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New Great Plains IDEA Podcast Offers Faculty and Adult Learners Support With Distance Learning

Posted by Carlo Bertolini

Topics: Student Advising and Coaching

The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA) has launched a three-part series that is part of its “Get Online…” podcast. The podcasts, which focus on academic advising, are available at www.gpidea.org/podcast. Listeners also can find “Get Online...” at most podcast directories.

“Get Online With Academic Advising” aims to help students and faculty align expectations around online education in the context of graduate studies. Each episode includes expert advice and creative resources to inform and enrich the online educational experience.

Most postsecondary institutions have suddenly increased (or begun) distance learning “under duress” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. But fewer than half of faculty members had ever taught an online course. Similarly, many students neither planned nor preferred to learn in this format.

On top of that, adult learners are perennially balancing work, family, and classwork. Faculty also have many demands of their time, and they have numerous students to teach. How can they meet in the middle? What should their expectations be of each other? Of themselves?

“Get Online With Academic Advising” helps both groups better understand how to navigate the graduate student experience. Listeners hear first-hand from faculty and students. They share their experiences, ask tough questions, and get advice from an array of guests. These include experts from several National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) advising communities.

Among the questions the series addresses are:

  • How is online advising different than on-campus advising from the learner viewpoint? From the faculty viewpoint?
  • How can students be proactive in their academic advising relationship?
  • How can faculty advisors create a sense of community and belonging for online graduate students?
  • What is the role of the academic advisor regarding career development?
  • How can students take ownership in career advising?

Institutions also can find support at CAEL for improving their advising resources. For example, CAEL offers an online, instructor-led course designed specifically for those who need to provide career and education advice to adults. Upcoming course start dates and other information are available at cael.org/ceac.

Great Plains IDEA says that future "Get Online..." episodes will continue to focus on graduate studies online educational experiences. Topics will range from student support to online leadership to what happens after graduation. In all cases, the podcast will be a platform for the consortium to explore the world of online and distance learning through the stories of students, faculty, and staff from inside and outside of Great Plains IDEA. 

Great Plains IDEA is a consortium of universities that offer online, flexible, affordable degree programs for a virtual community from diverse backgrounds. The alliance offers high-quality, academic programs that, by sharing resources in efficient ways,  are greater in reach and significance than any single university could offer alone. More information is available at the Great Plains Idea website, gpidea.org.