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Best Practices in Advising Students in Online Degree Programs Presenter: Carol Gravel Graduate Advisor and Professor Franklin Pierce University Doctoral Candidate, Instructional Technology and Distance Education
Session Agenda • Share research on the growing number of students seeking entire degrees online • Discuss trends in online degree programs at your institution • Discuss literature relating to advising this population of students • Share examples of current programs and efforts to support students seeking degrees online or students taking online courses • Question & Answer • Gather contact information to continue the discussion
Quick “Survey” • What types of advisors are here today? • Faculty advisor? • Staff advisor? • Member of an advising center? • Do you offer online degree programs (all classes are online) at your institution ? • Do you plan to offer online degree programs?
Research: Enrollment in Online Degree Programs • 2002 to 2007 the number of students enrolled in at leastone online course has increased 144%, from 1.6 million to over3.9 million. The majority, approximately 80%, are studying at the undergraduate level (Allen & Seaman, 2008). • Enrollment in entire degree programs online increased 264%, from 483,000 in 2002 to more than 1.76 million in 2007 (Garrett, 2008).
Research: Enrollment in Online Degree Programs • What’s Driving the Growth in • Online Education? • Economics • Experience • Infrastructure • Evidence Source: 2009 WCET-National Campus Computing Survey-Managing Online Programs Keith Green & Russell Pouin
Research: Profile of the Types of Courses Students are Enrolled in Course Credit and Degree Transfer Students Source: 2009 WCET-National Campus Computing Survey – Managing Online Programs Keith Green & Russell Pouin
Research: Enrollment in Online Degree Programs Their characteristics are diverse Very heterogeneous group. • Adults (25 of older) • Who are employed but want to expand their career • Who are unemployed • Who are stay at home parents and want to expand or define their career • Traditional age (17-24) • Who live on campus and seek the flexibility of online • Who can not afford to live on campus • Who transferred from a 2 year or community college and live on campus OR off campus • Who are employed but not in their chosen profession IMPORTANT: We can see that they may fall into several “special” populations: Adults, Undecided, Transfer, etc.
What trends are you seeing at you institution? • Enrollment in online courses? • Enrollment in online degree programs? • Profile of the online student?
Literature Relating to Advising this Population of Students • Several studies have shown that the dropout rate among online students is higher than the dropout rate of traditional on campus students (Liu, Gomez, Khan, & Yen, 2007; Herbert, 2006; Rust, 2005; Bocchi, Eastman, & Swift, 2004; Diaz, 2002; Chyung, 2001; Terry, 2001; Carr, 2000). • There has been extensive research over the past three decades on why students drop. The results show that lack of effective student support services is a key factor in student retention (Ruth, 2005, Dahl, 2004; Simpson, 2002; Tait, 2000; Scholl, 1999; Gibson & Gibson, 1997; Tinto, 1987). • There are numerous recent studies that have shown that support services for online students is lacking and that hundreds of colleges and universities are still struggling with how to address this issue (Lokken, 2009; Axelson, 2007; Morris & Miller, 2007; Klukas, 2006; Raphel, 2006; Ruth, 2005).
Framework for Analyzing the Issue Student support services include: • Enrollment management and registration • Information services 3. Academic advising 4. Individual consulting 5. Student advocacy (McInnis-Rankin, & Brindley, 1986): Quick Survey: For students in online degree programs, are ALL 5 areas of this framework being addressed at your institution?
Examples of Best PracticesAcademic Advising Based on research, personal experience, and discussions with other professionals: • ASAP after acceptance, make a specific point to: a)Notify the student who their advisor is and how to contact them b) Have the adviser make a personal phone call to the student to begin dialog and interaction • It is all about the “network” (DE students are connected and use cell phones, txt messaging, and social networks) a)STRONG relationships with key functions within the organization • A Virtual Office (Personal Web Site or Advising Portal) • The right office equipment (PDA with email, laptop with wireless access,scanner, webcam) • Keep a “client”/advisee database – DE students are customer focused • “Engage” with advisees on a regular basis(monthly, two weeks before end of term, FYI information from time to time) • Take a 100% online course yourself– put yourself in their shoes • Others?
Excellent examples of current “Virtual Offices” / Portals University of Southern Maine online portal for advisors and advisees: http://www.usm.maine.edu/advising/network
The Community College of Baltimore County http://www.ccbcmd.edu/advising/index.html
Michigan Community College Association http://vcampus.mccvlc.org/index.asp?dir=%27services%27&content=%27AcademAdvis.asp%27
North Carolina State University http://www.ncsu.edu/advising_central/
Additional Online Resources http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/clearinghouse/links/distance.htm
Additional Online Resources http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Commissions/C23/leadership.htm
Additional online resources http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/listserve/C23.htm
Guide to Developing Online Student Services • What is it? • The final product of a three-year project of the Western Cooperative of Educational Telecommunications. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). This Guide was first published in November 2000. • It is intended to help higher education institutions develop effective online approaches to delivering student support services. • What does the guide provide? • General tips for designing effective online student services • Brief discussions on a range of student support services, especially the needs of online and distant learners • Guidelines for basic good practice in delivering these services via the Internet • Examples of some institutions that use the Internet to offer students a variety of opportunities for self-help and customized services in addition to providing information and electronic forms online. http://www.wcet.info/resources/publications/guide/guide.htm
Examples of What Online Students Need - Online • Online Enrollment management and registration • How Do I Get Started • Online Course Registration • Online Tuition and Fee payment • Online Information services • Department Information • Online Library Access • Online Bookstore • Online Forms • Log on to Online Courses • Testing Information • Academic and Course Catalog (policies etc.) • Online Academic advising • Important Quarterly/Semester Dates • Online access to advisor 4. Online Individual consulting 5. Student advocacy
Staying Connected After this Session • NACADA Listserv for Distance Education - http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/listserve/C23.htm • Person to Person – Carol Gravel Gravelc@franklinpierce.edu