With the vast majority of higher education institutions now being populated with millennial students and distance learners, it is necessary to change the way academic advising is conducted on the typical college campus. Howe and Strauss (2000) define millennial students as the generation born from 1982-2000. These students are known for being technologically confident and overly involved in scheduled activities (Howe & Strauss, 2003). The millennial generation spends less time than earlier generations on creative play and watching television, and more time on the computer and involved in structured activities. In addition, more students are enrolling in courses that are conducted online via the Internet instead of in the traditional classroom setting. These students are known as distance learners. This population needs to be successfully advised, even though they may never physically step foot on their degree granting college campus, has become a focus of higher educational institutions. Most distance learners are working adults who have other responsibilities, such as families. More millennials are also being drawn to online education because of the time flexibility it offers students (Steele, 2005).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Threaded Discussions: An instructional-based course management shell such as eCollege, Blackboard, or Internet portals, that allows students to pose and answer questions while participating in a shared discussion, where one conversation builds off another. Most often, the instructor functions as the moderator and threads are implemented into the methodology of a college course. This technology can be asynchronous or synchronous.
Millennial Generation: This term is used in association with individuals that were born during the years of 1982 to 2000. This generation is the first to grow up in a world immersed by modern technological conveniences and have been able to fully excel in the digital revolution.
Instant Messenger (IM): This form of technology allows for text, audio, video, and images to be sent simultaneously in real time. It functions similar to e-mail but messages are sent instantly, without delay, from one individual to another. It functions similar to a natural conversation. Members are required to set up a contact list that will allow others to view your online status, online or off-line, to determine when you are available to have a digital conversation. Typically it is a one-on-one conversation, but IM does have the ability to be used for groups.
Online or Virtual Advising: The technological digital delivery of information, instruction, or advice, when a student and advisor are in remote locations.
Podcasting: Is a type of media file that is distributed over the Internet and can be played back on personal computers or portable media players. It is a method of syndication that offers direct, automatic downloading and streaming of video and audio. This method is widely being used to service the millennial generation of students.
Asynchronous Communication: This type of communication does not occur in real time and there is a lapse that happens between the sending and receiving of message content. One such example is e-mail.
Electronic Mailing List (ListServ): An electronic e-mail-based list or Internet forum that allows a person to subscribe to a distribution list to gain access to group information. These electronic lists are usually set up by topics.
Advisor Blog: An online/Web communication tool, written in the first person, that allows the owner to make entries as though he/she is writing in a journal or diary. Information can incorporate text, images, and links and is displayed in reverse chronological order. Readers are given the opportunity to leave comments in an interactive format.
Intranet: An electronic mail system that operates as an internal mode of digital communication and information sharing within one organization. It is usually safeguarded against illegal access with an employee or student password.
Synchronous Communication: This type of communication occurs in real time and allows an individual to retrieve an answer to a question simultaneously. One such example is instant messenger (IM).
Facebook: A popular Web site, 19 million strong, that has become an important aspect in the world of higher education because it allows for facilitation of relevant information through social and academic networks. It allows users to create personal profiles, join and organize groups, send messages, post photos, advertise events, and interact digitally with fellow classmates ( http://www.facebook.com/ ).