Adult non-traditional student perceptions of academic advisement for Web-based learning
Jodie R. Carlson, Northern Arizona University, United States
Northern Arizona University . Awarded
This study investigated student perceptions of higher education academic advisors and counselors' preparedness to advise adult non-traditional students in Web-based learning. Qualitative data were collected from a sample of 38 Northern Arizona University students enrolled in a Web-based graduate level course.
This research study used quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection and analysis procedures. Data sources included a qualitative survey instrument in addition to a final grade roster of the Northern Arizona University graduate level course. Qualitative findings were recorded and graphed appropriately using a pie chart format. This pie chart and graph also reflected relative frequencies (percentages) as quantitative indicators.
Commonalities among NAU graduate students were noted, such as the need to have proficient technical computer or research navigation skills. It was found that many of the respondents did not speak with an advisor or counselor prior to enrolling in a Web-based course. One important finding revealed students would have spoken to an advisor, however chose not to for various reasons. Some respondents felt advisors lacked the skills to advise in this area since they had never taken a Web course themselves. Moreover, some NAU advisors had little or no information on Web-based courses at all.
Many respondents enrolled in the course due to its convenience and flexibility in delivery and format, as well as the premise that the course seemed to build their technical computer skills. Data from the NAU grade roster revealed the students' final grades were not impacted by the lack of academic advisement they received before the Web course commenced.
Conclusions identified the importance of the following: based on NAU graduate student perceptions, advisors do not have the preparedness needed to advise in Web-based courses. Academic advisors and counselors would benefit from further advisement training in the subject area of Web-based learning. Also, if they engage in a Web-based course themselves prior to advising, advisors and counselors may develop a better understanding of the comprehensive needs of the on-line learner.
This study was significant to the field of higher education, educational technology and academic advisement by presenting a clearer understanding of the advisement knowledge and skills needed to professionally advise in distance learning, as well as the comprehensive needs of Web-based learners themselves. Secondly, this study was a mechanism for future research in the profession of higher education academic advisement and counseling, as well as in the academic focuses of distance education and Web-based learning.
Carlson, J.R. Adult non-traditional student perceptions of academic advisement for Web-based learning. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Arizona University.
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