Why the Adaptive Advising Tool Will Not Replace Undergraduate Advising

In case you haven’t heard about it, there is a new kid on the block in Tennessee that is meant to help students better plan their college classes. Now, this program (Adaptive Advising Tool AAT) sounds useful. And, it will most likely help many students maneuver their degree programs by using an algorithm based upon the students’ courses and their interests. It has repeatedly been compared to the similar equation used by Amazon to offer reader recommendations.

I imagine that this will work well for some students, but there were still be students who will want to come to office hours for consultation. The algorithm will not offer an honest opinion about life decisions and the algorithm will not mentor students.

What I do hope, though, is that students find interesting courses to take that they might not otherwise of thought of taking. The AAT also might alleviate advising office hours, so that students come prepared for chats about their futures and not just the usual spate of questions that are answered by the college calendar or website.

Tennessee can thank Bill and Melinda Gates for this $1 million dollar grant. Apparently ten states won this award. The intention is not meant to replace advisers, but to help students graduate faster.  For more information about this see: http://tinyurl.com/3lxznme

Without a doubt, this story is not over and we will continue to hear more in the news about the AAT and ultimately its effectiveness. I look forward to reading about students graduating on time and having a better college experience, but I do not expect the AAT to replace certain important aspects of face to face advising.