West Virginia University Extended Learning has been awarded $28,294 from the West Virginia Technical Assistance Broadband Grant Program to create a "Virtual Student Advisor" for adult learners who are enrolling in online classes at WVU for the first time. The advisor will deploy one of several interactive technologies-such as Skype, Wimba Live or GoToMeeting-to communicate with students and ease their transition to the online classroom.
"Our adult learners are often returning to the classroom for the first time in many years with the added stress of a new online experience," said Dr. Sue Day-Perroots, dean of WVU Extended Learning. "The virtual advisor will serve as an academic and support mentor from the point of acceptance through graduation. Mentoring will extend to career and social goals as well as educational ones."
In addition to online office hours, the advisor will develop a Student Success webinar which will be offered one week prior to the semester covering such topics as time management, broadband versus dial-up in online learning, study skills, and resources for online students.
Most of the students served will be in the B.A. Pathway program, a joint effort between WVU and the state's community colleges. The effort aims to encourage community college graduates to complete their bachelor's degree online. Better prepared students will mean more college graduates for the state's workforce, Day-Perroots said.
The grant was awarded by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey which is distributing the funds provided by the National Telecommunications Information Administration as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
WVU Extended Learning: online.wvu.edu
WV Broadband Mapping Program: www.wvbroadbandmap.org