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ORM Podcast: Navigating Detours with Student Support Services Transcript


Hi everyone. And welcome to this week's episode of the Online Road Map podcast brought to you by WVU online. And this week, we are pleased to speak with Tammy Bishoff, who is the director of Student Support Services with WVU Online. So welcome to the show, Tammy. Hi, thanks for having me. Yeah, we're excited to have you with us today.

So if you could I always like to open the show with, with you telling us a little bit about who you are and your affiliation with. I have been with WVU for. About 20 years now, I am also a WV alum and I grew up here in West Virginia, but my role currently is to ensure that our online students have access to the same services, distantly that they would if they were here on campus, just to make sure that they have all the tools so that they can be successful.

I see you've been with WVU for a long time. Have you been with online the whole time or have you gone through different areas at the university? I have been with different offices. They are, we have developed into WVU online set. Well, I know that you work with the student support services and the online students.

So can you tell us, I know we're talking a little bit more about summer and may master right now. So can you tell us a little bit about what student services there are available for our students? During the summer and Maymester terms. Absolutely. Typically we have the same services available to our online students during the fall and the spring and the summer students have access to get to the library.

We have online tutoring. They can get online writing, assistant contact career services. If they need mental health assistance, we have the crew center or my SSP that they can contact. If they need more assistance. These services are available for online students as well during the Maymester term.

Correct. Correct? Yes. Okay. Okay. Cause I know we have some students, you know, who like to attend, who are on campus students, but they're taking Maymester and as Maymester is fully online, it's good to know that they'll have these services available, you know, as well. So that's positive. So during the summer months, I know a lot of our students like to travel and that's kind of the cool part about Maymester is that they can travel and, you know, take a main master class and maybe take the rest of the summer off or take two Maymester classes, even intake a, an early summer and then take the rest of the term off or, or whatever the situation may be.

But I know travel is. Is a huge part of summer and a good experience for our students. So I like to kind of pick the brains of our guests on the show Tam and just see you know, where do you like to travel? Is there someplace that you like to go during the summer? Or what do you like to do during the summer months?

I enjoy going camping. I like to go somewhere that it's not like with people on top of each other. So I like to be, you know, a way somewhere beside a river stream. Cause you know, I like to sit by the campfire when you're going to sleep at night to hear the water running. I just think that's relaxing to get away and you know, kind of unplugged from our daily stressful lives.

Now, since we're. Online and we have our fans with us and it seems like we never get a break from things. I think it's relaxing just to go out and go camping. Hey, I like to camp too. You know, I'm a, I'm a, I'm an avid camper. So of course my, my camping Tammy is probably a little bit different. I like to be in the, in the rolling Chateau or the camper, you know, on wheels.

So, but is there any place around Morgantown or West? Virginia that you like to go or that you would recommend the students. There are a lot of really nice campgrounds. I bring the Eastern panhandle, I think again, depending on what else you like to do, we like to take our kayaks so you can kayak or there's places that you can go and whitewater raft, depending on what your personal enjoyment or ride bikes.

So I think just looking at those different things But kayaking is one of the things we really enjoy doing. So again, being close to a river or something that you can go and do that at, we went to, I'm trying to think. I think it was tiger Lake. We went to a year or two ago, and I remember just the water there.

It was like so blue it's very, very pretty. And we rented a boat. So you can like rent a boat there if you want to and take it out. And it was just a really cool experience. So I think there's a lot of West Virginia has a lot of beautiful landscape. And in water, like you said, you can kayak or, you know, you know, bike riding or hiking, or definitely a beautiful state.

And we have our parks. I mean, so I mean endowment towards the Southern West Virginia, but Seneca rocks and black waterfalls. So I mean, there's lots of big sites to see that are close by to camping areas or whatever you're doing. So, I mean, you can really make it sightseeing and enjoyable, relaxing. Cause we do have so many things because in West Virginia, Yeah, and it's nice just to be outside.

I feel like we've been cooped up for a while. So getting outside, getting outside and enjoying that fresh air is definitely positive. And if you take an online class, right, that's the beauty of it. You can, you can also travel a little bit while taking your classes. So thank you for that. So what are some of the benefits that, that you think students would have in taking a Maymester or summer term course?

I think then unique thing about summer and may master are it's a time I don't want to say to catch up, but to look at a class that you may have had you're dropped in the fall or the spring. Go ahead and get that made up. If you needed the class as a prerequisite possibly if you're repeating a course.

We've had a lot of students who need to take a course that they might be in a subject area that isn't their most, you know, easy to take, possibly difficult for them in the past summer. And may master would make a great time just to focus on that one course, or just a couple of courses rather than a full course load.

So you can really, you know, get into that class and focus on it. And. Engage with the instructor and your classmates to really learn and possibly do better in the class. Then of course, students are doing it to graduate early, you know, more and more are looking at ways to get out of college earlier to, you know, get into the workforce.

Yeah. Yeah, those are all great points. And I know during summer too, it's nice. A lot of the classes are, you know, in six weeks, right? So you can take like one at a time instead of maybe like a full course load like you would in the fall. So I think, I think it's a great time, like you said, to, to catch up or work ahead and really just get some extra credits in if needed.

Yeah. And I mean, even if you're, I mean, study abroad is a big thing, typically in the summer, if you're doing an internship with your program, there's so many options. And I mean, especially now with the addition of May, must there, like you said, you can take a class right after the spring term, and then you still have.

The rest of the summer to do your thing, right? Yeah. It really gives you the option to work your schedule, however, works best for you and get some, get some fun in right during the summer, or get some additional things accomplished with an internship or whatever you're looking to do. So definitely have some options for our students, which is.

Positive. And we're excited for my semester this year. I know we've been, we've been waiting for a long time. So finally it's here. And so, so I know that some of our students in, in this first summer, I feel like it was important to kind of touch on, you know, as a lot of our on-campus students sometimes take online classes, you know, especially during the summer and during may master of course, What about students who are receiving accommodations or accessibility services, are these things transferable to our online coursework as well?

Yes, they are. Students would reach out and request their accommodation through accessibility services for either the summer or Maymester term. And once they get approved, the instructors are notified of what. Specific accommodation, the student needs same way it would be in the fall and the spring, but yes, their act they're eligible for the same resources and services through accessibility services.

That's awesome. That's really good to know. I know Maymester is fully online, right? So that's important for students who want to take that, but then also. If he did want to take courses, you know, online throughout the summer and he needed those accommodations, they're there for you. So that's, that's awesome to know.

So I know technical difficulties can be challenging, especially with all of the online work that we're doing now. So the student would be experiencing any type of, you know, technical difficulties during Maymester or summer. Where would you recommend that a student would go to work through those.

The ITSC service desk is available to students. During the semester and summer, they have options that you can call them, email them, or submit a trouble ticket. They also have a huge amount of information and their knowledge base online. So you can search for whatever issue you're having and possibly find your answer that way.

Depending on the question you have. If it's related to your class, your instructor may be able to offer you some guidance, but the ITSC service does, does a great job of assisting students and providing information for us. Said that we have that at our fingertips. Awesome. And I know we were talking to you student financial services at a previous show and they had mentioned, you know, submitting a ticket is a great place to start because a lot of times the phone lines are kind of busy.

So submitting a ticket, I think is a good thing for students to do. And they can't always call during office hours, but sometimes it's, it's good to just submit those tickets. Because I feel like they get to those pretty quickly as well. I think another really good thing about ITSMF is they're good about putting out their outages and their scheduled maintenance.

So if something happens, they always send out an email or posted it on social media. So if something's down for a little bit or something happens unexpectedly, they're super good about addressing those things quickly and letting everyone know. Right. Yeah, I know. That's true. I know they have their social media that they post, you know, stuff out on.

They also send it out, I think, through the campus. So through the student's portal, right, Tammy, they have like a section on there and then, you know, emails to students makes email accounts. So there's anytime anything's going on, there's it's out there. Right. Which is positive. And I know students who.

Maybe you're having a difficult time logging in through duo. They can print additional codes to, from, from the ITSC website, correct? Yes. So, yeah. So if there's any difficulty with like, you know, your phone, not sinking or something happening, or even if you lose your phone or whatever, you can always go on the ICS website and print out those additional codes, and then you can log in that way too, with the duo.

So. So I like to end the show, Tammy, with just a little piece of advice that you would offer our students about may master or summer term, any advice that you would like to offer to our students? I think probably the biggest thing that I would. Remind them is, it is still summer. So in addition to your coursework, you know, once you get your syllabus and make your schedule, and you know, you're going to schedule your time for your homework and your projects and papers and tests, make sure you have time that you can focus on you, you know, take a walk, go outside and ride your bike, or do whatever you enjoy doing.

You still need to relax and wind down from. You know the rest of the year. So just make sure that you enjoy summer in addition to taking your courses. That's it great piece of advice. Yeah. It's, it's definitely, it's a good time to catch up. Right. But it's also a time needed to relax. So take some time, go outside, do something fun, go camping go enjoy something that you like to do.

Right. The weather's beautiful around here during that time. And. Yeah, I think it's good. Just to take some, some me time sometimes. Right.

Sometimes I like to take a little bit too much me time, but that's fine. So, well, Tammy, we super appreciate you joining us today and talking to us a little bit about the services that are offered and. The summer in may master terms with the university. And yeah, I just want to thank you for jumping on here with us today.

Great. Thanks so much for having me. You are welcome. And guys, we will talk to you next time on the Online Road Map podcast, and until then have a great day.

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