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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

4 Tips for Using Support Services as an Online Student | U.S. News & World Report

Think of online student support services as under one roof, but in separate places, inform Bradley Fuster, special assistant to the provost for innovative learning at SUNY Buffalo State, teaches both hybrid and online courses and developed the school's fully online master's program in music education.

Offices for support services at institutions have different hours of operation, so online students will need to figure out the best time to contact each one.
Earning an online degree is not as simple as taking classes until all requirements are met and then graduating. From application through graduation, online students must negotiate a variety of student service offices to meet their needs.

As students first apply to earn an online degree, they must interact with multiple offices, from admissions and financial aid to academic advising and the registrar office. Their first experience interacting with these offices can foreshadow the type of service experience students could expect throughout their studies.

However, as online students and programs continue to multiply, campuses are expanding the range and reach of available student support services. SUNY—Buffalo State, for example, is implementing a virtual concierge that will centrally network student support services through a single point of digital contact.

If students need financial aid assistance, a transcript, academic advisement, a writing tutor, help with the learning management system or an appointment at the counseling center, they will contact the virtual concierge for intake, ticketing, routing and appointment scheduling with the appropriate office. SUNY—Buffalo State also recently adopted a policy for professors who teach online or hybrid classes to offer virtual office hours.

A virtual concierge and virtual office hours are still new concepts. Until such digital centralization of services becomes the norm, most online students must be prepared to hunt down and take advantage of support services on their own.  

Source: U.S. News & World Report