Students with problems: how do you support them from a distance?
Due to corona the world has changed significantly in the past year, including the world of education. Most of the activities that previously took place on campus are now online. In the first few months, this brought along many challenges. However, educational institutions managed to deal with those challenges head-on and have improved a lot. The only area nearly all institutions could still improve, is student support from a distance. And especially during this period, that is very important.
In the ‘old normal’ students experiencing problems or challenges were already common. These varied from challenges about their studies to personal problems they needed help with. Whenever those occured, they could approach other students or staff, or visit the appropriate department. However, just approaching someone on campus is difficult when studying from a distance, while the challenges students face have increased.
On their own
Students have a huge need for personal interaction and social activities, something that is clearly missing at this point in time. This is not something they need just in their personal time, but also during their studies. Instead of talking with fellow students on campus and being able to ask them questions, students have to look for the information they need somewhere else. Often it is hard to find the information and support they need online, which causes students to be left with questions unanswered and challenges unsolved.
Educational institutions play an important role, which is not being played best at all points in time. The reason is not because educational institutions do not want to support students, on the contrary: educational institutions do everything to help students the best they can. The reason is that they do not have enough experience with situations like these to organise the support their students need the right way.
Open and accessible
The most important thing educational institutions have to do is be accessible to their students. That does not just mean answering questions whenever students come to ask them, it also means to make asking questions and showing up with problems as easy as possible. In most cases, the information and the way to get the support students need is hidden somewhere on your website. Students have to go through great lengths to get the information they need. In other cases there is just one email address students have to send their question to, hoping it will end up with the right department or person.
Only a few educational institutions do have this process sorted out, to the satisfaction of their students. They provide all the necessary information in the official smartphone app of the institution. Through that app, students are able to get in touch with the right person or department, or even find the answer to their questions right away. These educational institutions set an example for other institutions, taking into account the needs and wants of their ‘mobile-minded’ students when offering the right information and support.
Do you want to learn more about how to better support your students from a distance? Contact us!