will gain insight on issues pertaining to online student
performance and retention rates.
• Participants will learn about new approaches to advising online
students by utilizing virtual technology in order to increase retention
and graduation rates for online programs.
Students face various difficulties including: issues navigating
technological platforms, feelings of isolation and confusion, and
inconsistent or vague communication from instructors (Clay, Rowland
and Packard, 2008; Cross, Mandernach & Huslig, 2013).
Students become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work and must
overcome misconceptions that online courses would be easier to
complete than their face-to-face counterparts (Clay, Rowland and Packard,
Academic advisors go beyond course registration processes and
assist students in self-discovery, career-life planning, and molding of
identities (Drake, 2011).
When there are dedicated student support services and additional
channels of communication, retention can increase nearly 30% (King
& Alperstein, 2015).
“Recognizing that online students do not have spontaneous
communications as a result of the natural interactions that occur in a
campus environment, it is imperative that advisors of online
students proactively reach out to foster frequent and consistent
interactions” (Cross, Mandernach & Huslig, 2013, p. 106).
Initiatives to support online students do not address the individualized
advising session and thus, presents a gap within higher education
Prescriptive: one-way information reporting where student development
and engagement is limited and students take on a passive role in the
advising process (Bloom, Hutson & He, 2008; He & Hutson, 2016; Jeschke,
Johnson & Williams, 2001).
Developmental: student theory based which facilitates a holistic,
cognitive development and environmental engagement, but requires
professional training and additional time commitment on the behalf of
the advisor (Bloom, Hutson & He, 2008; Crookston, 1994; He & Hutson, 2016;
Jeschke, Johnson & Williams, 2001).
Intrusive: intervention-based approach which utilizes multiple
communication channels and early-warning alert systems to identify at-
risk students where the advisors initiate pro-active contact (He & Hutson,
2016; Heisserer & Parette, 2002; Jeschke, Johnson & Williams, 2001).
• Intrusive advising software (i.e. early alert software) should be
implemented and used consistently across all departments.
• The six phases of appreciative advising can be implemented
through both email and video conferencing.
• Online students can be required to report their Skype or video
conferencing name to their advisors so that advisors can reach
out at the first sign of low performance.
• New technologies such as Cranium Café and Tawk can allow for
instant video or text-based chat without forcing students to
• Software that allows for data drops and shared screens can assist
in reducing student travel to the main campus and increasing
overall institutional efficiency.
By incorporating intrusive advising technologies, overall student
success and retention will increase.
Through incorporating appreciative advising into student-advisor
communication across virtual technologies (meeting the student
where they are), student satisfaction, student development, and
students’ feelings of ‘connectedness’ to the institution will increase.
It is through conscious, creative, personable, and positive interactions
with students across online mediums that retention and graduation
rates for online programs will increase.
Appreciative advising is “a framework for optimizing advisor
interactions…. [where] advisors intentionally use positive, active, and
attentive listening and questioning strategies to build trust and
rapport with students” (Bloom, Hutson & He, 2008, p. 11).
Appreciative advising uses the practice of positive psychology and
appreciative inquiry to develop and promote a strength-based
advising process (Bloom, Hutson & He, 2008; He & Hutson, 2016).
There are 6 phases of appreciative advising that break down
barriers to discover student strengths, and promote the discovery and
delivery of academic, personal and professional goals (Bloom,
Hutson & He, 2008).
a 15-20 percent
(Britto & Rush,2013).
(National Center for
Scheduling Bloom, J.L. (2014). Appreciative advising. Retrieved from https://www.umes.edu/cms300uploadedFiles/2014_aa_presentation_-
Bloom, J.L., Hutson, B.L., & He, Y. (2008). The appreciative advising revolution. Champaign, IL: Stipes Publishing LLC.
Britto, M., & Rush, S. (2013). Developing and implementing comprehensive student support services for online students. Journal of
Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1). 29-42.
Clay, M.N., Rowland, S., & Packard, A. (2008). Improving undergraduate online retention through gated advisement and redundant
communication. Journal of College Student Retention, 10(1), 93-102. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com
Crookston, B.B. (1994). A developmental view of academic advising as teaching. NACADA Journal, 14(2), 5-9.
Cross, T., Mandernach, B.J., Huslig, S. (2013). Academic advising for online students. In R. L. Miller & J. G. Irons (Eds.). Academic advising:
A handbook for advisors and students Volume 1: Models, Students, Topics, and Issues.
Drake, J. K. (2011). The role of academic advising in student retention and persistence. About Campus, 16(3), 8-12. doi: 10.1002/abc.20062
He, Y. & Hutson, B. (2016). Appreciative assessment in academic advising. The Review of Higher Education, 29(2), 213-240. doi:
Heisserer, D. L., & Parette, P. (2002). Advising at-risk students in college and university settings. College Student Journal, 36, 69-84. Retrieved
Jeschke, M.P., Johnson, K.E., & Williams, J.R. (2001). A comparison of intrusive and prescriptive advising of psychology majors at an urban
comprehensive university. NACADA Journal, 21(1-2), 46-58. doi: 10.12930/0271-9517-21.1-2.46
King, E. & Alperstein, N. (2015). Best practices in online program development: Teaching and learning in higher education. New York, NY:
National Center for Education Statistics. (2015). Number and percentage of students enrolled in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by
distance education participation, location of student, level of enrollment, and control and level of institution: Fall 2013 and fall 2014.
O’Banion’s Advising Definition (Bloom, 2014)