Remote Advising

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Tips and resources for holding advising appointments remotely.

Following public health guidance related to COVID-19, we are asking that all advising meetings be held remotely for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Remote advising can be done effectively using several communication platforms, including video conference, telephone, and email. This page provides resources and guidance for students and faculty advisors regarding the best practices for remote advising.

Key Points
  • Advising for Fall 2020 courses will take place over a two week period from March 30 to April 10
  • Registration for Fall 2020 will be held April 13-17
  • Students are encouraged to stay in contact with their faculty advisors, particularly if they require academic guidance or assistance
  • The Advising Center is available by phone (323-259-1341) or email (advisingcenter@oxy.edu)
Table of Contents
  1. Advising Week and Registration
  2. Preparing for Remote Advising Appointments
  3. Choosing a Communication Platform
  4. Forms and Signatures

Advising Week and Registration

Advising week has been rescheduled and extended to a two-week period from March 30 to April 10. During this time all continuing students should connect with their faculty advisors to discuss their course selections for Fall 2020. This is also a valuable opportunity to check on progress toward completion of core, major, and degree requirements, as well as a good time to think about long-term goals and opportunities.

Scheduling Advising Appointments

You can schedule advising appointments with students using a variety of methods. Google Calendar has a useful feature that allows you to create appointments slots. You can also create a virtual sign-up sheet with time slots on a Google doc that is shared with your advisees.

Registration (PIN) Letters

As in the past, students will need a PIN to access the registration system. This semester, faculty advisors will receive a separate email for each of their advisees with their Registration Letter (with PIN) attached as a PDF file. These emails can then be forwarded to students once they have been advised. 

Registration

Registration will take place over four days starting on Monday, April 13. The format will be the same as it has been in previous semesters, with students registering online through myOxy during their designated registration times.

Preparing for Remote Advising Appointments

Students and faculty advisors may wish to prepare differently for a remote advising appointment than they would for an in-person meeting. For instance, if you are having phone appointments, it may be helpful for the student to share a draft of their proposed schedule in advance (via either Google docs or email) so that you can both reference it during your call. A shared Google doc offers the advantage of allowing you to review the courses together and add comments or edits in real time.

Students and advisors may want to use the new Course Planning Worksheet, which can be easily filled out online and shared with others. 

Choosing a Communication Platform

It is possible to provide effective advising remotely using a variety of different technological platforms. The list below summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the most common tools.

Phone Appointments

Here are some tips for advising students by phone:

  • Be clear about who will be doing the calling and what number should be used.
  • As mentioned above, faculty advisors may want to ask students to prepare for the meeting in advance to facilitate the conversation.
  • Be aware that both parties may not have complete control over their current environment; there may be background noise or other disruptions that cannot be avoided.
  • Note that phone appointments may be difficult for students residing outside of the United States due to the high cost of long-distance calls.

Video Appointments

Video conferencing can be a valuable communication tool. Here are some tips for advising using a video conference platform:

  • Occidental's primary video conferencing solution is BlueJeans, though other platforms are available.
  • When scheduling appointments, be clear about who will set up the video conferencing system. 
  • As mentioned above, faculty advisors may want to ask students to prepare for the meetings in advance to facilitate the conversation.
  • Screen share allows both advisor and advisee to view the same item at the same time. This is could be useful when reviewing a possible schedule or looking at a web page together.
  • Be aware that both parties may not have complete control over their current environment; there may be background noise or other disruptions that cannot be avoided.

Advising by Email

Advising via email can be effective, though it often takes longer since discussions are asynchronous and may play out over several messages. Advising by email may be the best option in cases where there is a significant time difference, or when phone or video conferences are simply not possible for other reasons. Here are some tips for advising student by email:

  • Advisors should start by providing their students with a prompt—for instance, a list of questions or a specific task to complete. To start the discussion, it may be helpful to ask the student to provide a list of courses they are interested in taking and to indicate which requirements (if any) are fulfilled by each course.
  • Consider creating a shared Google document to help facilitate your conversations; it may be more efficient to add questions and comments within a shared document than to send multiple emails.

Forms and Signatures

The Registrar's Office has created a page with information about Submitting Forms Electronically.

Some of the information on this page has been adapted from the "Advising in Times of Disruption" document prepared by Sarah Howard and participants of the @AcAdvChat community.