Benefits and challenges of tools for online guidance

Email

Easy to use for all, and sending group messages is easy. But the responses are often just sent to one person, even if they applied to the whole group or a part of the group. Too much work… On the other hand, this gives the tutor time to think about their response and utilise a colleague, for instance, if necessary. Email requires good written communication skills from both the student and the tutor.

Telephone

Easy to use for everyone, but as showing documents is impossible, discussions are often superficial.

Skype for Business

Has proven to be very effective, if students observe the given instructions and download the required software on their computers. Can be used for providing guidance for both individuals and groups. There are still some technical challenges regarding this tool.

Adobe Connect Pro

Works well if students only believe that the devices and the method should be tested in advance in the test situation reserved for testing and the students understand that a mobile device is not the best device for a webinar.

Yammer

Works really well for sending group messages (and why not private messages) and group discussions. Works well as a tool for peer tutoring. Yammer is also good for small-scale surveys.

ScreenCast-o-matic, YouTube channels

These tools are easy to learn and easy to use for making and sharing videos and screen recordings.

Facebook

The problem with Facebook is that not everybody has a Facebook account. Information security must be taken into account: confidential information should not be processed on Facebook.

Facebook uses this information for marketing purposes.

WhatsApp

Works really well as a communication and information channel for students and peer tutors. I’m not a part of these groups myself, and neither do I want to be. The problem is that not everybody has WhatsApp. Information security must be taken into account: confidential information should not be processed via WhatsApp.

Twitter

Spreading information, sharing links, utilising external resources, following certain themes. The #hashtags cannot be owned or “reserved”: anyone can use them, and you cannot influence the direction or development of the discussion.

Optima

The Development as an Expert workspace functions as a material bank and a communication channel, among other things. A quick tool for reaching all students of a new group at once.

ASIO

Works well for going through the PLP and giving feedback. The students may at first have a hard time understanding its purpose. Once the students’ studies progress, they u

nderstand and see the benefit of the tool in a different light. An important tool for monitoring purposes.

Electronic calendars

Saves time from unnecessary email exchanges.

 

The italicised texts are direct quotes from a survey made to the JAMK part-time studies career tutors in autumn 2016.