21st Century E-Student Services

21st Century E-Student Services

Gary R. Langer (Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch319
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Abstract

Developments in information technology and distance learning are revolutionizing the way postsecondary education is organized and delivered in the United States and the world. Higher education is undergoing a fundamental transformation. How higher education transforms in the early years of the 21st century will set the context for the extent to which higher education as an institution will continue to serve as the primary deliverer of educational content, certificates, and degrees. A critical element in this knowledge transfer is the depth and breadth of online student services support. This article will explore the design and development of such services in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System1 (www.mnscu.edu).
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Student Services In The Digital Age

Developments in information technology and distance learning are revolutionizing the way postsecondary education is organized and delivered in the United States and the world. Higher education is undergoing a fundamental transformation. How higher education transforms in the early years of the 21st century will set the context for the extent to which higher education as an institution will continue to serve as the primary deliverer of educational content, certificates, and degrees. A critical element in this knowledge transfer is the depth and breadth of online student services support. This article will explore the design and development of such services in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System1 (www.mnscu.edu).

In this Knowledge Age, citizens can learn every day—anytime and anywhere. In addition to a growing student population that is not only becoming older and increasingly diverse, there is a rapid rise of a digital generation (Tapscott, 1998) that expects and demands that this learning be interactive, collaborative, distributed, and lifelong. To meet the changing needs of students and the changing nature of work and careers in the 21st century (Howell, 2003), colleges and universities need to develop and design not only appropriate emerging curriculum, but also on-demand interaction and online services (Kassop, 2003). It is not only the distance education or technology-savvy students who expect, need, and use such services, but also commuter and dormitory students. It is not about distance, but the amount of technology involved, where the learning starts, and how services are structured. Some of the characteristics of these new, digital learners are:

  • • Older than “average” undergraduate

  • • Place bound

  • • Broad set of responsibilities/roles

  • • Working in a career field

  • • Limited time to devote to studies

  • • Emerging multi-mode student

  • • Technology savvy

  • • Accustomed to service on demand

  • • Expect choice and convenience

  • • Become the ‘hardy’ learner of the future

  • (Milliron, 2001)

Online student services connect students to the institution, to the faculty, and to other students on their schedule and needs. But are all students the same, with the same needs?

Key Terms in this Chapter

ISEEK: An acronym for the Internet System for Education and Employment Knowledge system, a comprehensive online tool of information and resources on careers, jobs, education programs, and providers; developed by a collaboration of Minnesota agencies and institutions.

CareerOneStop: This is the federal Department of Labor’s Web-based gateway to job listings, résumés, and career information nationwide.

DARS: The Degree Audit Reporting System for electronic advising through a match of degree requirements with a student’s completed courses that includes transfer articulation of course equivalencies. Developed and licensed by Miami University of Ohio.

MnLINK: MnLINK is the Minnesota Library Information Network, a statewide virtual library that electronically links major Minnesota libraries.

E-Mentor: A term for an online guide, system, or person that provides information, resources, assistance, and direction for learners.

CAS: The Course Applicability System is a Web-based planning tool for academic programs and transfer. Developed and licensed by Miami University of Ohio.

E-Learners: These are students who take advantage of learning that is usually Internet-based learning, but could be any electronically enhanced learning; e-learners are technology savvy, motivated, and self-directed.

MnTransfer: This is a Web-based system that provides transfer information, articulation agreements, transfer specialist contacts, and course equivalency tables for Minnesota institutions.

Learner Segments: The different populations of students that utilize post-secondary education and training opportunities for their own unique needs. Seven segments were identified for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system by research by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

eFolio: This is a term that is an abbreviation for an electronic portfolio; it is part of the brand name for the system developed by Avenet, LCC, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities: eFolioMinnesota.

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