AcAdv, AdvTech, StudentAffairs

Supporting Learners with Technology: Perceptions and Practices of Technology in Advising

It is a critical time to assess how campus stakeholders are employing digital resources to scaffold learners beyond the course curriculum and learning environments. A growing number of colleges and universities want to advance how they offer student support using technology outside the “classroom.” This campus change is impacting more student success and academic advising programs as they consider the best technology to provide advising content and service delivery for learner-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.

#advtech

Surveying Institutional Perceptions and Practices on Advising
 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%).

Key findings from this study:

  • Top 3 advising technologies: desktop computers, campus storage networks, & Wi-Fi
  • Technology tools/platforms the institution wants advisors to use: learning management systems (46%) and laptops (40%)
  • Technology tools/platforms utilized by advisors: 24% use scanners and 23% use social networks (e.g. Twitter and Facebook).
  • Advisors communicate with technology (daily) primarily with: other academic advisors/counselors (86.35%) and students (89.88%).
  • Advisors less frequently use technology to communicate with: academic administrators (58.08%), faculty (47.22%), & student affairs administrators (37%).
  • Daily advising practices include: e-mail (99%); face-to-face interactions (91%); locally installed word processor, spreadsheets, etc. (80%); phone (73%) and Facebook (30%).
  • Less frequently used advising technology (< 2%): licensed video-conferencing (e.g. Adobe Connect, Wimba, Zoom), retention software, photo-sharing websites, and podcasts.

Overall, we found the advising community communicates with campus stakeholders across their institutions and to stay connected to professional peers outside the institution:

  • 70-90% think advising technology supports information distribution on campus, and sharing knowledge and maintaining connections within higher education.
  • 24% indicated that advising technology tools do not help with communication and student scheduling.
  • 80-92% believe advising technology helps them work faster and more efficiently, produce higher quality work, store advising information, simplifies the academic advising administrative processes, and contributes positively to their academic advising role.

Technology Needs to be Location-Free, Build Rapport, and Use Current Systems

When asked what their “ideal technology in advising practice” to support students and advising functions, respondents wanted advising technology to:

  • Be integrated into current systems and existing campus technologies.
  • Create opportunity and access for student support and advising regardless of physical location, time, etc.
  • Help build an advising rapport, make connections, and support communication.
  • Support transparent knowledge sharing and degree completion information.
  • Scaffold effective online and blended models of academic advising.
  • Address the needs and challenges related to advisor and learner preferences and/or practices for student support/services.
  • Capture the holistic view of the student learning experience, which is essential to enhance academic advising practices and institutional outcomes.

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 using technology. Beyond soliciting input during the technology purchasing and implementation phase, institutions need to consider HOW student support is organized and ASSESS current advising practices and models.

To integrate or update technology for advising, our institutions will need to also consider how they will provide additional support, offer advisors training, and create job aids or 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. Thanks for the support of the NACADA #AdvTech Commission, and co-author George Steele.

Reference:
Pasquini, L. A., & Steele, G. (2016). Technology in academic advising: Perceptions and practices in higher education. figshare. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.3053569.v7

Note: A version of this blog post was also shared on the NACADA Blog and the WCET Blog. In the coming months, I look forward to working with research collaborators on an updated version and replication of this study.  

mentor, mentoring

Thank Your Mentor Day!

Happy THANK YOUR MENTOR Day! January, with January 17, 2016 being International Mentoring Day, was proclaimed National Mentoring Month by President Obama. This mentoring campaign is targeted at supporting youth and mentoring IRL (#MentoringIRL).

miyagi_mentorAlthough my youth is behind me, I can definitely say a number of people helped to get me where I am today. A mentor can listen, teach, guide, and coach. Can you think about the mentor(s) in your life? Where would you be today had it not been for their support?

Here are a few simple ways the National Mentor Campaign suggests to THANK your mentor:

  1. Contact your mentor directly to express your appreciation;
  2. Express your gratitude on social media; (#MentorIRL)
  3. Pass on what you received by becoming a mentor to a young person in your community;
  4. Make a financial contribution to a local mentoring program in your mentor’s honor; and,
  5. Write a tribute to your mentor for posting on the Who Mentored You? website.

You can download a Thank you card from the Campaign Marketing Materials page.

As a thank you to all the mentors who have supported me and the mentees I have learned from, it would be only fitting to introduce this research study on this topic; however now I am interested learning how mentoring supports professionals and the field they work in:

Exploring Mentoring Programs in Professional Learning Organizations

Have you been part of a mentoring experience? Tell us about it. I am grateful for the informal and formal mentoring experiences, and I would not be interested in this study if it weren’t for the formal mentoring programs I have been a part of (shout out to ACPAgrow & NACADA ELP).  If you have any formal or informal mentoring experiences, please take a few minutes to share by filling out this survey:

http://bit.ly/ExploringMentoring

More about the research study: https://techknowtools.wordpress.com/mentoring/

AcAdv, Higher Education

The Future of Advising

This week I am at the NACADA’s International Conference, Melbourne, Australia (#NACADAmelb) with The Global Community for Academic Advising. Today our panel (George, Catherine, Jennifer, and myself) started a conversation around the following prompt: “The Future of Advising: Current and Past Predictions to Shape Our Future.” This panel was designed to poke at the issues and uses of technology in higher education for student support, academic advising, and personal tutoring. Much of the discussion was focussed on the Lowenstein’s chapter, Envisioning the Future (as shared in What’s On the Horizon for Academic Advising? recorded lecture), and Steele’s article, Five Possible Future Work Profiles for Full-time Academic Advisors, specifically to address the following issues with advising:

  1. If advising is teaching, how will technology assist in its delivery?
  2. How will technology shape the role of advising as a profession?
  3. How will current trends such as “big data,” “predictive/learning analytics,” and financial support in higher education impact advising? 

Although this international conference holds a variety of perspectives and definitions for academic advising, students support needs and challenges in our post-secondary institutions are very similar. Regardless of geographic location or educational systems, collaboratively we can benefit from our collective experiences just like the innovators who created the digital revolution (Isaacson, 2014).

Themes emerging from our discussions included student support needs, advising responsibility and workflow, peer tutoring/advising roles and models, change literacy, leadership strategy with change, and cultural considerations. Most often people want to talk about the shiny, bullet (technology) solution, but really there are a number of other considerations for the future of advising and students support in higher ed that go beyond a platform or application.  With this panel discussion, we really wanted to provide a springboard to dive into the issues relevant to advising, beyond technological solutionism.

RobotsJob

Fortunately for us, we had a number of brilliant administrators and faculty at our #NACADAmelb session who asked insightful questions and prompts we should think deeper about. I will leave these questions here for you to ponder as you consider what lies ahead for the future of advising and student support in higher education:

    • Will there be a future?
    • Advising is such a personal, developmental relationship. How can technology – any technology – deliver better than a real person?
    • How do we engage and keep students engaged in online advising?
    • Will academic advising ever be part of a strategic plan?
    • Will advising ever be rewarded like research or teaching?
    • How do we effectively support students?
    • How do we use our data to predict future trends and be more proactive in a digital and physical advising environment?
    • How can technology be used to support student advising?
    • What are the best exemplars in the field?
    • How do we keep the pace with the communication styles and needs for our learners?
    • What are the best tips and tricks for distance education advising?
    • How will the status of advising, as a profession worldwide, be valued?
    • What are the pedagogical and theoretical underpinnings the global community of advising (NACADA) should consider?
    • When will robots be able to do my job? [Find out.]

References

Isaacson, W. (2014). The Innovators. How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. New York: Simon & Shuster.

Lowenstein, M. (2013). Chapter 14: Envisioning the future. In J. K. Drake, P.   Jordan, M. A. Miller(Eds.), Academic advising approaches: Strategies that teach students to make the most of college. (pp. 243-258). San Francisco,  CA: Jossey-Bass

Pasquini, L. A. (2015, February 22). What’s on the horizon for academic advising? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkGgsJrRZMg

Steele, G.E. (2006). Five possible future work profiles for full-time academic advisors, NACADA Journal, 26(2), 48-64.

AcAdv, AdvTech, nacada

NACADA TechTalks: Connecting 1:1 – Using Digital Tools to Enhance Advising

NACADA

The NACADA Technology in Advising Commission is pleased to announce our next “NACADA #AdvTech Talk” happening on Friday, February 21st at 1 pm CST.

You may have joined us for previous NACADA TechTalks; however this upcoming event we will be piloting a few new technology platforms, such Google +Hangout ON AIR and the #advtech Twitter backchannel.

Connecting 1:1 – Using Digital Tools to Enhance Advising

{You can watch this event as we STREAM LIVE from this blog post, directly broadcasting from the NACADA #AdvTech YouTube Channel, or find the event on NACADA #AdvTech on Google Plus!}

About the upcoming NACADA #AdvTech Talk:

This interactive one-hour session will introduce you to a student-focused approach for using social media and other digital tools for academic advising.  Learn how to increase your accessibility for students by effectively communicating one-on-one via digital tools like instant-messaging, tweeting, and texting… all without overwhelming…

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AcAdv, nacada

What’s On the Horizon for Academic Advising?

Last week, I shared my thoughts about what academic advising might look in the future in higher education with an advising group.

Based on Lowenstein’s (2013) “Vision, Not a Prediction” description in his Academic Advising Approaches chapter, I shared my ideas of how the field of academic advising COULD contribute to evolution of post-secondary education. Lowenstein shares a number of insights and examples about how advising as a profession can move forward, so my talk focussed on HOW (specifically with examples) where faculty and professional advisors can enhance student development in terms of:

  1. Interaction with students to  contribute and encourage learning outside their curriculum.
  2. Influence to changes and developments on their own campuses.
  3. Integration into the broader focus and purpose of academia.

Much of this session discussed how higher education institutions and administrators would be the only ones to lead advising changes, unless the advising profession asked the following questions themselves:

  • What is the role of advising or the advisor in post-secondary education?
  • What will advising look like in 5, 10, or 20 years?
  • What do YOU want the profession of advising to look like?
  • What sort of advising “profession” do YOU want to participate in?
  • How can YOU contribute to the change and develops occurring in higher ed, specifically with regards to how advising is organized?

In thinking about my own responses to the above prompts, I know that advisors can be at the forefront of institutional and organizational change. A number of advisors I interact with and know are very forward thinking, innovative problem-solvers who want to contribute to research, teaching, or service initiatives for the profession. It is this type of critical thinking and resilience of this generation of advisors, that we need to step up to debate practices, contribute ideas, and become active participants in how the role of advising at our institutions.  Does this mean increased advising training and development, enhance qualifications, or greater expectations for advisors? Perhaps. I think the advising community of practice can decide that, and should before some one else in the post-secondary sector decides to take this challenge on without consulting advisors altogether.

 

Reference

Lowenstein, M. (2013). Chapter 14: Envisioning the future. In J. K. Drake, P. Jordan, & M. A. Miller (Eds.), Academic advising approaches: Strategies that   teach students to make the most of college. (pp. 243-258). San Francisco,   CA: Jossey-Bass.

 

 

AcAdv, nacada, NACADA Tech

#AdvTech at #nacada13…More Than Just a Hashtag!

AdvTech Puts A Hashtag on It

 

Well, I’ve had some travel & packed appointment days, so here’s my delayed RECAP post from the 2013 Annual NACADA Conference (#nacada13) in Salt Lake City, UT. I proudly passed the NACADA Technology in Advising Commission (#AdvTech) chair torch to Julie Larsen (@julieclarsen); however I thought I would highlight some of the great things from our commission, steering committee, and general happenings at the #nacada13 conference:

So I just want to say…

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 12.08.33 AM

Are you interested in getting involved with the #advtech commission? The #AdvTech NACADA Technology in Advising Commission Sign-up for 2013-2014 is still open http://bit.ly/advtech13.  Please complete this form to let us know HOW you want to be involved this year. Talk to our #advtech steering committee leaders if you have questions, ideas, or suggestions for our commission!

AcAdv, NACADA Tech, nacada10, Reflections

Academic Advisors + @AcAdvChat = #AcAdv Chat Network

For my colleagues in higher education, WHERE do you get new ideas, resources, and share information about academic advising?

  • Is it just down the hall from your office in the break room near the water-cooler or coffee pot?
  • Do you connect with others at a regional or national conference every year?
  • Or is there an opportunity to connect with other faculty and professional advisors at your campus for a training and development session?
  • Is it through a professional association listserv, e-mail list or discussion board?
  • On a Facebook page/group, LinkedIn Discussion, or another social media platform?

BUT wouldn’t it be great if you had a regular space and place to have these conversations, ask questions, share trends & issues, utilize a professional sounding board, and connect to  advising colleagues at other institutions about academic advising? {A small group of advisors asked in October 2010 at #nacada10}

sh

ENTER = @AcAdvChat & the #AcAdv Chat Hashtag

#AcAdv Chat

Since the start we have been fortunate to have a few great people collaborate to support the @AcAdvChat handle and chat each week. The #AcAdv Chat Team helps create weekly chat topic polls, brainstorm questions,  moderate the chat, and update our social media platforms, including those we said goodbye to (Delicious & Posterous), and those  social media sites we still use (Twtpoll, WordPress, Twitter, & Facebook Page) each and every week. THANKS FOR ALL THAT YOU DO! Go team! Here are the #AcAdv Chat-ers current & past from the top (L-R): @AcAdvChat, @sarahhcraddock, @peacox, @laurapasquini, @bilmorrill, @kellyjbailey, @howardsj, @julieclarsen, & @bradpopiolek!

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 12.48.02 PM

Can you believe that we are about to celebrate our 100th @AcAdvChat? It’s true! The #AcAdv tweeps have been busy discussing academic advising issues and happenings in higher education since Fall 2010! Time flies when you’re having fun with the fantastic members in the #AcAdv community.

Join us on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 from 12-1 pm CT for our 100th #AcAdv Chat.

100-fireworks

To honor this milestone with our #acadv chat friends, we thought it would be great to share WHY YOU PARTICIPATE in #AcAdv Chat. Let us know how we got to this 100th #AcAdv Chat.  Also, please be sure to  introduce your academic advising colleagues #AcAdv Chat (about) and encourage others to FOLLOW @AcAdvChat on Twitter. Thanks!   Now let us know…

“Why do you #AcAdv Chat?”

 

{This message is cross-posted at the AcAdvChat WordPress Blog}