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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Internet and Advising

Virtual Advising: Delivering Student Services

Linda Wagner

New Directions for Student Services

2001

 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.

Social Networking and Higher Education Article 2

The Use of Alternative Social Networking Sites in Higher Educational Settings: A Case Study of the E-Learning Benefits of Ning in Education.

Kevin P. Brady, Lori B. Holcomb and Bethany V. Smith

 

Journal of Interactive Online Learning, Vol 9(2)

Summer 2010

 

 

Similar to the last article that I reviewed, this case study used university students who took part in an online class using the educational social networking site Ning. From 2006-2007 there was a 9.7% increase in the number of college students enrolled in at least one online class, (page 151) and with the steadily increasing use of social networking, it makes sense to merge these two aspects together. “Research has shown that distance education courses are often more successful when they develop communities of practice” (page 151).  This sense of community is important because often, learning takes place most effectively when one engages in social interaction. Social networking sites, or educational sites with a social networking type layout, better account for creating this sense of community between a group of students.

Course Management Systems such as Blackboard and Moodle are common sites that Universities use for their online courses, but these lack many aspects that social networking sites have such as media sharing, wiki, tagging, groups, friends, and profile pages which ultimately connect people together on a deeper level.  “Social networking sites created specifically for an educational audience provide a unique opportunity for educators to facilitate a strong sense of community among students and encourage personal interactions…” (page 153).

After a term of using Ning for their online courses, college students at College of Education at North Carolina State were surveyed about their experience. About 70% of those who participated felt that Ning allowed for more frequent collaboration with peers and colleagues compared to face-to-face interaction. Along with this, 82% agreed that it aided in communication outside the classroom.

With a majority of students who have used social networking sites as part of their classes, it is interesting to me that so many universities are still so hesitant to adopt this type of technology. Implementing social networking into college classrooms would be an example of multiple NETS standards. It would facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity by giving them the push to collaborate and learn from one another with the ability to share videos, websites, etc, the professor would be a role model digital age work and learning by being on track with new learning forums and it could be the start of engaging in professional growth and leadership for both the student and professor.