New Student/First Year Programs (Community Colleges)
Developing an Online Advisement Preparation Option
Jamestown Community College requires all new first-time, full-time students to attend an on-campus advisement preparation session (APS) offered through the counseling and career development center. These sessions, offered periodically throughout the summer, introduce students to the advisement process and tools (such as, catalog, master schedule, and placement score information). Our primary objective is to assist students with their responsibilities and to clarify the roles students and advisors each play in the advisement process. We believe that students who are knowledgeable of and engaged in the critical first step to academic success (advisement) will be more responsible and effective in designing their academic plans, interacting with faculty advisors, and making wise choices overall.
One significant shortfall we found with this program was that it is an "on-campus offering only" in a student world of increasing expectations for e-touch options. Students, especially those coming from a distance, are reluctant to make multiple trips to campus in order to obtain advisement and registration. In our current model, APS was not an option offered to our growing online degree students who never set foot on the campus. We also knew that some students needed more time than the hour-and-a-half information session to understand unfamiliar terminology, tools, and their responsibilities in the process. Given these considerations, we were determined to develop and pilot an online APS, which would address the concerns of multiple campus visits, travel distance, learner pace, and 24/7 access. In addition, the online session would increase the number of students being introduced to and accessing JCC's online platforms (such as Banner, Angel, and the JCC web pages) as information and resource stations prior to registering for and attending courses.
An interactive, self-paced online APS course was piloted at the Jamestown Campus for the 2008 fall advising and registration process. An online APS committee, two faculty counselors and the student development assistant dean spearheaded the project, providing hands-on design and implementation. The online model featured a web-based sign-up form, an administrative tracking database detailing individual student APS registration and completion information, our course management system (ANGEL), Banner for student access to college records, and additional web-based college resources. Students who registered via a web form to indicate their intention to complete the online option were enrolled in an ANGEL based APS course and emailed the instructions to get started. Significant components of the APS course included links to online resources, a self-paced PowerPoint presentation moderated by faculty and students, and a quiz requiring 100% mastery at the end of the PowerPoint. Only upon successful completion of the quiz were students emailed a congratulatory note, along with the next step to completing their advisement and registration experience-contact information for a meeting with an assigned academic advisor. The PowerPoint is attached to this submission.
The on-campus APS at the Jamestown Campus generally serves between 400 - 500 students over the course of the summer. Approximately one hundred new students at the Jamestown Campus registered an intention to complete the required advisement preparation session online rather than attend an on-campus session. Eighty-five actually completed the process with success and the remaining 15 either decided to attend the APS on-campus or changed their college plans.
The online APS committee worked with JCC's web master, graphic arts coordinator, MIS, instructional computing and hardware staff, academic affairs and student development faculty advisors, and students to produce this product in an online venue.
The online quiz, included as a final component of the PowerPoint presentation, provided an assessment of student learning. Students were able to review the presentation and resources multiple times and retake the quiz in order to reach a mastery level of understanding (100%) prior to moving to the last step in the process. Eighty-five students demonstrated this success.
Additionally, a QUIA survey was developed to assess the level of student satisfaction with the process and self perception of learning on this topic. Although only a small number of the 85 responded (27), at least eighty percent of the responses to individual questions indicated a positive review to the process and product.
Although this was a time-intensive initial investment on the part of the committee, we view this as a successful pilot which addressed the identified objectives. An online APS option offered new students a credible learning and retention-focused strategy for JCC's valued advisement delivery approach. Overall, the success and cost effectiveness of the e-approach must also be compared to the level of resources and associated costs (such as for paper and postage) dedicated to replicate on-campus APS productions several times over the course of a summer. We will continue to review, make improvements, reallocate resources as needed, and determine plans to move forward with college-wide marketing and implementation strategies this spring.