Online advising offers 24/7 help

Online advising tools let community college students “track their progress and plan for the future 24 hours a day,” reports Community College Times.—a free tool run by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of the community college— is expanding.

“The dynamic nature of community college enrollment, encompassing students from all demographics, makes it very challenging to meet the needs of the student by only providing traditional, face-to-face, nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday support services,” said Jennifer Blalock, coordinator of the Community College Program.

AgileGrad, developed by Andy Dryden, an engineering professor at Oregon’s Mt. Hood Community College(MHCC), also is growing.

Online advising helps students plan what classes to take when, says Dryden.

Jobs, families and finances often got in the way of those plans for many of Dryden’s students. When they needed to drop a course—particularly a prerequisite—they often weren’t able to see how detrimental that could be to their long-term success. Online advising tools, like AgileGrad, let students track their progress and see what effect dropping a class might have.

Online advising isn’t supposed to replace face-to-face counseling, though budget cuts at many campuses have made it harder for students to get time with a human adviser.

On Brainstorm In Progress, Geoff Cain looks at how instructors can use learning analytics to identify students who need extra help.