Can Academic Centers still support students Virtually?

20 April 2020

At this point it seems that all schools have been shut down and resources that were once readily available to support students have been forced to go virtual without all the tools needed to do so. These are uncertain times for academic centers and most importantly, students. Now could possibly be the most critical period in a students’ academic career. Is it possible to still support students virtually? The answer is yes, and we’re going to show you how Accudemia has helped many schools use communication and collaboration to accomplish this.

Everyone knows that communication is one of the key factors to a students’ success. But for a student, communication can be difficult when those resources on campus have gone strictly virtual. How can we communicate to students that we are still available for support and how do we keep that communication open? Here are a few ways, and they’re all important.

Posted announcements are a great way for getting information to students who are seeking help. Announcements on your centers’ website and/or a student resource page like Accudemia is the first place a student will look when seeking help from your center.  But are these announcements enough? Although effective, this communication is only one way and if we want to engage the students, we will want to also offer two- way

Accudemia offers students a live chat option which is a great example that enables students to engage with staff in real-time. This communication is not only two-way but also instant. Even with these two options, we are missing a huge portion of the student population and probably those who most need it.

To communicate to those students who don’t see your announcements (possibly because they don’t know your center exists), there are other options. Email and/or text messaging is possibly the most effective way to reach a large number of students. Now before you start sending email/text messages to your entire student population, we have found it more effective to identify groups of students who would most benefit from your services. Accudemia houses student groups such as At-Risk, Probation, First-Year Students, First-Generation Students, etc. These groups can be easily targeted using Accudemia.

These are just a few of the ways that we have been able to help academic centers keep communication with students.

Now that we have various forms of communication available to students and they know your center offers virtual support, you’ll need a way to connect the student with a staff member for collaboration. Traditionally this was through face-to-face appointments or walk-in hours. How can we accomplish this in a virtual environment?

Accudemia has been helping students make those traditional appointments to academic centers for over 10 years. We can now enable students to make appointments for virtual sessions that will be linked to the staffs’ virtual meeting platform of choice. Once the appointment is made the student will receive an email confirmation that is sent as a Google or Outlook calendar invitation. The confirmation email contains details on the appointment including a link to the virtual meeting. This link will sign the student into Accudemia and still send them out to the virtual meeting. The student will also receive an email and/or text reminder for the appointment.

Did you offer walk-in hours before? We can still help you offer virtual walk-in hours now. Accudemia will provide you a link that can be put on your centers’ website or given out to students via email, text or live chat to meet virtually. When students click on the link they will be prompted to sign into Accudemia and then put on a wait-list. Staff will be able to see which students are currently waiting and pull the student from the wait-list. This will prompt the student with a “Launch Session” button which will bring the student out to the virtual meeting platform.

While the world is battling to figure out how to handle the Coronavirus, you have the tools that will help you continue your mission to help your students.  Let us know if you have any questions and tell us how you are adjusting to the new virtual world in the comments section below.

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