Using Technology to Reform Advising: Insights From Colleges

Melinda Mechur Karp & Jeffrey Fletcher
July 11, 2015

The Community College Research Center published their report, Using Technology to Reform Advising: Insights From Colleges, that outlines best practices for implementing student-support technologies, otherwise known as Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS). The findings point to a more holistic and long-term understanding of the reform process, one that asks faculty to consider all the different systems and key actors such a change will affect.

In sampling six cross-sectional colleges, the study concluded that technology is only as good as the policies and procedures it operates within and the individualized strategies used to create stakeholder buy-in. In other words, the process does not end with the IPAS “going live.”

Correctly executing Integrated Planning and Advising Services can have implications well beyond the academic-advising office. IPAS are used to map course selection, track degree-attainment progress, and flag possible warning signs. This is important when trying to solve for readiness traps because time does not have to be a proxy for progress if a student’s online planning tool is not bound to the credit hour. And completion does not have to be a proxy for competence if a student’s counselor sees an early alert.

Countless institutions often cite outdated technology as the number one deterrent to implementing Competency-Based Education. But with modern IPAS, plus the needed know-how to apply them, colleges and universities can begin the long-overdue parting from time-based systems. 




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