Spotlight for Career Services Professionals, January 18, 2012
by Gary Alan Miller
The days of counselors and students being forced to be in the same room to interact are long gone. Tech tools that support distance engagement are abundant, inexpensive, and easy to use. That is not to say that the interactions are identical. But, rather, we now have the ability to extend and supplement our existing services with those that allow for physical separation.
Of course, there have always been telephone appointments. So, the idea of interacting from a distance isn’t new. However, many tools now available can get us closer to that in-person experience so valued in our profession. Video calls are a good example, as they allow the counselor to see body language, thus affording a deeper connection with the client.
Screen sharing is also a powerful mechanism for interacting with students from a distance, and there are many free tools to support that process. Jeff Sackaroff, associate director at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, uses the join.me platform to share his screen with his clients, noting that he can give them a URL from the join.me application and instantly show them something like how to find a specific resource rather than having to describe it.
Applications that allow for screen sharing can also support a webinar-type experience. Linda Conklin, in alumni career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sponsors monthly teleconferences, and recently began using screen-sharing technology to enhance the teleconference experience with visuals.
Mallory Bower, of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, says this semester the career center began supplementing its e-mail resume critiques with a screen-capture system that allows for a more robust and dynamic review. She notes that she and her colleagues are using a web-based tool that allows them to scroll through a students’ resume while capturing video and voice commentary.
Ultimately, career centers can use these and other technologies to help students achieve their career development goals in ways that supplement the in-person counseling experience and extend the footprint of the career center.
Gary Alan Miller is the assistant director for social media and innovation with university career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can follow him on Twitter at @garyalanmiller.