AcAdv, ACPA, ACPAdigital, Blended Learning, Higher Education, Learning, Learning Technologies, Online Learning, Professional Development

Academic Support In A Digital Age

Although you might not advise or support students in an online degree program, there are increasing efforts for teaching and learning technology. Learning delivery and design does impact how we support our students, and we mediate much of our work in higher education using digital tools and platforms. That being said, any adoption of technology should be led with informed decisions on modifying pedagogical methods (Bates, 2015), which is directly related to our advising models and programs we offer in the post-secondary.

Our students want the same flexibility, access, and online support they often receive from instruction and other services they use. When learning with technology, our students are accustomed to having access to student support or other features alongside their online/blended coursework; however, the digital student success side is frequently an afterthought for these technology determinations. We need to have more student success and academic advising programs consider the best technology to provide advising content and service delivery (Steele, 2015) for a more learner-centered approach.

digital DNA

Digital DNA by Adriana Varella and Nilton Malz 

Whether you are leveraging technology to optimize your student support services or your campus is transitioning to either a blended or online learning model, there is both a need and desire to improve technology for academic advisors and student support practices in higher education (Pasquini & Steele, 2015). During your planning, it will be critical for your institution to ask the following questions before selecting technology-mediated environments for advising and learner support: 

  • What technologies is your institution currently utilizing for academic advising or student support?
  • How does your division or unit on campus decide on the most appropriate mode of technology delivery? [Will this be a campus-wide decision?]
  • What factors should be determined when designing technology in advising program and/or student support functional area?
  • What other strategies and structural support might benefit your campus in preparing  staff as they support learners digitally?  (e.g. training, skill development, etc.)

Join me as I discuss this further next Wednesday, September 14th from 12-1 pm EDT for the ACPA Commission for Academic Support in Higher Education (CASHE) Presents Webinar: “Selecting Technology for Advising and Supporting Your Students.” During this online event, I will be sharing a few evidence-based ideas and practical resources to help your advising team address these questions. This webinar will introduce your campus planning group to a few strategies and structures as they select technology for advising and student support. Sign up for this FREE webinar sponsored by ACPA CASHE here: http://goo.gl/tR8THa 

References

Bates, A. W., (2015). Chapter 9: Modes of delivery. In Guidelines for designing teaching and learning for a digital age. Open Text BC.

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

Steele, G. (2015). Using Technology for Intentional Student Evaluation and Program AssessmentNACADA Clearinghouse of Academic Advising Resources. 

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.  

ACPA, ACPAdigital

The #ACPA16 Genius Labs Wants YOU!

Are you going to the 2016 ACPA Convention in Montreal (#ACPA16)? Are you interested in getting involved in #ACPA16? Consider contributing to a quick demonstration presentation at the #ACPA16 Genius Labs! With the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators latest edition, which includes Technology as one of the competencies, I think it is a critical time to educate and support our profession. The Technology Competency description:

Focuses on the use of digital tools, resources, and technologies for the advancement of student learning, development, and success as well as the improved performance of student affairs professionals. Included within this area are knowledge, skills, and dispositions that lead to the generation of digital literacy and digital citizenship within communities of students, student affairs professionals, faculty members, and colleges and universities as a whole (pp.33-35).”

The #acpa16 Technology Program team are looking for 30-minute technology-based presentations related to the general themes from the Technology Competencies for our profession. This may include (but not limited to):

  • Applied and/or soft skills for using technology (i.e. “how to” ____)
  • Digital literacy and identity development
  • Assessment of technology in student affairs
  • Training and learning approaches for professional development using technology
  • Communication and marketing strategies
  • Implementation of an online/blended student affairs program, course, etc.
  • Trends and research for technology in higher education
  • Leadership, organization, and infrastructure for planning with technology
  • Information and data management

geniuslab_text4

The Genius Labs sessions will be presented in the Palais Convention Center on Level 5 near Room 510 & the Westin Hotel entrance. Here is the schedule for Genius Labs at #ACPA16: 

  • Sunday, March 6th: 12 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Monday, March 7th: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday, March 8th: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Our team is gathering the best and brightest ideas, examples, and resources around emerging technologies to share with other Student Affairs Educators in Montreal. The convention’s Genius Labs are 20-minute skill-building workshops in the main thoroughfare of the Convention Center offers a prime location with great visibility! Workshops will be highlighting a number of practical technology-based activities designed for participants to learn about, experiment with, and implement immediately. You can select any technology topic or resource to share, with the intention to have meaningful conversation directed at all skill levels. Think about a digital tool you can present in 15-20 minutes, and then offer an applied experience for attendees to get hands-on, tinker, and/or discuss for your Genius Labs session. We are also accepting ONLINE Genius Lab session presentations for those individuals who might not be able to make it; however they have an excellent idea/concept they want to share. We would like to offer a select number of web-based sessions via an online conference platform and co-facilitated on-site by a member of our volunteer team. 

 Do you have an idea? What sort of technology resource can you share? If you are interested in presenting a Genius Labs session please SIGN UP HERE:

For further questions, please feel free to reach out to the Genius Lab Coordinator, Erica Thompson (@EricaKThompson). Thanks!

EdTech, Learning Technologies

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

With so many possibilities for digital learning, selecting media and technologies for appropriate course instruction is a very complex process. Although there are a wide range of options in the ed tech realm, pedagogical considerations should always come first. Instructors should reflect on the learning objective and desired outcomes for their subject matter before identifying technological applications for the course.

The SECTIONS model, developed by Tony Bates (2015), is a pedagogical framework for determining what technology, specifically how this technology will be appropriate for instructional approaches. This might include identifying and determining pedagogical characteristics of text, audio, video, computing, and social media. With this framework, Bates (2015) asks five critical questions for teaching and learning for technology and media selection:

  1. Who are the learners?
  2. What are the desired learning outcomes from the teaching?
  3. What instructional strategies will be employed to facilitate the learning outcomes?
  4. What are the unique educational characteristics of each medium/technology, and how well do these match the learning and teaching requirements?
  5. What resources are available?

In thinking about the interplay of technology and learning, higher education courses will need to consider how this design process is developed. In this book chapter, Bates shared an alternative approach to the ADDIE model for instructional design – Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015).

Learning + Technology Development Process Model (Hibbitts & Travin, 2015)Regardless of the model for learning design, it will be important to assess how technology will impact the pedagogy. The SECTIONS model is an effective framework to best inform instructors when deciding what media or technology to use for face-to-face, online or blended learning courses:

  • Students
  • Ease of use
  • Costs
  • Teaching functions (including the affordances of different media)
  • Interaction
  • Organizational issues
  • Networking
  • Security and privacy

I would encourage you to utilize Bates’ (2015) Questions to Guide Media Selection and Use, to support your learning design when consider technology adoption for teaching. This open, shared educational resource will provide you with a broader reflection on issues and considerations for your digital pedagogy. Here is an abbreviated checklist for selecting technologies for learning I adopted for a learning module. It was developed for faculty who would like to consider the broader issues for teaching with technology, and how to navigate this course planning process for digital/media inclusions.

Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

STUDENTS

  • Review accessibility mandate or policy of your institution, department or program.
  • Determine demographics of the students and appropriateness of technology.
  • Consider student access to technologies, both off campus and on campus.
  • Determine digital skills and digital readiness of your students with learning expectations.
  • Justify students purchases of a new technology component (if needed) for learning.
  • Assess prior learning approaches & how technology can support student learning.

EASE OF USE

  • Select the technology for ease of use by instructor and students.
  • Identify technology that is reliable for teaching and learning.
  • Verify the technology set up, maintenance and upgrade are simple.
  • Confirm the technology provider/company is stable to support hardware or software use.
  • Outline strategies to secure any digital teaching materials you create should the organization providing the software or service cease to exist.
  • Locate technical & professional support, both in terms of the technology and with respect to the design of materials.
  • Determine technologies to best support edits and updates of learning materials.
  • Outline how the new technology will change teaching with to get better results
  • Assess risks and potential challenges for using this technology for teaching and learning.

COST & YOUR TIME

  • Consider media selection by the length of time and ease of use during course development.
  • Factor the time it takes to prepare lectures, and determine if development of digital learning materials will save time and encourage interaction with students (online and/or face-to-face).
  • Investigate if there is extra funding for innovative teaching or technology applications; if so, determine how to best use that funding for learning technologies.
  • Assess the local support from your institution from instructional designers and media professionals for media design and development.
  • Identify open educational resources for the course, e.g. an open textbook, online videos, library page of articles, or other potential open educational resources.

TEACHING & LEARNING FACTORS

  • Determine the desired learning outcomes from the teaching in terms of content and skills.
  • Design instructional strategies to facilitate the learning outcomes.
  • Outline unique pedagogical characteristics appropriate for this course, in terms of content presentation and skill development, specifically for:
    • Textbook, readings, or other online text materials;
    • Audio, such as podcasts, streaming audio from news, etc.;
    • Video, such as slide presentations, lectures, tutorials, and screencasts; and
    • Social media, such as blogs, wikis, microblogs, photo sharing, curation, etc.
  • Plan learning aspects that must be face-to-face (in-person or online).

INTERACTION

  • Identify the skills for development and interactions that are most to determine the best type of media or technology to facilitate this learning.
  • Determine the kinds of kinds of interaction to produce a good balance between student comprehension and student skills development.
  • Estimate the amount of time the instructor will be interacting personally or online with students, and the type of medium for this interaction.

ORGANIZATIONAL ISSUES

  • Determine institutional support in choosing and using media or technology for teaching.
  • Identify if the institutional support is easily accessible, helpful, and will meet the needs for the learning technologies for the course.
  • Determine if there is funding available to “buy me out” for a semester and/or to fund a teaching assistance/support to concentrate on designing a new course or revising an existing course.
  • Locate institutional funding or resources for any learning technology or media production.
  • Review the standard technologies, practices and procedures for teaching and learning, to verify requirements for utilizing institutional technology resources, i.e. the learning management system, lecture capture system, etc.
  • Determine if the institution will support trying a new technological approach to learning, and will support innovative media or digital design.

NETWORKING

  • Outline the importance for learners to network beyond a course, i.e. with subject specialists, professionals in the field, and relevant people in the community.
  • Identify how the course or student learning can benefit from networking and learning from external connections.
  • Determine the appropriate network and/or social media space to integrate for your learners to network with each other and connect with external community members.
  • Integrate these networking mediums with standard course technology.
  • Delegate responsibility for its design and/or administration to students or learners.

SECURITY AND PRIVACY

  • Determine the student information you are obliged to keep private and secure.
  • Identify the institutional policies for security and privacy for teaching & learning.
  • Outline potential risks and challenges of using a particular technology where institutional policies concerning privacy could easily be breached.
  • Identify who at your institution could best advise you on security and privacy concerns, with regards to learning and teaching technologies.
  • Itemize the areas of teaching and learning, if any, available only to students registered in the course.
  • Identify the types of technologies to best restrict or limit access to course materials (if any) for my registered students.

Interested in reviewing your own learning design further? DOWNLOAD the Checklist: Selecting Technology for Learning

Reference:

Bates, A. W. (2015). Chapter 8: Choosing and using media in education: The SECTIONS model. From Teaching in a Digital Age. A Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/

Hibbitts, P. D., & Travin, M. T. (2015). Learning + technology development process model.