Internet and Advising (Article #2)

A Web-based Decision Support Tool for Academic Advising

Tony Feghali, Imad Zbib and Sophia Hallal

Educational Technology & Society

2011

 With technology and online learning taking off in the higher education world, it is important that student services and academic advising keep up with these changes and adaptations. Advising is an important part of the student’s relationship with the university and adding  technology to this process aims to handle repetitive tasks therefore leaving the student and advisor to dedicate more time to planning his/her academic future. “The purpose of this study was to evaluate the current advising process at the Olayan School of Business, introduce and evaluate the effectiveness of an easy-to-read web-based decision support tool that elevates the student (advisee) and professor (advisor) relationship from a prescriptive one to a more engaging one, and to assess the web usability of such a tool”, (Feghali, Zbib & Hallal, 2011).

 The Online Advisor includes aspects such as creating academic schedules term to term and year to year, organizing graduation requirements, classes, degree checklists, credits completed and still needed, grades for each course, etc. It is unique in the sense that students are able to select possible courses and see where they fit or where they count in their degree evaluation before enrolling in the class.

 The Online Advisor was used in a test group of both students and advisors to get opinions on how technology could help with advising. Surveys were administered to assess how both students and faculty felt about the system. Overall both parties favored the addition on the Online Advisor to the advising process. Overall a high majority of participants felt that the Online Advisor was effective, efficient, and useful. Their attitudes were positive, 75% of students and faculty rated the Online Advisor as extremely useful and helpful.

 The aim of this program is not to replace one-on-one advising, but to be used for basic tasks so that the one on one time spent between the student and advisor can be more productive in terms of counseling, mapping out their education, career advising, etc. Wanting to get into this side of education, this would be extremely use and beneficial. Technology can be used in to let students take a certain amount of responsibility for their plan and develop problem solving skills. As the use of technology becomes more and more prevalent, students won’t have to meet with their advisor and waste time asking simple questions and dealing with “busy work”. This is interesting to me because with the use of technology we can actually enhance our in person interactions with students and be more efficient in the process.

 The NETS standards that this incorporates are (2) design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments for teachers/advisors as well as (3) research and information fluency and (6) technology operations and concepts for students.  Not only does it help advisors be more available and effect, it also gives students a chance to work out their questions on their own first and operate different levels of technology and internet systems. Overall a very beneficial and helpful program for both sides.

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4 thoughts on “Internet and Advising (Article #2)

  1. This sounds like a great idea. This is my first term back in school in a LONG time. I didn’t decide I was coming until summer time. I really wanted to meet with an adviser to figure out a plan for what I wanted to register for. I tried and tried in vain to get in touch with my assigned adviser. Turns out in August nearly everyone is gone. This online advising, while not the same as a face to face meeting, would have certainly been better than nothing. I think that it would be a great resource. Like you said, not to replace face to face but to answer the easier stuff to free up the time for matters more suited for face to face meetings.

  2. How do you think students will respond to this at your school? Do you think getting some of that initial information online will help or confuse them?

    Also, how do you think current advisers will respond? Do you think they will be supportive? Was there much discussion of who creates the content for advising? Is it the advisers? Outsiders? Or cooperation between the advisers and the designers?

    What potential issues do you see arising during the introduction of online advising?

  3. I appreciated the timeliness of your article posting! I live in West Linn, an hour or so outside of Monmouth and it is super frustrating to me when I am requested to come to campus to take care of business that can easily be handled online. Person-to-person contact is very important and necessary for certain components of advising. I agree with your statement that using online advising would free up a lot of time for advisors and students to be able to have more meaningful contact in their/our limited time. I also agree that use of technology to take care of the busy work, would enhance our interactions! Thanks for the great article review!

  4. Ashley, I think the use of an “online advisor” should be standard in every higher education institution!! Even now as a graduate student, I have to visit pages all over the school’s main site in order to gather the appropriate information for my scheduling, requirements, transcripts, grades, etc.
    I don’t see any way the attitudes of the participants wouldn’t be positive- unless there were bugs in the program, which apparently there weren’t. I agree, if we used this tool, we could probably focus advising meetings on deeper topics such as career planning, instead of trying to make sure the student has all the credits required to cover general education, or similar “busy work”.

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