Internet and Advising

Virtual Advising: Delivering Student Services

Linda Wagner

New Directions for Student Services


 This resource is useful because it acknowledges the fact that as times change and things become more technical, it is important for not only classrooms to keep but also for student services to keep up as well. “Student support services such as advising more often than not have lagged behind the infusion of technology into the curriculum”, (Wagner, 2001). As more and more universities are utilizing online classes and distance education options, it is important to student advising adapt to that this change as well since more and more students aren’t near campus for traditional one on one advising sessions. Advisors are not only there to help select classes for the term, but should also promote learning and development both personally and intellectually. In order to do this correctly and effectively, it is key that universities and student services use the World Wide Web to do the following which have been seen as most helpful to students.

                A clear explanation of core classes and requirements.

                A frequently asked questions section

                Informational pages for special populations/self help assistance

                Links to other important sites

                One on One access to advisors through possible chat rooms, email, list services, etc.

 It is most effective that this plethora of information be easy to access from one main area. “As technological communications continue to advance, the quality of our personal interactions via the web will improve”, (Wagner, 2001).

 With wanting to work in services for student athletes as an advisor, this information is extremely helpful. Knowing what works best for students and having a way to lay it out an organize it on the internet is both very important and time saving for both the student and advisor in terms of quick general questions. As technology advances, so will the way we communicate with our students. Finding a user friendly approach to this should be top priority so students still feel nurtured, encourage and supported throughout their college years even if they are not on campus.

 The NETS-T standard that this most addresses would be number 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. This study shows a list of the top 6 schools that seem to have the most proactive and user friendly student services webpage and which schools have adapted to technological advances in terms of advising students. User friendly websites for student advising improves student engagement to advising and allows them to be more self-sufficient. Schools that are incorporating technology into all aspects of their campus will be looked at as front runners in growth and development, things that students look for when choosing colleges.


5 thoughts on “Internet and Advising

  1. Ashley,

    I think you are absolutely correct when you say that “knowing what works best for students and having a way to lay it out and organize it on the internet is both very important and time saving for both the student and advisor in terms of quick general questions.” I have come across multiple situation in my own education as well as helping my younger siblings with college course questions. Some universities have developed a clear, well thought-out, and easy to accessible system, and well, others have not. In a educational time period where we ask our students to register for classes, and even take courses online, we need to set them up for success, not a load of frustration!

    You go on to state, “as technology advances, so will the way we communicate with our students” which is so true. I think that we so often don’t realize that the way we communicate with our friends and family is quickly becoming the way we communicate with students; e-mail, phone, and even IM or possibly Facebook which I have seen at the graduate level. Obviously the older, and hopefully more responsible, students are plays a part in the form of communication. But with the development of social networking sites for high school classrooms, students are having quicker and more instant access to their teachers.


  2. I agree that students deserve to have clear answers and an organized layout to follow. Nothing is harder than having an unclear process and a lack of communication between teacher and student.
    The advisor at the school, the one who interprets programs and offers explanation for confusing areas, has an increased dilemma as technology advances remove the one-on-one relationships of yesterday.
    We both know how difficult it is sometimes is to perceive attitudes, bias, judgement, feelings, tone, expression, intent,etc. with the written word so the expectation for increased competence where communication is concerned becomes even more critical.
    I find myself missing the communication we used to have more of. You know, letters mailed in envelopes, phone calls to share news instead of typed words on the page. I wonder about my own students’ communication skills and their future as a result. Just the other day I watched an older gentleman trying to have a conversation with one of our middle school students. The gentleman made every attempt to make eye contact with the boy, but the whole time the boy just looked down. When the conversation ended, the adult put his hand out to shake hands with the student and the student just stared, not knowing the appropriate way to handle this interaction.
    Technology and its advances has its drawbacks for sure…
    Thank you for your post.

  3. I agree that often student services are unable to keep up with the changes in technology. If they were, it would be helping those that are unable to have face-to-face time on campus. Your suggestions for university support are very practical and necessary for students these days. I would also agree that finding a user-friendly approach to help students feel more connected to their academic community is necessary.
    When looking for colleges in a small town in rural Eastern Oregon as a high school senior I relied on university websites to showcase their schools and the programs that were available through them. Some universities had clearly developed content that was user friendly and easily accessible and others did not.

  4. Hi Ashley. I think your paper is a little outdated- it’s possible that in the 10 years following it, many institutions took the authors’ advise to heart and actually implemented these changes! As far as I can tell, most University websites already offer most or all of this academic information. Perhaps the only one that I haven’t seen yet is “one on one access to advisors”. Do you think you’d like to do this? On the one hand, it feels more personal to actually speak to a student, even through online means. On the other hand, I think students become more self-sufficient when they’re in charge of reading about their options and choosing their own course of study. What do you think?

  5. Ashley,
    Advising is very important when it comes to individuals and their education. Like you said it is not all about what classes an individual needs to take but there are other very important aspects that are needed as well. Being able to incorporate everything that is needed to individuals in an online setting could be tasking especially without the person to person relationship that individuals create with their advisors. Still it I believe that this can be accomplished and I agree that a proper lay out and design that can allow students to feel like they are being treated in a manner that is beneficial and helpful will allow it to be successful.

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