AcAdv, AdvTech, Higher Education

Today’s #AcAdv Chat Topic: Data Analytics in Academic Advising #highered

A couple of week’s ago, I was fortunate to join the Open SUNY COTE Summit 2017. I will be sure to share more about the #COTEsummit learning in the coming weeks; however, the last session helped me think about framing TODAY’s (3/21) #AcAdv Chat I’ll be moderating from 12-1 pm CT: Data Analytics in #AcAdv 

During the #COTEsummit Learning Analytics panel hosted by OLC, we dug into what information we know and how we use it to understand more about our learners.  Many academic advising units/divisions, often jump to the platform or process for how we analyze students to predict learner behavior:

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But before advising leaders in higher ed jump on the big data bandwagon or decide to implement technology platform to collect data, I think our support units need to identify what information and data we need to know to effectively support our learners. Let’s make decisions on the data that is most helpful, instead of letting predictive analytics make decisions for us at our institutions. What often gets lost in this conversation and planning is this: learning or learning analytics.

Learning analytics are about learning (Gašević, Dawson, & Siemens, 2015). Sometimes we forget this about learning analytics when the phrase data is tossed out at the  “strategic-planning-task-force-retention-student-success-operation” meeting occurs at our universities and colleges. Sure, learning analytics might be most relevant for instructors and faculty; however, learning data is also critical for those who support the instructional design, scaffold student success, and provide academic advising/support in higher education.

Image c/o Giulia Forsythe

In thinking about academic advising and learner support, I have SO many questions about data and data analytics for this #AcAdv Chat topic… here are just a few:

  • How does your institution collect, store, and share data campus-wide?
  • What do you do as a staff or faculty member to interpret the data?
  • Are you able to interpret, read, and translate the information provided about your learners?
  • Are there real-time notifications where students, staff, and faculty can interpret academic progress? What does this look like at your campus?
  • Do your data sets on campus talk to one another? Is there much interaction between your student information system, learning management system, institutional portal, or institutional research data? Why or why not?
  • What challenges and/or issues have you thought about for how data is collected and/or reviewed for learner support?
  • Who or what office can you reach out to on campus for “data analysis” or digging into your learner data to interpret further to support the work you do?

What thoughts or questions do you have about this issue, higher ed? Won’t you join us for today’s #acadv chat conversation? Here’s how:

TWEETS from the #AcAdv Chat conversation on 03.21.17

Reference:

Gašević, D., Dawson, S., & Siemens, G. (2015). Let’s not forget: Learning analytics are about learning. TechTrends, 59(1), 64-71.

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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.  

AcAdv, AdvTech, nacada, Uncategorized

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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