Live from ITC – Day 4: Challenges and Student Successes of eAdvising, Online Tutoring, and eLearning Orientation Support Services

Could the title be any longer? Note to self… Next time you present, make the title of the session short and simple. It’s my last day at ITC, and what will probably be my last session here, because I have to get my ducks aligned so I can catch a flight back east in a few hours… My ride to the airport is gonna be here a little sooner than I initially anticipated, so I must adjust my schedule accordingly and won’t be able to make the last sessions (although I’m going to try to catch a little bit, but we’ll see…)

Representatives of Coyahoga Community College discuss their struggles and conquests as they created a fully online support services for their students.

The initiatives involved a lot of cross-departmental collaboration in an effort to provide the highest quality services to their fully online students. The implementation of these initiatives had a broad impact on ALL students, regardless of whether they were traditional or online students. Communication is key.

Title III Grant recipients. The initiatives were initially developed to create an eLearning orientation but it turns out that the same concepts being delivered in eLearning orientation also needed to be included in the college’s standard new student orientation.

Online services offered: Virtual front door, eAdvising, Financial Aid TV, and online tutoring (SMARTHINKING).

Virtual Front Door was initially envisioned as a single web page, but soon evolved into an entity of it’s own. Virtual Front Door contains links to all services offered by the school, as well as links to live chat where students can chat one-on-one with someone from the school.

EAdvising: performed by faculty. Initially an email based system, but they’ve recently moved to SARS. Secure environment, transmits question to next available advisor. Once question has been answered, student receives an email with a link to the response. Students can see all the interactions they’ve had so they build their own personal solutions repository as well. After 1st year, GPA of eAdvising students jumped from 2.6 to 3.1. Completion rates of students who used eAdvising jumped from 77% in FA10 to 82% in SP11.

Financial Aid TV: set of videos which give students answers to their most frequently asked questions about navigating financial air process.

Online Tutoring: They used Smarthinking to deliver online tutoring. Nearly 5,000 online tutoring sessions so far. Biggest surprise is that a good number of f2f students are making use of the service. Most requests for online tutoring come in between 8pm and midnight. Contracted with Smarthinking, but are currently exploring other options as well. Significant increases in use of services over time, and average GPA of students who use service has increased as a result.

Orientation: asynchronous, not mandatory. Students log in to the environment and can resume where they left off. Contains interactive presentations which demonstrate how to use LMS, as well as tips on time management, avoiding procrastination, dealing with the unexpected, etc. Also has SmarterMeasure assessment as well.

Lessons Learned:

  • include all potential stakeholders
  • let people get there on their own. Don’t try to force folks into the project.
  • Do the research. Network. Don’t re-invent the wheel.
  • Embrace the value of audience/user feedback
  • test for usability and accessibility
  • Recognize the value of metrics
  • stay flexible and always look out for improvement options
  • Consider sustainability from the start…
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