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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

WCC Launches Real-Time Online Advising

Do you have questions about attending WCC but live a distance from campus? A new real-time online advising service lets you get answers from the convenience of any place where there’s a computer with an Internet connection.

The service lets users communicate through computer webcams and microphones with Dr. John Rinke, director of Support Services. Users can see Rinke on their computer screens while they talk, and he can show them his computer desktop to help them navigate to helpful online information.

“They’re getting firsthand, live information,” Rinke said. “My intent is to help students at a distance save money on telephone calls and gas.”

To use the real-time advising service, simply fill out an online form that lets you schedule an appointment and asks a few basic questions. You can make appointments Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 3:00pm EST. Your computer needs to have a webcam and microphone for you to take full advantage of the service.

The new real-time advising service augments an existing service that lets users submit advising questions through the Internet and receive replies by email or phone. That service received nearly 1,800 queries from last July through the end of April, Rinke said. Since it launched, the service has gotten questions from every continent except Australia and Antarctica.

The advantages of the new real-time service are that it allows a back-and-forth conversation and lets users get all their questions answered at once instead of through a series of emails, Rinke said. The older service remains the best choice for getting answers to simple questions, he said.

Rinke stressed that neither online service is a replacement for face-to-face meetings with advisors and counselors at WCC. In-person meetings help students build relationships with advisors and counselors, Rinke said, and allow staff to refer students to other nearby offices like Financial Aid for further assistance. WCC recommends that students meet with an advisor or counselor each semester before registering for classes.

For now, Rinke is conducting all of the real-time online advising sessions himself. However, he said there’s “a definite possibility” that other staff members will eventually have to help. “It’s just going to grow,” he said.

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