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.

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