Spotlight for Career Services Professionals, October 26, 2011
by Gary Alan Miller
We are still in the early stages of the “tablet computing era,” but many career centers are adopting and adapting the iPad and other tablets to help further their center’s initiatives. A few examples of how tablet computers can be used in the career center setting include:
- Gathering post-event surveys with students or employers
- Using a whiteboard or notes app to strengthen counseling sessions
- Jazzing up your employer visit with flipbook-style presentations
- Relying on the quick start-up time of a tablet to give information to students on the fly
- Accessing all your resources—people, things, and information—with remote desktop, video-sharing, and document-sharing apps
- Providing digital signage and direction for center visitors
Many centers initially purchase tablet computers with specific functions in mind, only to discover there are many more uses for them.
“Originally, we wanted to purchase iPads for the office so we could register students with Careerolina [job-posting system] from remote locations,” says O. Ray Angle, director of university career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “But, we quickly discovered that they had amazing multi-functionality. I use mine in almost every meeting I attend or lead, which helps me be more efficient and green. With new apps being created daily to respond to even the simplest task, the tablet is one of the most innovative tools available to meet the ever-changing needs of today's career center.”
David Youhess, career planning and development assistant at the University at Buffalo, points out that tablets have the ability to strengthen existing center initiatives.
“We recently tried piloting ‘express’ events where staff would go to high student traffic areas, like the student union, to engage students in career development activities,” he says. “iPads could make this more eye-catching and interactive.”
Ian Swann, of the Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, agrees with that sentiment.
“Although we have only recently started using our tablet, it is already clear that our coffee and lunchtime drop-in sessions are much more efficient, both from a staff and student perspective,” he notes. “Given the compact and mobile nature of the tablet, we can use it to provide a rapid answer anywhere we have wireless coverage. It makes it so much easier to answer questions outside of the traditional career coaching environment.”
Even in a more traditional setting, tablet computers can support the counseling process. Cameo Hartz, senior assistant director at Duke University, notes that passing the device back and forth in counseling sessions with her students is less disruptive than having to share a desktop screen to review resources. Doing so reinforces the partnership aspect of the counseling relationship.
No longer shackled to the desktop or burdened by the laptop, counselors using iPads and similar devices are finding their work is more dynamic, transportable, and interactive. The portability, the speed, the multitude of useful apps, and the fact that they are intriguing to students make tablets an appealing tool for the forward-thinking career center.
Gary Alan Miller is the assistant director for social media and innovation at university career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can follow him on twitter at @garyalanmiller.