Supporting advisees at a distance

  • For distance learning programmes, you must be prepared to engage with their advisees using technology.

    Increasingly, however, you may need to communicate with your advisees remotely even when on a campus-based programme. Much of this interchange can occur via email or discussion boards within Moodle, as it does for on campus students. Sometimes, however, your advisees will benefit from a 'live' interaction with you in a synchronous environment, either one-to-one or in a group.

    There are many channels to use for this synchronous communication, Skype is very common, with other technologies such as Adobe Connect or Google Hangouts also available.

    If you are using any of these technologies for the first time as an adviser, make sure that you have tested your connection beforehand with a call to a colleague or a friend who is based off-campus. You also need to check that your advisees also have access to the same technology.

    It is recommended that you take care in setting up your audio and a camera (if you are using one) so that the sound and images are clear. Ask for feedback on the clarity of your audio when you do a test with a colleague since this is proven to be the most important factor in achieving a satisfactory online conference.

    When conducting a one-to-one tutorial with an advisee at a distance, it is perhaps even more important to be prepared with an outline agenda and information ready at your finger-tips. Listen to one adviser based in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences in the UK, talking about how she supports advisees that are in Hong Kong. She has adapted the 'Neighbour Model' from healthcare, since it provides a valuable framework for structuring academic interactions with her advisees.

    The Neighbour Model

    Marion Waite, MSc Nursing Studies, talks about adapting the Neighbour Model for Academic Advising

    Transcript of Marion Waite's video: a communication framework for academic advising.

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