What is an Academic Success Coach (ASC)?
An Academic Success Coach serves as an academic advisor, plus a little more for online students. We essentially help make sure students are on track to graduate by registering students for their courses and really serving as the point of contact for the students on their academic journeys. A lot of times when students don’t know who to contact, they contact us! We connect them to other departments on campus, whether it be Financial Aid, Student Accounts, or Career Services. Ultimately, I like to consider myself a cheerleader for the students—encouraging them to stay the course with their academics, and just do what I can to assist them along the way.
How is online different from on-campus?
The biggest difference in being an online learner versus on-campus is obviously the fact that you’re not required to meet at a certain day and time for in-person instruction. This offers flexibility, allowing for online learners to work and/or take care of their families or other obligations they may have. Having this flexibility also means that students have to have a level of self-discipline and intrinsic motivation to ensure that they are taking the appropriate time to read and learn the material provided to them. In instances that they do not understand or have questions about course material or questions in general, students must have the gumption to reach out to someone such as instructors, ASCs, librarians, or classmates. We are all Team SWU!
What are expectations like for a SWU Online student?
SWU Online students are expected to complete assignments and coursework just like traditional students. However, the most important expectation for online students is communication. Unlike on-campus advisors, Academic Success Coaches don’t regularly see students in person. So if there’s an issue with coursework or if there’s something going on in their personal lives that’s impacting their academics, we won’t know these things until they tell us. This is why we stress the importance of communicating with both Academic Success Coaches, and professors.
Recent graduate Robert Hill says, "I always had someone to reach out to and respond real quickly. Reach out to the instructor and tell them what you need, what is going on. You will have full support; they will work with you. You have to communicate. Things happen, but we are grown adults, responsible adults.
For me with my schedule, my work, my baby girl - I had set time where I could do my work ahead of time on Monday or Tuesday. So if I split it up intentionally and worked ahead, I still had ample time with family and my work schedule was not jeopardized."
What do interactions with faculty and staff look like online?
Student interactions with SWU faculty and staff are mixed, but is mostly in the form of email, phone calls, and Zoom calls. We use ZOOM video calls for advising sessions because these give students the opportunity to see meet with their ASCs face-to-face! Some instructors also hold optional live Zoom sessions to provide additional help with coursework. One of the resources that a lot of my students are appreciative of is the access to an Online Librarian and the Zoom sessions and access to resources she provides!
Robert says: "Zoom sessions, accessible professors; there was not one situation where I couldn’t reach out to an instructor and have a really quick response. If there was anything I was having trouble with, I was always provided with the support. I wouldn’t change a thing."
For information on our online degree programs, click here.