Promising Partnerships: Connecting Student & Academic Affairs Support Services

I’m attending the IFWE 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX and live blogging sessions. This one is the last one I attended yesterday.

Presented by: Jessica Burchfield and Stephany Compton (Texas Woman’s University)

Description: As online and hybrid course offerings continue to rise, innovative solutions are needed to support college student persistence. This session will discuss how Texas Woman’s University is developing programs and increasing access for students through academic & student affairs collaborative programs and initiatives.

The Challenge

  • Students lack a feeling of connection to the university.
  • Students lack a feeling of value – how does this service or live connection impact me?
  • Students struggle with multiple roles and too much to do.

Strategies

  • eLounge: a live webinar time (using Blackboard Collaborate) for students to come and learn about different things – like graduation – the most popular topic for student to attend. Other topics include:
    • Financial aid
    • Budgeting / financial wellness
    • Volunteering
    • Student organizations
    • Non-traditional student resources
    • Commuter and parking tips
    • Scholarships for non-traditional students
    • Connecting through Facebook (connected faculty and staff through FB)
    • CARE office provides resources
    • Recorded elounges are on YouTube here
  • Honor Society – providing an online student society
    • recognition for academy rigor
    • Epsilon Omega Epsilon Online Student Honor Society (they are working on making this a national organization)
    • They have an online induction service via Blackboard Collaborate (family members are cheering on in the chat during the ceremony)
    • They did an overhaul of their online programs this fall to ensure that every program is very interactive and allows students to feel connected 
  • TWU Library Lib Guides
  • Services and staff available online
    • Guides, email, chat, texting, ask a librarian – people available
    • A wellness challenge for online students
  • Graduate Recruitment
    • One topic per email – targeted emails
  • “Pioneer Camp” online
    • It’s kind of the new student orientation – they offer it online as well – even for commuter students in on campus courses
    • Getting acclimated with the university; talking about TWU traditions; breakout sessions to talk to people in the same college/school; school spirit
    • Modules in a Blackboard course; but some live sessions too
    • Training on the LMS as well, but embedded into the activities learning about TWU and getting to know each other, talking about their fears of online learning, etc.
    • Co-curricular experiences
    • I’m thinking of how the concepts of the Jazz workshop could be applied to designing a really rich experience.
    • Adults at every level – doctoral, masters, undergrad, all participating in the same orientation.
    • Berkeley’s theme for their orientation is called Road to Success.
    • The orientation has sample courses as well so they can learn how this might works.
    • Another attendee includes “early access week” where the students have access to the courses a week ahead of time.
  • Smarter Measure – this tool helps students assess their skill level and readiness for online learning (they have volume discounts for students)

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