Students are not satisfied anymore if they have to wait a week for an advising appointment, they want immediate answers…sometimes even responding within 24 hours is no longer viewed as an expedient response. Students basically expect you to be online waiting for their questions, so I began to think about how I could provide that level of service without having to sit in my office next to the phone 24/7 or even being online 24/7 during the day.
Identify times of advising waves, when advising peaks in terms of need. We identified 4 major times.
Initially had a public website where we posted general information about the program, but this audience is for interested students NOT students in the program. This site is meeting the needs of a different audience. The Program Portal is created in the LMS…anyone can do this by changing the concept of a traditional course into a space for resource building which is focused on active and inactive students accepted into your program. ALL students in the program are enrolled into the “course” and have it as a constant on their online learning interface whether this is Bb, WebCt. D2L, Angel, Moodle etc You just create a course.
Previous to the online advising Portal all students entering the program received a “blue University of Akron folder” with documents to assist students in course choice, graduation, etc. This folder was costly, time consuming and hard to get to all students! Now we have a Virtual Blue Folder with ALL the documents necessary for students. This is an example of how the portal is much more effective than the website…since listing all these documents on the web is unnecessary, but very needed for students IN the program. Easy to update!!! Since I have been there we moved from a 36 hour program to a 30 hour program, changed the course numbers, course descriptions, course names. Etc. If we made these changes in the folder tons of work, in the portal and I am done in 10 minutes.
In any program you have learners at different places, especially in technology based programs. The portal adds extra learning opportunities to bring students either up to speed or to extend their learning if they already have the skills.
I would be remiss if I did not include the simple ways to accomplish this….e-mail, cell phone and texting. I do them all with my students. Keep archived files of e-mails with students, document phone calls if when I can, texting just goes away…try NOT do to this very much
I typically try and match the student’s choice for communication style in terms of video, audio or chat, although I think hearing voice is very important on these advising sessions..video actually becomes less important, but if a student chooses video I will also try and do video feed. You know that adds another element of preparation in terms of what they SEE on the other end..clothes, surroundings etc become more important. MOST students choose audio, but some have issues getting their mics working etc. Typically I move students into individual break out rooms for their conference time and leave this slide on the main room as a “waiting room” if you will.
I use Google Docs for a few reasons…I want to model the use of Google tools for my IT Master’s students and I want an easy way for them to collaborate on the document then have it to print, sign and snail mail or e-mail back to me. I’ll invite them to the document and while they fill in their name address and other information I will begin to discuss the coursework.
I find that 20 e-mails back and forth can be solved with one cell phone conversation..no the university does not provide my cell phone.
Survey and completion data have shown that…
Advisement and Counseling Strategies-Cheryl Ward University of Akron
Advisement and Counseling Strategies for Online Learners in Advanced Degree Programs<br />Cheryl L. Ward, Ph. D.<br />University of Akron<br />Ohio<br />
Session Description<br />Online learning provides convenience for learners who work all day, but connecting with students for advising and counseling in traditional face-to-face office meetings is challenging. Synchronous online tools have provided much needed social presence and opportunities for connections that are convenient for all. <br />
OR……<br />What do you do when you have 150 advisees who teach all day and can only meet after 4:30pm and do not want to drive and PARK on campus??<br />
Online Learners<br />Expect 24/7 access<br />Expect prompt responses<br />Want online access to all forms and information<br />Make decisions quickly, have limited time to make decisions and complete requirements<br />Need advising time in WAVES of need!<br />
Advising Waves<br />Registration time<br />Summer Advising –teachers are off in the summer and can pay attention<br />Fall new admissions to program<br />When ePortfolios are due March 15, July 15, November 15<br />
Discuss 3 types of advising<br />Accessing Advising Information<br />Interacting and Accomplishing Advising Tasks<br />Solving Advising Issues and Problems<br />
Accessing Advising Information<br />Regular public website versus Program Portal<br />Portal contains resources for active and inactive students accepted into the program<br />IT Master’s Blog<br />
The “infamous” blue folder goes digital!<br />
Content to help support and extend learning<br />
Online Discussions in Portal<br />One question answered advantages many!<br />Learners will answer questions!<br />More experienced learners help the newbies.<br />Online students feel part of a group for support and human contact.<br />
IT Master’s Program Blog<br /><ul><li> Widget driven
Students can RSS</li></li></ul><li>Interacting and Accomplishing Advising Tasks<br /> E-mail, cell phone, texting<br />Instant messaging in the LMS/Portal<br />Online Synchronous Advising Sessions<br />
Paging/ Instant Messaging<br />Paging feature in the LMS and portal area<br />See who is working make personal contact<br />
Collaborating on documents online<br />Google Docs enables you to work together on the document and saves the changes on one document<br />Student can see your work and add their own ideas and changes<br />Student and advisor immediately have a copy<br />Students can sign with a signature image or print, sign and send back through snail mail<br />
Online Advising Session Scenario<br />Make online appointment confirmed with e-mail directions<br />Prepare documents in Google Docs for synchronous work<br />Meet in Elluminate or other synchronous tool<br />Provide resources, allow time for discussion and questions, complete tasks, ensure student is comfortable<br />Invite participation in the Portal for additional information<br />Invite to campus meeting if needed<br />
Solving Advising Issues and Problems<br />Usually simple is better—cell phone quicker than e-mail <br />Cell phone with access to Google Docs and Portal to navigate together and show documents etc.<br />Elluminate with video—face to face meeting. You can read body language, see facial expressions, see frustration. Personalized attention with video<br />Face-to-Face at a common location, if campus is not convenient. I have done cohort groups at Panera<br />
Data on these strategies<br />Data have been gathered from learners who participated in the program before and after the implementation of the synchronous advising, counseling and information sessions. Interview and survey data indicate that the addition of these sessions has improved student achievement on the field experience and ePortfolio artifacts, increase student satisfaction with the program and with their own learning, and increased the number of students interested in the program through cohort recruitment. <br />
‘What is next?Step into Second Life<br />Experimenting with Second Life for advising<br />Huge learning curve for inexperienced<br />Time consuming and skill dependent<br /> At this point we think simple may be better for advising!<br />