Virtual Compared to Traditional Academic Advising Satisfaction Rates of First-Year College Students: A Pair Study

Virtual Compared to Traditional Academic Advising Satisfaction Rates of First-Year College Students: A Pair Study

Pamela M. Golubski (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-068-2.ch051
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Abstract

This study compared virtual/online to traditional/in person academic advising in terms of student satisfaction ratings. Students were exposed to two advising methods at different times during their first year in college. Upon experiencing an advising method, students completed an online survey that rated their satisfaction in the areas of scheduling/registration, communication, support services/majors, and overall satisfaction. The findings offered some insight into how effective virtual academic advising might be as an alternative to traditional, face-to-face methods. The results of this study indicated that students were slightly more satisfied with traditional advising across 16 questions encompassing four categories. When the survey responses were aggregated and mean responses compared in each category, t-tests results found that scheduling/registration, communication, and overall satisfaction resulted in significant differences between the mean satisfaction ratings between academic advising methods, with traditional being preferred. While the support services and majors category, resulted in no differences existing between virtual and traditional advising methods.
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Background

Research Questions

The research questions addressed in this study were:

  • 1.

    Were there any significant difference associated with first-year student satisfaction ratings on virtual compared to traditional methods of academic advising?

  • 2.

    How did first-year students rate the effectiveness of virtual compared to traditional academic advising in the categories of scheduling/registration, communication, support services/majors, and overall satisfaction?

  • 3.

    Did students prefer virtual or traditional academic advising?

  • 4.

    What did students like and dislike about each advising method?

Since students experienced both methods of advising independently for three month and each participant provided a unique college user id on their completed survey, the responses could be paired for statistical analysis. This pairing allowed the researcher to determine if there were any significant differences associated with students’ overall satisfaction ratings between the two types of advising methods across categories.

Purpose of Study

The learning outcomes associated with this research study were to determine if there were statistically significant differences in satisfaction rating of freshmen students, in association with two types of academic advising methods used in an institution of higher education. Much of the past research has been exclusive to face-to-face academic advising methods. Therefore, there is limited research available about whether technology can be used to fully replace and/or enhance traditional methods. With more students going to college each year and an advisor’s caseload of advisees constantly increasing, the need to alleviate and better serve students in the advising capacity is a top concern amongst education administrators. This research served as a starting point to determine if one type of advising experienced better satisfaction ratings while being used to advise first-year college students, who are often the most difficult population to retain from a retention standpoint.

In addition to more students enrolling in college each year, there has been an increase in the students who are fulfilling degree requirements strictly through distance learning, thus never stepping foot on their degree granting campus. These distance learners need academic advising, much like the students that are fulfilling educational requirements through brick and mortar classrooms.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Advisor Blog: An online/web communication tool, written in the first person, that allows the advisor to make entries as thoughts, advice, and or motivation as though he/she is writing in a journal or diary. Information can incorporate text, images, or links and is displayed in reverse chronological order.

Facebook: A popular site that socially links user to each through an online network. It allows users to create personal profiles, join and organize groups, send messages, post photos, advertise events, and interact-digitally with linked users (http://www.facebook.com/).

Virtual Peer Advisor: An upper-class student who acts as a secondary advising source to new or first-year students by assisting an assigned advisor to offer additional support and advising to advisees through virtual means such as Skype, IM, and/or Facebook. Virtual peer advisors usually work untraditional hours such as evening and weekends when the primary advisor is unavailable.

E-lert or E-Blast: An electronic email-based distribution list that allows a user to send messages, information, and/or updates in an effective and timely manner. These electronic lists are usually set up by topics.

Traditional Academic Advising: A process in which a faculty or staff member is paired with a college student to assist, support, empower, and mentor a student through in person (face-to-face) communication and interactions in an effort to help an advisee develop and achieve professional, personal, interpersonal, career, and academic success through a guided relationship.

Virtual Academic Advising: A process in which a faculty or staff member is paired with a college student to assist, support, empower, and mentor a student where the communication and interactions occur from remote locations utilizing Web 2.0 and virtual technologies (e.g. Skype, IM, Facebook, email, SmartPhones, video conferences, etc.) in an effort to help an advisee develop and achieve professional, personal, interpersonal, career, and academic success through a guided relationship.

Traditional Aged Student: A student who is age 18 to 19 years old and who has enrolled in a higher education institution immediately following graduating from high school.

Podcasting/MP3 Audio: A media file that is recorded and can be played back on computers, SmartPhones, or portable media players. This method of syndication offers direct, automatic downloading and streaming of video and audio.

Threaded Discussions: The utilization of a moderated-based course management system like Blackboard or Moddle or a social networking site like Facebook whereas users can pose, get answers, and engage in a shared discussion on a specific topic, where one post builds off another.

Closed Chat Session: This technology allows for the sending and sharing of text, audio, video, and images sent simultaneously in real-time to all users logged into that chat session. Members are required to join a group and be accepted by an administrator (group creator) before being added to the group list and allowed to enter the chat session.

Online Placement Test: A test proctored to students via an online format through the use of various technologies in an effort to assess a student’s skill level in a certain area to ensure that he/she is placed into the correct level of a college course.

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