By: Cesilia Faustina
All this talk about technology is getting more real than ever. With a pandemic in our midst, everybody is now keen to give technological solutions a chance. As one of the best options we have right now, many sectors are now implementing tech options when it comes to operations, one of which includes the education sector.
Once back-to-school becomes a thing again, many people are wondering how exactly the learning process will be like? We can only expect the help of technology and a blended learning appeal to be adopted, but one question remains, which is how effective will it be for the students?
Perhaps the online learning processes have proven to be effective, considering many institutions have utilized it before, but when it comes to student affairs, how well does it perform? Schools and education institutions have to deal with more aspects other than teaching; they would need proper monitoring and guidance. A student’s wellbeing and development is the goal for most, if not all, educational institutes and having to support student affairs through online means do not seem to be the easiest job.
Understandable, trying to provide guidance to students when you can’t interact with them face-to-face may seem a bit hard, but there are definitely ways where you can. Many institutions have seen the opportunities technology have in handling student affairs, many places of learning have taken advantage of this technology, like during Hurricane Katrina, where the University of Tulane ensured students could still communicate with campus activities through online means or other universities reaching out to their students via social media and webinars during this pandemic to ready them for the new semester.
With many Learning Management Systems (LMS) providing tools to cater to student affairs, handling such issues have become a much simpler task, not to mention the existence of the Internet. It is much easier now to communicate with students and students with each other through the help of online tools.
Inside Higher Ed has even stated some tips for implementing ideal student affairs management with the help of technology, which you can find below. I highly recommend people reading it if you work in education.
|Source: Inside Higher Ed|
Now that we are more aware about how technology can be utilized for student affairs, there are some major points to look out for when trying to create a smoother and more effective process when it comes to implementing tech solutions in student affairs. It might seem like a challenging process at first, but it is easily doable once you know the ropes.
Be prepared with a plan
Obviously, trying to interact and provide guidance for your students without direct contact might seem a bit challenging at first, but we need to remember that we have been doing this for quite a while now. The utilization of technology has been a big part of our lives whether we realize it or not, and it is easily implemented now that we have grown accustomed to it. Most businesses and sectors have already tried going digital and communicating with their clients even before coronavirus, why should education be any different?
Coming into a digital transformation still needs some getting-used-to, which is why schools and learning institutions need to come up with a plan beforehand. Plan out your digital tools and operations based on your schools’ needs and students. Some institutions might match well with using an LMS or some may prefer existing online tools like Skype, Zoom, or social media. Any tools you use is fine, as long as you think it appeals to your students.
You would need to do thorough planning and data collecting in order to do this. Look at which platforms your students are most active in or check out at what time your students are most active when looking to interact with them. Collect enough information about your students to create an ideal personalized plan.
Don’t forget about LMS
As mentioned, many LMS come with a student affairs module to help ease up the student affairs process. An LMS also comes with well-documented data about your students which would definitely help with the planning stages of things. Due to the thorough and automated process of LMS, you can pick-and-choose the information you need accordingly, as well as look at a specific student’s data, if say you are looking to work with a specific student.
If you are currently utilizing an LMS, make sure to make the best use of it to help out your students.
Ask your students
It is easy to say that you would like to help your students, but nobody knows what the students need more than, well, the students themselves. Make sure before implementing anything, you get insights directly from the students. Put out a survey perhaps or reach out to the students about what they need and what type of platforms would work for them best. This will also give you a better idea of when and how you can contact them outside of school hours, for example.
Let the students provide you with the insights and the means as to how you can help them in a more conducive way. Conducting a trial run with the students to see how student affairs systems might be implemented will also be a great method of achieving greater results. Reaching out to your students will provide you with the best way in how you can help provide guidance for student affairs in the midst of a pandemic.
So, technology can actually be a great way to help with student affairs during coronavirus, as like everything else, it just requires some training and getting used to. The way many students are becoming more technologically aware may even make going digital a more comfortable option for them when handling student affairs. Just test it out with your students and make the most of a situation.
Learn more about how LMS can help with student affairs through ESKADENIA’s Education software for schools and universities.