October 25, 2013 | News
Bill Gates once said, “Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
A variety of technology platforms including new products, social media and mobile devices have redefined how students are engaging higher education. From my seat, it has become apparent the traditional delivery of instruction, providing support services and building student community have quickly become dated as students are now immersed within the IT world inside and outside the classroom walls. With this said and despite the ubiquitous nature of technology, our institutions’ human resources (faculty, staff, administrators) are the common denominator in determining how to best deploy and use technology platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blackboard etc.) as a necessity to ensure effective communication and build meaningful relationships with students. More specifically, our student services professionals must prepare to jump into the virtual river with our college students; in effect, swimming with today’s technology fish.
As fewer resources are supporting colleges and universities nationally, traditional student affairs operations will likely not have enough advisors, counselors and support staff to provide the level of responsiveness and support students are now expecting. Instead, student affairs professionals must identify technologies to not only effectively deliver services but provide a better quality of service. Student Affairs operations must explore scalable online services such as tutoring, advising and counseling as well as invest in psychologically-small virtual learning communities. This technology will facilitate peer study groups, mentoring, student activities and information sharing important for a high-quality collegiate experience. Similarly, personalizing the service experience of admissions, registration and financial aid as well as promoting high impact activities such as study abroad, undergraduate research and service learning can be elevated across the learning enterprise with human and virtual encouragement.
The tide of technology as it relates to the student collegiate experience is here. For student affairs professionals it is time to suit up and join those students we serve. Whether you start slowly by learning more about mobile devices or leap in with a Twitter account, (my handle is: @FrankDSanchez), please enjoy the school of students you will encounter, serve and support as they are eagerly awaiting.
Yours in education and happy swimming,
Frank D. Sanchez