1. Encourage student-faculty contact

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CIS2 Computers and the Internet in Society : Winter 2009

... research and report on technologies that support this Principle

Group members: X.Z., S.C., P.M.


What is encouraging student-faculty contact?


Research has determined that students benefit from additional student-faculty contact, so some institutions are now encouraging contact between faculty and students outside of the classroom. Studies show when there is constant communication between students and faculty, students are more involved and motivated. This allows faculty guidance and ensures students are committed to learning and preparing for future endeavors. (2)(3)


Why is encouraging student-faculty contact important?

Interaction between the student and faculty is extremely important. Educational systems have a structure that requires both parties to cooperate in a learning environment. The faculty must be able to understand a student's situation in order to establish a connection since methods of learning varies from student to student.

Important key points:

  • Promotes effective learning
  • motivates students
  • encourages success
  • allows students and faculty to better access situations.

Frequent communication between the student and faculty can improve relationships. It also encourages/enhances intellectual commitment from the student and stimulates students to think about their integrity and ideals.

Types of Contact

Faculty can reach out to students in various ways, including:

  • in class verbal interaction, in class written handouts
  • scheduled or non-scheduled e-mails
  • encourage private meetings via office hours
  • text message reminders and notifications

Verbal and written interactions in class are standard in most successful classes, and most teachers have office hours which they encourage students who need one-on-one help to use. Email can ease communication difficulties due to the busy schedules of students and faculty. Text messaging can be an additional tool used by faculty to keep in touch with students. (7)

Additional ways faculty can be in contact with students is:

  • scheduled office visits,
  • be a student mentor and
  • be involved in student clubs.

Scheduling an office visit with a struggling student, could help the student get back on track before it's too late. Being a mentor to a student can be rewarding to both the faculty member and the student, it can change a students life. To facilitate interaction between students, faculty can be involved in student clubs. (1)

Current Status

What is the current situation with the student and faculty?

De Anza College currently encourages student-faculty contact. For more information please visit:
Student-Faculty Contact at De Anza College

The National Survey of Student Engagement feels that interaction is crucial for first-year students. Institutions can access their current status on the "nature of student-faculty interaction" on campus. One solution is to analyze whether the new student's expectation align or differ from their experience with faculty. (5)

For example: (Data from BCSSE-NSSE Results)

BCSEE NSSE data.png

"...red bars in the graph below indicate students who reported experiencing low student-faculty interaction at NSSEville State University in the spring of 2006. Of these students 40% had indicated on BCSSE that they expected low engagement with faculty during the upcoming school year, thus their experience reflects what they had anticipated. In contrast, 19% of the students at NSSEville State who experienced low interactions with faculty had expected high levels of engagement with faculty during the upcoming school year. This type of result may prompt NSSEville State to investigate why almost 20% of their incoming first-year students who anticipated high levels of student-faculty interaction did not report high levels near the end of their first year." (5)

Social Issues

Social issues concerning faculty-student relationships can be far reaching and have extensive ramifications. Sexual intimacy between students and faculty can be harmful to the student, can cause emotional distress and can interfere with the students educational experience. Having an intimate relationship with a faculty member involves unclear professional boundaries, therefore students in this situation may have future boundary difficulties. Faculty can be distracted, so they may loose focus on the main objective, the students education. Additional problems can occur because other students may notice students are receiving preferential treatment.

Other less problematic issues are stealing ideas from a research assistants, using an assistant inappropriately, failure to deal with academic problems to remain popular. These are important social issues which can harm students and the school, but are less damaging to the student than sexual relations.

The best way to prevent these types of problems is to have clear guidelines which detail the limitations and punishment for inappropriate behavior. Students and faculty should receive documentation which discusses unacceptable types of interactions, which can open the door to discussions and educate the students and faculty members. (4)

Advantages and Disadvantages

Research indicates that faculty-student contact outside the classroom has many positive aspects. The following are some areas of improvement for students:

  • Reduced dropout rates
  • Improved academics aspirations
  • Satisfaction with college
  • Satisfaction with faculty
  • Personal development

Interaction with faculty is an important part of the college experience, a students perspective on their career can be influenced greatly by appropriate interaction. Improved satisfaction with college and faculty could lead to higher educational goals. Students can gain additional personal development by interacting with mature faculty members who become role models.

If faculty-student contact is done properly, the only disadvantage is to the faculty member who puts in additional time to make the contact possible. Students put in additional time also, but because they reap the benefits, it's well work their time.(1)


As technology is integrated into contemporary society, higher education must balance the expectations of a new generation of technology-savvy students with the perspectives of an older generation of faculty. Today's students have grown up in a rich digital environment where technology is both transparent and ubiquitous. Technology has always been part of their lives, they take technology for granted—they expect it to be integral to their lives.

Current Technologies:

Web Resources

The primary means of presenting information to the online class is via resources. There are a number of different types of resources - text pages, web pages, links to other web sites. Resources are the simplest form of passive, or push communication available.


Catalyst can be used as storage and presentation for course documents that are only available to enrolled students. Files of all types, links, course notes, lists of assignments, class schedules... can be managed and displayed within Catalyst. Limiting access to this information may be a requirement for "publishing" copyright or proprietary information ensuring strict educational "fair use" compliance.


Some faculty are "pushing" regular notices, comments and course updates to their students in blog format. Short postings displayed in reverse date sequence - newest at the "top" along with links to course materials, other resources and important bloggers in the topic area, along with links to "archived" copies of older posts.

Online discussions

Online discussions can remind students what they already know about the topic. Lists of questions help them to start thinking about the topic while lists of goals and objectives for the topic help focus the learning.

News Forum

The news forum is a special forum for sending information and updates to students. Only the instructor can post to this forum. There is an option to have summaries from the News forum appear on the main course page.


Information can be shared with the class at large very easily via email. The extended ability to reach and maintain contact via this function is very useful. Email is the most common means of increasing faculty/student contact. Students are much more likely to ask questions or initiate contact if it only means sitting at their computer rather than arranging a time for a face-to-face meeting. Email is a great way to communicate with even shy students

Advantages and Disadvantages:

New technology is growing extremely fast,which has had a huge influence on our education system. We use technology because it enhances traditional communication methods. As technology is added, students have more opportunity to initiate contact - send emails, ask questions in an online forum. The instructor is still essential to the dialog, but students now play a more active role in the contact. Many instructor realized that with the added of new technologies , we have seen more student interaction and greater responsibility for learning. All of these empower students in ways not previously available to them. Thus , the contact between students and faculty is enhanced. But some professors indicated that new technologies may create a sense of isolation for some types of students, which could cause problems for that type of student.


With the fast development of technologies, we could expect more efficient interaction between students and faculties.

Approximately 30 percent of higher education faculty will retire over the next 10 years. Consequently, academic technologists will attend to the professional development and support of the next-generation professors, many of whom are currently teaching assistants and graduate students. As next-generation faculty join the academic ranks, the opportunity exists to engage them in academic technology and developing a more efficient communication between student and faculty.

Instructional technologists work with faculty members who are willing to risk change and are interested in transforming the learning environment through new communication and collaboration modalities. To create a successful partnership between faculty and students, and academic technologists requires understanding how each group contributes to the learning process. The next-generation will increasingly expect faculty to effectively integrate technology into the learning environment—for them, collaboration is a reality, not an ideal. Faculty will leverage technology and frequently reassess their role in the learning process. Academic technologists will work with both students and faculty as higher education transforms our access to information, our understanding of community, and our sense of personal space and relationships.

Survey respondents generally agreed with recent reports that the quality of student-faculty interaction will improve in the future Sixty percent of respondents expected that the quality of online courses would be identical to traditional instruction by the year 2010. Also, a majority of the respondents predicted that the quality of online courses would be superior to (47 percent) or the same as (39 percent) that of traditional instruction by 2013.


(1.) Cuseo, Joe. (2007, August 6). Faculty-Student Contact Outside the Classroom: Supporting Evidence & Promoting Practices/ Retrieved March 4, 2009, from University of Wisconsin Colleges: http://www.uwc.edu/administration/academic-affairs/esfy/cuseo/Faculty-Student%20Contact%20Outside%20the%20Classroom--Supporting%20Evidence%20and%20Promoting%20Practices.doc
(2.) McKinney, A. (2009, January 16). Encouraging Student-Faculty Contact. Retrieved March 7, 2009, from WISE: https://apps.lis.uiuc.edu/wiki/display/wise/Encouraging+Student-Faculty+Contact
(3.) TLT Group. (n.d.). 1. TLT Ideas for Improving Faculty-Student Contact. Retrieved March 6, 2009, from The TLT Group: Teaching, Learning and Technology: http://www.tltgroup.org/SEVEN/1_Fac-Stu_Contact.htm
(4.) Maryka Biaggio, Tana Lucic Paget, and M. Sue Chenoweth (1997) A Model for Ethical Managmetn of Faculty – Student Dual Relationships Pacific University. Retrieved March 12, 2009 https://umdrive.memphis.edu/slease/public/CPSY8101/Readings/Biaggio.pdf
(5.) Engagement, ©. 2. (2007, March). NSSE Survey Administration in Full Bloom! Retrieved March 13, 2009, from National Survey of Student Engagement: http://nsse.iub.edu/e-news/vol6_issue4.cfm
(6.) Taylor, V. (n.d.). TEI 1. Student-Faculty Contact. Retrieved March 13, 2009, from De Anza College: http://faculty.deanza.edu/taylorvalerie/stories/storyReader$495
(7.) Sossamon, Stephen. (2009 March 9) Retrieved March 13, 2009, from Oklahoma City College: Professors using technology to enhance classes: http://www.occc.edu/pioneer/Archives/March_9_2009/news1.html

Peer Review

  • 1. Encourage student-faculty contact

Layout/Outline: 5/5

Content: 4.5/5

Research & Citations: 5/5

Graphics: 4/5

Really great work on this project! I thought it was one of the best ones from all the groups. I really enjoyed the fact that you guys had a list at the beginning of the article with links to each section. This also made your project easy to follow as it provided a brief outline right from the beginning. The images and the graph provided good examples and supported your article well. The information provided based on research is very much complete, and is on topic. The only suggestion that I might have is to maybe make the text before the graph into one column and the graph be another column next to it. I think that make the layout fit in nicer.

  • GROUP 1 - Encouraging Student-Faculty Contact

Mechanics - 4 Organization - 4 Originality - 3 Requirements - 3 Content - 3

The project seems well done. It is very organized and I could not find any mechanical errors. Originality was a little lacking, in that most of the ideas they presented are things I'm sure we have all heard before. My suggestions to them would be maybe more illustrations (i.e. charts) and to come up with new ideas and methods of encourage student-faculty contact.

  • Group1. Encourage student-faculty contact

The project looks very professional and the writers are sound in knowledge and articulate their logic and assumptions with graphical representations and factual information. This project is so good it deserves to be published as a research paper!

10 - No misspellings or grammatical errors. All citations used correctly. 10- Content is well organized. Using wiki page formatting - headings, spacing, including images, would have added significantly to the overall readability 10 - Product shows significant original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive. 10 - All requirements are met. Presentation would have been stronger with a summary. Using the wiki functions to link to the references from within the document would have been even better. 10 - Covers topic in depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent.

  • Group1: Encourage Student-Faculty Contact

Mechanics-4: Language flows well, no misspellings or grammatical errors. Proper APA citations.

Organization-4: The content is very well organized with appropriate headings, sub headings and bullet points.

Originality-4: Contains original thought based on research. Well summarized with appropriate inferences.

Requirements-4: Meets all requirements and exceeds them.

Content-4: Content is well researched and analysis is in depth.

Workload Sharing: There is no mention of how the workload was divided, however it looks like everybody in the group put a considerable effort.

I think this is the best report from the class. The subject is well researched and all aspects of it investigated. The organization looks great. It is simple but effective. The subject is divided into two parts, the issues of student-faculty contact and available technologies, I feel they could have been more intertwined. Also before focusing on the topic, the the seven principles of effective undergraduate education could have been mentioned.

  • GROUP 1 – “Encouraging Student-Faculty Contact”


1) Mechanics – I give them a - 4 for Excellent! I found no misspellings or grammatical errors. The whole project looked very professional to me.

2) Organization - I give them a - 4 for Excellent! I felt the content is well organized.

3) Originality - I give them a - 4 for Excellent! I liked how this team put a graph in there original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive.

4) Requirements - I give them a - 4 for Excellent! To me this project looks to have met all requirements and exceeded them.

5) Content - I give them a - 4 for Excellent! This team and there work together looks to have covered all topic in depth with detail and great examples.

6) Workload - I give them a – 3 Good! This team had what looked to be good communication they had 18 comments in the discussion forum.

I felt that this group had very good communication as a team and put together a wonderful group project.