Given the rise of online classes and programs, higher education adapted to the changing platform of where and how students learn. Student Affairs also adapted, from providing online orientation sessions, to creating online learning modules, to making workshops available online. My institution offers over 200 online programs. This has prompted a shift in how we operate to include online learners. In career services, I hold several career and professional development workshops for graduate and international students. For all of my workshops, I like livestreaming the content as a webinar. I also record the session, which is available the next day. Providing services online gave me insight on how going virtual is changing the landscape of higher education.
Going Virtual Helps All Students- Not Just Distance Learners
Today’s learners are accustomed to having information available on demand and prefer flexible options. Netflix makes TV shows accessible anytime. Apps make banking and other services available 24/7. The list continues. It makes sense that students would want career development on demand as well too! I often schedule workshops, only to receive the following email: “I want to come to this workshop, but I have class. Is the session being recorded?” We can’t schedule every workshop around every student. So, recording our workshops helps us to offer something for everyone at any time, for the students to watch on their schedule.
Graduate Students Prefer to Watch Remotely
I also found that graduate students prefer to engage with the content as a livestreaming webinar rather than a workshop. Graduate students have increasing demands on their time. Since they can listen in from the lab or their workspace, livestreaming proves more flexible than carving out a larger chunk of time to travel. For many workshops, I have more students participating remotely than in person- which is great! Without the ability to live stream, students simply would have skipped the workshop in the past.
Some graduate students are working with advisors who aren’t supportive of non-academic activities, including non-academic workshops. So, the ability to listen remotely or watch a recording helps bridge that gap for students trying to invest time into professional development. It is a way to anonymously engage with the material without having to ask for time outside of the lab.
Providing a Recording Helps International Students and English Language Learners
In my work with international students, I encounter many students who seek repetition of the material for better acquisition. I get requests for PowerPoint Slides after every workshop. Students will then re-watch the workshop to master the material. Having a recording of the workshop available allows international students to move at their own pace through the material to better understand the content.
Challenging the Status Quo
Primarily, live streaming and recording workshops have the purpose of giving online students the same access to on-campus resources. But, my experience is that there’s also a strong secondary benefit of reaching students in a different way. My students now expect all workshops to be live streamed or recorded. It has therefore become the new normal. I hope this one of many ways to meet students where they are, so we can engage them in meaningful ways that we haven’t before.
The focus of December is Genius Labs- enhancing work through technology and social media.
This post is part of our #SACareer series, addressing careers in student affairs, careers outside of student affairs, and the work of career services professionals. Read more about the series in Jake Nelko’s intro post. Each post is a contribution by a member or friend of the Commission for Career Services from ACPA. Our organization exists to benefit the careers of career services professionals, student affairs professionals, and anyone supporting students in the career endeavors. For more information about how to get involved with the Commission for Career Services or the #SACareer blog series, contact Cristina Lawson at email@example.com.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Joe Sabado on Using Technology to Support Students