Our paper on technology-mediated communication in advising was recently published in the Journal of the National Academic Advising Association. We evaluated how technology-mediated communication can assist with student offline interactions with their advisors and their views of academic advising. In this study we explored three questions: 1) How do students communicate with their advisors? 2) Does the method of communication predict offline meetings with advisors? 3) Does the method of communication predict satisfaction with advising?
tl;dr – Advisors rarely use social technologies to communicate with advisees; however, the use of these technologies can positively influence the number of face-to-face advising meetings.
- Most students (61%) communicated with their advisors via email.
- The more that students communicate with their advisors via an instant messaging platform or through texting the more they met with their advisors face to face.
- Conversely, communicating with advisors on Facebook was negatively related with overall number of advising meetings.
- There was no relationship found between communication method and overall satisfaction with advising. However, the communication method was significantly positively predictive of a positive advising experience.
- Use of email to communicate with advisors was positively predictive of views of the advising experience, while Twitter was negatively predictive of the advising experience.
What does it all mean?
Even though students use Facebook and other social technologies for social interactions, the predominant method for advising communication continues to be email. While there was no relationship between using email and number of face-to-face advising meetings, there was a positive relationships between texting, IMing, and number of face-to-face meetings.
Even though student use of text messaging to communicate with advisors predicted with the number of advising meetings, the direction of effect between texting a number of meetings cannot be determined with certainty. It could mean that students who text more with their advisors meet more with them, or that students who are predisposed to meet with their advisor communicate more with their advisors through text messaging.
While email continues to be the most popular communication technology between advisor and advisees, these results signal an opportunity to engage students who might not otherwise be engaged in the advising process by using social technologies that are more congruent with their communication preferences.
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