Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Tisha Paredes

Committee Director

Philip A. Reed

Committee Member

Jill Stefaniak


The intent of this study was to focus on distance learning students’ and advisors’ perceptions of distance advising at a large, public university. Specifically, this study addressed four questions: what were the perceived performance gaps between distance learning students and distance learning advisors practice, how distance learning students’ needs were being satisfied, what tools and technology resources were being incorporated, and how advising needs differed based on college. The Winston and Sandor Academic Advising Inventory (AAI) served as the foundation for this quantitative research. The survey was modified accordingly and sent to two populations: distance learning advisors and distance learning students. The goal was to collect advisors and students current distance learning advising experiences and perceptions so a comparative analysis of the two populations could be analyzed.

Results indicated that distance learning advisors and students perceived their current advising experiences as more of a developmental style of advising. Also found, were that students’ advising needs were being satisfied through course selection, class scheduling, and academic/major requirement discussions. Based on students’ responses, email, Degree Works (an online, academic advising tool for course selection and degree planning), and Leo Online (the university’s online student information system) were the top three tools and technology resources being utilized in advising. No notable differences were found across the university’s colleges in terms of students’ top advising needs which consisted of course selection, graduation planning, and assistance with forms and paperwork. Findings were consistent that all students experienced a more developmental style of advising except for the College of Arts and Letters where 58% of students experienced a more prescriptive style of advising with course selection.

Overall findings concluded that students and advisors both experienced a developmental style of advising in their advising sessions and that students needs were being satisfied through course selection, class scheduling, and graduation planning. However, notable gaps were identified among advisors and students when it came to discussing other-than-academic interests and plans, vocational opportunities, outside-of-class activities, and time management tips. In these four areas, students’ experienced a more prescriptive style of advising and advisors identified as delivering a more developmental style of advising.


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