Videoconferencing and Academic Advising

Using Desktop Videoconferencing to Promote Collaboration and Graduate Student Success: A Virtual Advising System

Pamela Havice, William Havice, Tony Cawthon, & Guy Ilagan

The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal

2009

NETS standards that are addressed

Teachers

  1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity
  2. Model Digital Age Work and Learning
  3. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership

Students

  1. Communication and Collaboration
  2. Technology Operations and Concepts

This article was very interesting to me because it did not only focus on advising students, but it’s main concern was how to meet the demands of advising graduate students specifically since their lifestyles and needs tend to differ from those of undergraduate students.

From the few studies that have been done solely on graduate students, it has been found that academic advising is important in maintaining retention, student success, and student satisfaction. The four main areas that were seen as most important for graduate students in terms of  their adviser were:

“Gives me regular and constructive feedback on my research.”

“Available when I need help with my research.”

“Gives me regular and constructive feedback on my progress toward degree completion.”

“Available when I need to talk about my program and progress.”

The most common concern for graduate students who were not happy with the advising done at their university was that their advisers seem inaccessible and hard to track down.

Since most graduate students manage full time employment, the needs of children and family members, and community responsibility on top of their schooling, their needs are often different from most undergraduate students. It is also common for graduate students to commute to campus or take a majority of classes online. To accommodate for travel time and busy schedules, this study used videoconferencing to have one-on-one appointments between advisers and graduate students.

Students in this study who had an appointment with their adviser via videoconferencing had overwhelmingly positive responses to it. Student were given a simple Virtual Advising System (VAS) kit which they installed on their computer and included a webcam. They were able to have one-on-one time with their adviser without having to waste time traveling to campus. Although most of the students admitted to likely face-to-face interactions better, they stated that they were still satisfied with VAS.

In my experience as a student, it can be very frustrating when advisers are not in their office during office hours, or when they are hard to track down. Although I do not commute to school, I have found that many of my peers travel at least 15-20 miles at least for their on campus classes. I think that using software such as Skype or any other videoconferencing system is something that is extremely beneficial to commuting students and is hopefully something we will be seeing more of in the near future.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Privacy and Security

I think that the internet is something that a lot of us take for granted. We never really question the information we are putting out there and think of it as something that is pretty safe in terms of privacy and security. Eli Pariser’s lecture on filter bubbles was something that I had heard about here and there but never really paid attention to it. I agree with him that it is our responsibility to change this. It should be our choice to determine what is or isn’t filtered out of our searches and that it is also important for us to be shown not just what is comfortable but also things that challenge us, are important, and shown other points of views as well. It is not fair that the internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, when in reality it really has no idea.

Hasan Elahi has a unique take on the internet and a refreshing sense of humor when it comes to being cautious about what you post on the internet since all we ever seem to see on the news and read in newspapers is about how dangerous it is to post too much information. At first I was a little skeptical about his solution, but after more of an explanation it all made sense. Instead of getting angry about being questioned so often by the FBI, he took it with a grain of salt and a sense of humor. Most people would be apprehensive to post this much information about their transactions and whereabouts, but he saw it as safe because he had control over it. He saw it as creating his own archives and still felt he had enough privacy and was still a very anonymous person. Some lessons that we can draw from Elahi’s experience is that the amount of privacy and security that one feels safe with is different for every person. As long as you feel you have control over the situation and the information out there, you are safe.

The news clip about facebook leading to robbery is something we often see in order to scare us into being more private and careful online. In terms of facebook, twitter, and other social media sites that are similar to these, I feel it is just a matter of being smart and limiting others’ access to your page. The privacy settings are there, they just need to be used correctly.

Overall the internet is something that should be available for everyone to use and for them to be able to use freely and openly as they please. Information and accessibility to this information should be the same for everyone and I feel that it is important for us as individuals to have a say in what information gets weeded out in terms of browsing. In a professional sense and as an educator it is important to represent your establishment in a positive way and be professional in all settings including your social media sites if people other than close friends and family can access them.