Online Academic Advising: Student Needs and their Satisfaction

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to examine the type of advising conducted (prescriptive v. developmental), the type of information sought, and the level of participant satisfaction gained through online academic advising. For purposes of this study, online academic advice was defined as advice or information provided by an academic department obtained via the Internet to improve the student's academic experience. The three types of online academic advice considered for this study included (a) email correspondence with an academic advisor, (b) instant messaging or chat based conversation between a participant and an academic advisor, (c) and obtaining academic information from a department supported web page.

To obtain a sample for this study, academic deans were contacted by email and asked to distribute a link for an online survey to their respective undergraduate student populations. Data was collected by administering a version of Winston and Sandor's (1984) Academic Advising Inventory (AAI) modified specifically for this study. Participants were asked to complete the multiple-choice instrument online.

The researcher conducted t-tests, ANOVAs, and Tukey post-hoc tests on the data in an effort to examine the mean scores between four groups: (a) gender, (b) type of residency, (c) race, and (d) academic college. The data revealed significant results pertaining to several key differences between groups including gender, race, and academic college. The findings shed light on needs and satisfaction of students who receive academic advice online. The results suggest ways to provide consistency among the online academic advising methods of different academic colleges and ways to better meet the needs of students in an effort to increase retention.

Developmental Advising, Prescriptive Advising, Academic Advising, Technology, Satisfaction