I almost forgot to post this… A few weeks ago, I was meeting with one of my advisees. I wanted to show them something on the OSU Registrar’s web site. When I arrived on the Registrar’s URL, the “Reported Attack Site!” warning appeared in Firefox. It turns out that several high-level OSU sites were hacked and that several were still suffering from residual hack effects.
For users accessing a web page, you may receive a message that states something similar to: “Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer…site contains malware”. If you see this visiting oregonstate.edu (the Home Page), the calendar, or the campus map the issue is resolved.
The NACADA Region 8 Conference Technology Seminar will be a hands on, interactive advising technology experience with a focus on utilizing the latest web-based technologies including: Blogs, Wikis, Twitter, Facebook Pages, RSS/Content Re-purposing, MS Outlook Enhancements, Web Statistics/Assessment, Online Surveys/Forms, Web Video/Audio and Social Bookmarking. In addition to learning how to use these tools, attendees will be given the tools to implement an academic advising oriented social media communications planning framework.
This seminar is for advisors who identify as having an intermediate to advanced comfort level with technology. Participants will be expected to bring a wi-fi capable laptop. This seminar is for advisors who want to go beyond signing up for a Facebook profile and boldly go forward with expanding their technology implementations/expertise.
I recently received an invite to the Google Wave beta. The day after I received my invite, I demoed Google Wave to some of the faculty at OSU. We started brainstorming ways in which we could use Google Wave. (It should be noted that the limitations of Blackboard were frequently mentioned in this conversation.) I immediately started pondering how Google Wave could be useful for Academic Advisors in academic advising.
The initial question after I showed my Google Wave account on the big screen was quite simple — what is it? The answer is very complicated. Google Wave is a new way of communicating and collaborating that uses a lot of the elements in current web tools.
Google Wave overview:
Google Wave has the potential to be an exciting new web tool for group advising, content repurposing via Wave embeds, classroom discussions, shared academic advising knowledge bases, collaborative document creation/sharing between advisors/students and distance advising.
The list of Google Wave possibilities is seemingly limited to one’s imagination and creativity.
One of the topics that is frequently making the rounds in my head is the need for an academic advising management system in higher education. SunGard Higher Education’s DegreeWorks appears to offer a comprehensive platform for academic advisors. However, DegreeWorks, like most of the products that SunGard offers, seems to be about as user-friendly as Banner ;-) and it costs a lot of money. AdvisorTrac can be used for appointment scheduling and appointment tracking. Unfortunately, AdvisorTrac was not originally created with academic advising in mind. It’s a scheduling platform that has “advisor” in its name and is thus an industry leader. This is mostly due to the extremely empty sphere that is the world of academic advising management systems.
I would love to have an academic advising system that is extremely functional, user-friendly and aesthetically appealing. Something like Survs, Flickr, or anything from 37signals, but for academic advisors.
At the recent NACADA National Conference, Joshua Barron, a super tech savvy advising colleague, debuted an open source academic advising management system. I wasn’t able to attend the conference, but it turns out that Joshua is looking for collaborators for this new system.
My dream academic advising system would include: integration with university student information system, note taking, built in credit articulation, appointment scheduling, assessment functionality, degree audits, future course planning/forecasting, and more!
Basically, I am fed up with paper-based advising systems. And, please note that document management is not the solution. Scanning in a bunch of paper files is not my idea of high-tech.
Here are some notes regarding the system that Joshua presented at NACADA:
My guess is that this was about 30 more people on Twitter than at last year’s event. Hopefully, the use of Twitter will continue at next year’s conference in Orlando. I would have liked to have seen a few more presentations on Slideshare as I was not able to attend the conference. However, the backchannelconversations were quite good considering that this was the first time that this has happened at a NACADA Conference.
I will be giving the keynote speech for the Oklahoma ACademic ADvising Association (OACADA) Fall Conference in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma next month. The conference theme is “Using Technology to Navigate Student Success” and I think that it provides a terrific continuation to the academic advising technology conversations that came out of the NACADA Technology Seminar. In addition to the keynote address, I will be facilitating a question and answer session in the afternoon.
One of the most successful components of the NACADA Technology Seminar was the use of Twitter amongst the seminar attendees. Every tweet for the event was tagged with this hashtag: #nacadatech09. The hashtag allowed us to aggregate all tagged tweets into the NACADA Tech website via a widget from monitter.com.
This year, due to a multitude of financial issues, a lot of NACADA members will most likely not be able to attend the NACADA Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
The following hashtag has been “created” to enable non-attendees the opportunity to virtually follow the action in San Antonio: #nacada09
How can you participate as either a NACADA Annual Conference Tweeter or as a virtual follower?
I wish Dr. Steve Robinson all the best in his new position. It will be interesting to see how quickly he can counter the institutional-wide issues that led to inaccurate degree reporting / auditing. System-wide issues are extremely difficult to mend, regardless of the appointment of a centralized leadership position. It will take coalitions of folks working in conjunction with one another to create a more focused, error-free system of degree granting.
As I ponder this situation, I keep thinking about the role that academic and faculty advisors will need to have in order to fix things at WVU. Student Information Systems are wonderful tools for most folks in higher education, however, the components that academic advisors utilize are often lacking in terms of both function and usability. Without solid systems for academic advisors, degree audits and degree granting at WVU will still be an issue…
Note the slight increase in traffic to http://nacadatech.net during the NACADA Technology Seminar! It will be interesting to see if the NACADA Tech site continues to be the central hub for future NACADA technology + academic advising events. We certainly showed that a WordPress blog with Twitter + Flickr + Wikis + RSS is a recipe for a successful seminar/conference portal. I wonder if NASPA, ACPA, etc. were paying attention to our little experiment…?
Academic advisors tend to get cold sweats over this type of thing. Fortunately, the institution where I work has a pretty solid degree audit system that is bulwarked by a solid system of humans. Class substitutions and transfer course equivalencies are part of my daily routine. Plus, I have my abacus at the ready in case of emergencies.
The investigation began in the wake of a degree scandal at the University in which Heather Bresch, Gov. Joe Manchin’s daughter, was inappropriately awarded an Executive Master’s in Business Administration degree.
Along with Bresch’s degree, AACRAO Consulting found that 27 students in the WVU College of Business and Economics, and 261 additional undergraduate degrees either fell short of credits or had other discrepancies.
Degree requirement discrepancies stemmed from several sources, said Jonathan Cumming, assistant vice president of Graduate Education. The discrepancies originated because the records-keeping process was incomplete. Credit-hour deficiencies could also be due to errors in class substitutions or mistakes made in recording transfer credits.
The mission of AACRAO Consulting’s work at WVU is to “provide professional development, guidelines and voluntary standards to be used by higher education officials regarding the best practices in records management, admissions, enrollment management, administrative information technology and student services,” according to the final report.
The final report from AACRAO Consulting is quite lengthy but it’s worth reading as it provides a lot of insights into what went wrong at WVU. The Registrar’s position at WVU was probably fast-tracked at light speed. The position description is already online! One of the requirements for the position is that your degree cannot be one of the 288….just kidding ;-)
Lastly, I wanted to point out this quote from the AACRAO Consulting report: “Many faculty find the Banner system difficult to use, instead opting to keep records in paper form.”
SunGard Higher Education, ARE YOU LISTENING? The interface for Banner is horrendous. I would say that it’s horrible, but I don’t want to insult horrible! Let it be known that if anyone can create an interface/system that does what Banner does, and is actually friendly to humans, the higher education institutions of the world will grant you immortality and a cash prize!