e-Advising

Background

Through systemwide efforts surrounding the CSU Graduation Initiative, the Office of the Chancellor has engaged campuses in investing in technologies that support student success through strong academic advising and clear roadmaps to graduation.

As part of the Enrollment Bottleneck Solution Initiative in 2013, all CSU campuses developed four-year plans to implement new technologies for students, faculty, and staff to provide clear pathways to graduation, track progress to degree, and offer a course schedule in line with student demand for courses necessary for graduation. For the first year, the campuses were grouped into cohorts based on their common goals, readiness, and strategies related to the current status of their degree audit system. In year two, campuses identified technology-based tools and solutions which would continue to expand access to guided academic planning and other supporting technology.  With increased use of these tools, measurements of average unit load per term, average units completed at graduation, and other outcomes allow for assessment of the use of these strategies and solutions.

eAdvising ShowcaseAmongst the tools that campuses have implemented are enhanced degree audit systems, academic planners, course scheduling software, early warning systems, and predicative analytics.  Such technologies may be student-facing, providing direct services to students, or may be institution-facing, informing individual interactions of faculty and professional advisors with students.  At the aggregate level, data from these tools provide critical information for class scheduling and academic planning for administrators.  The graphic below provide an overview of how these different eAdvising services are integrated to provide a comprehensive set of services for student success.

 

Degree Audit Systems

A degree audit is a computer-generated analysis that enables the student and his/her advisor to assess the student’s academic progress and unfulfilled degree requirements.  The audit provides an on-demand examination of requirements for a degree compared to a student’s courses completed including credit received for transfer courses, or credit received for examinations. The user is then able to view remaining requirements, requirements satisfied, or all requirements and plan their next academic term.  Robust degree audit rules allow campus administrators to generate audits for entire populations of students or automate other enrollment processes such as posting of graduation.

Academic Planning Tools

With degree audits as a foundation, academic planners provide students with an interactive online system which utilizes information from a student’s record to recommend future semester course enrollment patterns. These flexible systems allows students to adjust and personalize their recommended course schedule for multiple academic terms based on their individual needs, such as enrolling in summer courses or changing the order of courses based on credits completed before they began college or fulfilling double major requirements.  Academic planners provide the “most efficient” pathway to graduation and update automatically as additional courses are completed or credit is received.

Class Scheduling Tools

Class scheduling applications provide web-based schedule planners for use by students and/or advisors as they prepare to select courses each term. These applications automate the manual pen and paper process and present the student with every possible schedule option that has seats available and are open for registration in real-time. Students are able to indicate times they are busy with other responsibilities and the application builds a schedule of available courses around those times.  These tools then provide data to the institution to help inform academic planning and classroom scheduling based on student demand and schedules.

Early Warning / Case Management Tools

“Early Warning” and “Case Management” tools provide advisors, tutors, mentors, students, and administrators an array of appointment management, engagement, communication, and tracking tools through web-based solutions available across the institution. These tools allow institutions to group and track students based upon academic and student success indicators, produce reports for faculty, advisors, and administrators and recommend campus-wide resources for at-risk students.  The tools allow advisors to proactively address at-risk students by more easily identifying and more effectively addressing areas of concern, often before the concern escalates into more severe academic issues.

Predictive Analytic Tools

Predictive analytic tools combine technology, data, research, and algorithms to help institutions positively affect outcomes with at-risk and off-path students. Utilizing the wealth of academic data, such tools uncover insights about the patterns of academic success and failure.  Aggregate course outcome data, academic roadmaps, and other success markers are utilized to identify effective course-taking strategies and engagement opportunities with students which have the greatest correlation with success.  The resulting information allows advisors and other student services professionals to prioritize students needing assistance in critical courses and inform conversations with students who may be exploring majors.  Through these tools, institutions can mount communication and intervention campaigns to engage students.  Data gleaned from this activity can also help inform curriculum planning and assessment.

The table below provides a plan for the continued implementation of major components of CSU’s eAdvising strategies which contribute to student success.  Grouping campuses which have selected similar technical strategies will continue to allow the CSU to leverage its buying power and give campuses the opportunity to learn from shared experiences as new solutions are implemented. With academic year 2012-2013 as a baseline year before a focused strategy involving eAdvising, increases in campus adoption of multiple tools is anticipated.

Number of Campuses Implementing or Utilizing e-Advising Tools

 2012-20132013-20142014-20152015-20162016-2017
Degree Audit System2323232323
Academic Planning Tools36111323
Course Scheduling Tools412202323
Predictive Analytic Tools0361015

From the expansion of eAdvising technologies across campuses, the principal objective will be to allow students to make the best choices as they plan their academic pathway with supporting guidance from faculty and professional advisors.  This engagement will ultimately allow students to graduate in a timelier manner with greater understanding of the relevance of their coursework to their chosen majors and careers.