Each week we will bring you an innovative thought. Our weekly WORK IN PROGRESS topics will be ideas to help you get the most from your Edvance360 Learning Management System. We will look at the latest trends and best ideas for putting your LMS to use for you!
Our goal is to help you create stronger connections between your learning goals, best online learning practices, and the capabilities of your system.
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"Most colleges are bad at career services,” states Jerry Young in his October 2016 article, 'Reinventing the Career Center,’ written for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Are they really? To hear many counselors and mentors speak about their career services office you would assume that their rate of successfully matching students to employment opportunities would be high and maybe for them it is. However, this past spring, the Economic Policy Institute reported that "for young college graduates, the unemployment rate is currently 5.6 percent (compared with 5.5 percent in 2007), and the underemployment rate is 12.6 percent (compared with 9.6 percent in 2007)." Now compared to the national average which was 4.9% in June of 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics these numbers are high. More alarming than the unemployment rate is the underemployment rate of 12.6% which represents those working part time jobs who want full time positions.
Imagine, you have traded your blood, sweat, and tears for a college diploma and all you can trade that diploma in for is a position that doesn't even pay the rent. Speaking honestly, college is an investment and students and parents expect a return on that investment. That expected return is employment; preferably employment that pays the bills...all of them.
So how do you reach your students? Even though they want employment many institution's career services offices struggle to get students in the door. Some schools have begun creating Freshman orientation courses that include mapping out a plan of action with career services. But unless this interaction is a requirement all four years, how do you keep students engaged?
Former editor for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jeffery Selingo believes that "the retooling of career services must start with making offerings more accessible" (2016). What's more accessible than your LMS? Using the tools and features in your LMS to enroll, track, and train students how to successfully navigate the world of employment after graduation could prove to be your career services path to success.
Top Four E360 Features to Use:
Communities: Your Community feature will act as your command center. Announcements can be placed on the homepage and changed frequently. Add information like best practices, tips, sample applications and resumes, and much more to the Resources tool. Create Discussion Groups of students based on their interests or majors and host live chats weekly to discuss new techniques for securing internships or have special guest employers participate in live Q&A sessions using the live webinar tool. Provide interactive Lessons that students can complete from the palm of their hand. Utilize the Wiki tool to offer an online glossary of information and terms. Or have students engage in scenario based discussions to prepare for job fairs and interviews.
Secure Social Network: The Secure Social Network provides a great opportunity for employers and students to connect. Employers who contact your school looking for ways to connect with potential students and graduates could provide a contact person to add to the network. Employers can browse the profiles of students and connect with those whose introductions peak their interest. Students can browse employer profiles to look for internship, mentor, and job opportunities. Students and employers can launch live Chats and contact each other via email all from the comfort of their network. In addition to adding potential employers to the network, professors, mentors and career services faculty and staff can also participate.
ePortfolio: The ePortfolio gives students the opportunity to create a record of their courses, but also their experiences. "The ability to transfer knowledge between the classroom and the workplace and back again is what gets new college graduates hired..." (Selingo 2016). Using the ePortfolio tool students can write the narrative that will set them apart.
Blog: All the features and tools in the Edvance360 LMS are subject to user interpretation. Plainly put, you can use them however you need. Our Blog feature is no different. Do you typically post job openings and provide other information on a board in your office? Why not use the Blog tool to create a newsletter filled with monthly tips and opportunities? Or create a Job Board that students can check periodically for new internship, volunteer, and employment opportunities. Maybe your office is seeking to give students more opportunities to share their experiences and new found wisdom with each other, let them blog about it! Offer potential employers the chance to Spotlight a position in their company each week.
Let's face it, we live in a virtual world. Everything is online or in an app and to reach students and prepare them to connect with the business world you must be willing to meet them where they are...on a device. "Rather than educate students for specific occupations or broad career fields as in the past, institutions now need to groom undergraduates for a more complex, fragmented workplace with many overlapping pathways," (Selingo 2016). Alternative is becoming the new normal. People are looking to create their own way and forge paths that will allow them a chance at achieving the life they imagine. Career Services Offices on college campuses across this country are in a prime position to help equip the next generation of learners. Preparing them for what's to come starts with knowing how to connect with them.
If you would like a consultation with one of our designers to talk through how you can best utilize your LMS to meet your institution's goal, please contact Cathy Garland at firstname.lastname@example.org