How to establish a Cyber Career Center
Why a Cyber Career Center?
Faced with a growing student population, a nationwide distance learning program, and expanding services to the entire alumni population, it was apparent that the Career Management Center (CMC) needed to provide all programs and services electronically to students and alumni.
What is a Cyber Career Center?
While the CMC had the opportunity to create a physical space to provide a central location for Cyber Career Center staff to communicate from, the Cyber Career Center philosophy can be employed by any career center using their existing structure and technology. The concept is to employ synchronous and asynchronous delivery to meet the desires and availability of the client using existing resources in a proactive manner to provide a three tiered level of services:
- Live, face-to-face
- Cyber Center is staffed from 10 am to 5 pm with graduate students who are trained as Cyber Coaches by the Cyber Center Supervisor/Head Cyber Coach to meet with students and provide traditional walk in services.
- Live, via distance
- Cyber Center electronic hours are 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Thursday and 10 am to 5 pm Fridays during which Cyber Coaches interact via live chat, email, two way audio/video conferencing or phone and are available to conduct webinars and video streaming presentations.
- The entire CMC is supported 24/7/365 by our Virtual Career Assistants (VCA) provided by MAP Communications through our dedicated toll free number 800-937-ODU1.
- All calls taken by the VCA are followed by an email to the appropriate CMC staff member outlining the caller information, question and action taken or remaining action needed i.e. return call, set follow up appointment.
- The VCA provide a triage service in that they are not trained nor expected to perform career advising, resume checks, etc. but provide basic information services and assistance with technology through our Virtual Career Center, including directions to other offices on campus and live message referral.
- A virtual counterpart to our job fairs was demonstrated at the Midsummer's Night Job Fair, July 2006 with students and alumni participating throughout Virginia. CMC staff served as Liaisons at the various distance sites.
- Self-paced, via distance
- Our Virtual Career Center offers CMC orientations and seminars in a self paced format using Articulate software.
- The same presentations are also available on CD for those at distance sites who do not have access to a high speed Internet connection.
- All of our career tools and resources used with on campus clients are available electronically and assistance in utilizing them is provided by the Cyber Coaches and VCA.
What is our goal?
The goal is to develop an electronic means for the staff of the Cyber Career Center to communicate to students and alumni and electronic resources to refer them to, in order for them to receive the same programs and services they would receive in person.
The Cyber Career Center philosophy of pushing information out to clients with "just the right information and guidance, at just the right time, for just the right person, on just the right device, anywhere, LIVE 24/7/365" allows the CMC to support the future growth of the University, to meet the needs of more of our local students who live off campus, to provide services to the distance population of students nationally and to provide services to our Alumni population while recognizing the realities of our staffing limitations.
How do we evaluate?
The primary evaluation was developing the physical ability to provide an electronic counter part to each of our live services and then to make them available across time and space to all of our client populations. The original goal was to operate live 8 am to 12 pm 7 days a week every day the university is open. We have surpassed that goal in the summer of 2006 by being available 24/7/365 LIVE!
What are the expected outcomes?
The outcome is specific, to increase services to our client populations, particularly the alumni and distance student populations and the offices that normally serve them. This we have done in less than two years and increased the visibility and support of CMC by the Alumni and Distance Learning Offices.
The institution has continued to support new Cyber Center initiatives such as direction from the Provost for the University to be included in an iTunes U pilot program initiated by the CMC. Continued funding for video streaming and CD duplication equipment and other new technology has been provided.
- National recognition and presentations
- NACE National Conference 2006 and Webinar October 2006
- CD accepted for inclusion in NACE Time Capsule
- SACE Conference 2006
- EACE Conference 2006
- AAEE Conference 2006
- Sloan-C International Conference on Asynchronous Learning Networks 2006
Further publicity and recognition is anticipated as we are currently the only major University career center in the country that provides live service 24/7/365!
Start up costs were minimal in that we used existing staff and for the most part existing equipment and software.
- An existing faculty administrator position was rewritten to include supervision of the Cyber Career Center and Cyber Coaches.
- Cyber Coaches are Graduate Assistants who rotate through the Cyber Center 5 hours a week and work in their assigned college offices 15 hours per week.
- One dedicated Graduate Assistant is currently assigned to the Cyber Center 20 hours a week.
- We use the University website and standard vendor provided career center software thus any existing career center can apply this operational philosophy within their own resources.
- To add 24/7/365 live service we contracted with MAP Communications and to enhance real time communications acquired live chat capability.
- Annual Report
- MAP Communications (July -February)
- 5055 minutes "talk time"
- 1912 Total Calls
- 326 Outside normal business hours:
- 203 Monday - Friday
- 30 Weekend
- 93 Holiday
- MAP Transcripts
- Audio - Provided Assistance
- Email - Date: 02/20/2007 Time: 7:22:55 PM
Message: CHRIS SESS* STUDENT WAS PROVIDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO GET A FOCUS KEYCODE
- Audio - Call Transfer
- Email - Date: 02/15/2007 Time: 3:19:12 PM
Message: CALL FOR ALICE FROM STUDENT: TAYLOR BURG* PH: MAJOR: EN STATUS: SENIOR EMAIL: @odu.edu CALL REGARDS: - CALL TRANSFERRED
- Audio - Message Taken
- Email - Date: 02/15/2007 Time: 12:11:41 PM
Escalation: CALL FOR MEL FROM EMPLOYER OR VENDOR: GARY PH: 757-555-5700 COMPANY: IBM EMAIL: @ibm.com CALL NOT TRANSFERRED RETURN CALL NEEDED
- Instant Career Messenger Transcript
- Student: "Is there someone at CMC right now that I can take my resume to for advice?"
- Cyber Coach: "Hi! The CMC is closed to walk in students, but you can email your resume for review tonight to email@example.com I can review it tonight for you if you would like..."
- Student: "oh ok, I'm in the computer lab and wanted one last go-over before I print off a few copies to send to opportunities... how soon would I get the resume back?"
- Cyber Coach: "I can review it as soon as I get it, I could send it back in about 15 mins, if that would work for you?"
- Student: "That works perfectly..."
- Student/Alumni email
- "Well thank you very much! It's nice to know there is someone to help me right away!"
~Alyse Amorosso - student
- "Let me express my appreciation for the advice you gave in your e-mail... "
~Douglas Eugene Bynum - student
- "Thanks for a quick and informative response. I was not sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised...Thanks again for the informative info and I look forward to talking to you soon." ~Pam DeShong - student
- "Thanks for your help. I am so glad that I graduated from a school that supports their student." ~Corine - Alumna
- Student/Alumni via Instant Career Messenger
- "Wow this thing is cool...thanks (for your help), you rock chica! :)" ~Gina - student
- "Great. Thanks, this has been really helpful" ~Ramona - Alumna
- Distance Learning Faculty Administrators email
- "I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation...this will be a wonderful resource for our DL students." ~Nancy Rudolph - ODU Distance Site Director
- "Thanks for your presentation last week. This spring as I advise our students, I plan to share this information with them. It is just amazing what all can be accomplished at a distance! Thanks so much!" ~Christy Savage - ODU Distance Site Director
- "Wow! What a fantastic array of services." "I was very impressed with the services available to our students at a distance." "Outstanding!"
~Comments from various ODU Distance Site Directors
- Other University Faculty email
- "Hi, I attended your presentation at the NACE Conference last week and wanted to demonstrate to our web committee how your messaging worked. We would love to try to put this into action on our campus. Thanks for demonstrating for us!"
~Dana Sowby - University of Utah Career Services
- "I am the Career Service Associate at Kaplan Online University. I had attended your fantastic presentation on Virtual Career Centers at the 2006 NACE Conference in Anaheim, CA. and found it amazingly informative. At that time, I was working at a brick and mortar university in the career center and was just dreaming on how I could talk my supervisor into using some of the technology that your center used and suggested...am now working at an online university in career services, where the information I learned from your workshop would be cutting-edge for us."
~Rosemary Wyman - Career Services Associate, Kaplan University
Cyber Coaches attend required training prior to the beginning of the Fall semester each year.
- Career Topics Week
- Ongoing training/professional development
- Bi-monthly topics in greater detail and timely topics as the needs arises
- Monthly all-staff office trainings and professional development
- Supervised and evaluated by a senior level staff member
- Coaching forum wiki