Laura A. Pasquini, Technology in Advising Commission Past Chair (2011-2013)
This past summer, the NACADA International Conference in Maastricht, The Netherlands, provided advising faculty, administrators, and professionals various perspectives to how our academic advising work in higher education differs and is also similar. The conference was designed to provide ample opportunities for formal and informal exchanges about academic advising trends, challenges, and issues in higher education.
One constant discussion thread throughout the conference was the influence and impact technology has at our institutions. Advising administrators and advising units constantly face decisions about which technologies to use, and how technology decisions impact advising practices. Is technology defining our advising, or does our advising practice shape the technology? The Technology in Advising (#AdvTech) panel shared how technology in advising impacts our student support and higher education institutions, specifically concerning practical applications, research, and implementation needs for technology in advising around the globe.
The #AdvTech Panel, composed of Richard Sober (Teesside University, UK), Joel Shelton (Zayed University, UAE), Nicolai Manie (University of Maastricht, NL), Catherine Mann (The University of Melbourne, AUS), George Steele (The Ohio University, USA), and Jennifer Joslin (University of Oregon, USA) discussed technology in advising from very different perspectives and experiences. The panel described “technology in advising” in one word as being immersive, necessary, potentially useful, electric, difficult, powerful, accessible, connected, collaborative, and student-centered. Each member of the panel shared their experiences of what provokes the use of technology of advising on campus, including system-wide enterprise solutions, student retention needs, mobile advising, and technology for communication of information.
Although the assigned topic for this panel session was technology in advising, much of the discussion dealt with managing institutional objectives, supporting learning outcomes, considering effective communication strategies, creating workflow solutions, and implementing developmental methods advising. The #AdvTech Panelists shared how varied and fluid “technology” is for academic advising in higher education. Much of the panel discussion and general conversations about technology really involved our shared experiences and purpose – to meet the needs of our students. It was not really the WHAT or HOW, but rather the reasons WHY technology is utilized at each of our institutions.
Different practices and trends for technology in advising have emerged; however, costs, advising models, student demand, and resource issues were common challenges raised by a number of attendees. An increasing number of international advising units seem to be moving toward holistic review of technology that includes system-wide, institutional technologies to track student success, encourage mobile learning, and support streamlined administration for academic advising. This conversation was just the beginning of what lies ahead for advising and technology on a global scale, as we, both within NACADA and at our local institutions, need to continue our assessment focusing on the following research questions:
- How can we best determine technology needs and uses for advising practice?
- What is your ideal technology in advising practice?
- How does technology challenge and support your advising work?
- What technology in advising resources would you use if they were available? What is on your technology wish list?
- Looking ahead, what is on the horizon for technology in advising in higher education?
Thank you to the #AdvTech Panel from Maastricht: (left to right) Richard Sober (Teesside University, UK), Joel Shelton (Zayed University, UAE), Nicolai Manie (University of Maastricht, NL), Catherine Mann (The University of Melbourne, AUS), George Steele (The Ohio University, USA), and Jennifer Joslin (University of Oregon, USA).
Laura A. Pasquini
Academic Counselor and Instructor
Office for Exploring Majors
University of North Texas
Cite this article using APA style as: Pasquini, L.A. (2013, December). A global perspective on technology in advising. Academic Advising Today, 36(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]