Supporting Students with Technology: Academic Advising in Higher Education
Published by: Russ Poulin | 5/18/2016
With the desire to support our learners, a number of colleges and universities are implementing technological methods and approaches for academic advising. Whether it is campus change or technological necessity, we need a way to encourage advising programs to consider technology for both content and service delivery for advisee-centered approaches. By researching technological trends and challenges, conducting campus-wide assessments, and establishing strategic plans, higher education stakeholders can effectively integrate technology into student support practices to align with individual advising objectives and to further the goals of the institution.
Surveying Institutional Perceptions and Practices on Advising
It is a critical time to assess how these campus stakeholders are employing digital resources to scaffold learners beyond the course curriculum. To understand the impact technology has on student support and practice The Global Community for Academic Advising (NACADA) association, specifically the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission sponsors semi-regular surveys for the NACADA membership (e.g. 2002, 2007, and 2011). In 2013 a new survey instrument was designed to capture data, specifically to identify how higher education advising staff and senior administration employ technology to support their practices. A total of 990 respondents completed the survey; however 65% identified as an academic advisor/counselor. The other respondent’s role on campus included advising administrators (22%) and faculty (4%).
Many Technologies Used in Advising; But Most-Used are Familiar Tools
Here are the key findings we thought were important to highlight from this study:
Overall, we found the advising community communicates with campus stakeholders across their institutions and to stay connected to professional peers outside the institution:
Technology Needs to be Location-Free, Build Rapport, and Use Current Systems
The open-ended responses highlighted the interesting perspectives, challenges, and current practices when respondents shared “ideal technology in advising practice” to meet the needs to support students and their advising functions. Here are a few central themes about their sentiments for advising technology on campus:
It is imperative that campus decisions about technology and learning also include design and delivery methods that are inclusive of academic advising needs. From this research, it there is both a need and desire to improve front-line advising and student support practices in higher education. Beyond soliciting input during the technology purchasing and implementation, it will also be imperative for our institutions to consider how student support is organized and assess current advising practices.
To integrate or update technology for advising, our institutions will need to also consider how they will provide additional support, training, and job aid resources to scaffold technology use for the students, staff, and faculty user experience. In the efforts to expand this research and distribute this knowledge for higher education technology for advising, the survey instrument, data, and white paper (also shared on Academia.edu) from this study are shared by the researchers with a Creative Commons license.
George Steele, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University
Pasquini, Laura A.; Steele, George (2016): Technology in academic advising: Perceptions and practices in higher education. figshare. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3053569.v7
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