Technology will keep Advisors on their toes..

July 7, 2010 at 4:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
There is a difference between ideal advising and a student's view of advising.  Advising is helping students become self-sufficient. Effective advisors care about students and want to make a difference in their lives.  Great advising is also interactive; both the student and advisor contribute.

The use of technology should not be an excuse to abandon the relationship or accountability aspect.  Instead, it should be a tool to aid in enhancing those aspects.  The tricky part is that with the use of technology, advisors must be true to the cause; advisors will have no choice but to keep up with the relationships and stay prepared to answer questions in a moment's notice. If the advisor is not organized and prepared then it will immediately show and the student will lose trust. 

From the student's perspective…the advisor should automatically be accounting for the following questions:

  • Are the course and/or section number accurate?
  • Do any of these courses conflict?
  • Does the student have the necessary prerequisites, co-requisites, placement scores or other preparation to take the course?
  • Are any courses for "instituitional credit only" that will not likely transfer to another institution?
  • Is the student taking the courses in the proper sequence?
  • Does the student need to take any courses this term that aren't offered in other terms?
  • Have any course/program requirements changed from the previous semester?

The number one student problem is confusion. As the advisor, you are expected to be the expert.

How technology changes things…

If you are considering implementing, or perhaps have already implemented, technology and social media into your daily operations then I suggest you be aware of the side effects.  Technology brings three key factors to the equation of advisement:

1) Increase in turn-around time
          – Web 2.0 tools and social media platforms are syncronous. This means virtually instant communication.  Whether it be via e-mail, blog, instant message or the like…the communication is instantaneous.  Students are well aware of this and expect instant, tangible results.  If they send an e-mail to you with a question, they expect a response within minutes. 

2) Increase in advisor accountability
          – The instantaneous nature of communication technology creates a new sense of accountability on different scales.  Keep in mind that students communicating with you via e-mail, blog, etc. have the ability to track their communications. This means that not only are they able to be made aware of when you opened or deleted their e-mail, but they are also able to track and record the information transfered between both parties.  Advisors can no longer afford to make careless mistakes or answer a student without having done the proper research ahead of time. 

3) Adjustment to daily activities/work style
          – New technology sometimes requires an adjustment to current work styles.  If you are a bit more on the traditional side when it comes to tools you are using for advisement, consider the adaptations you will need to make if you plan on incorporating new technologies.  Aside from a possible learning curve, you will need to plan adjustments to keep up with the technologies and consider which mediums you will use to do so.  The majority of web 2.0 tools are able to be accessed via smart phones, desktop applications, web applications, text message and email.  Do some research on the tools you are considering to utilize. Instead of waking up in the morning to read the paper, you may have to alter that to checking your blog comments or email.

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