Blended advising: How can we foster student engagement in a digital environment?

Anna Nyland (Maastricht University)
Iris M Burks (Maastricht University)
Greta Petkauskaite (Maastricht University)
Erik Kikas (Maastricht University)

Monday, April 4, 2022 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

The Dutch lockdowns have increased the need for alternative advising tools. While our students visited our physical campuses less often, an increased need for asynchronous advising tools arose. Two advising units of Maastricht University developed blended advising tools in their Learning Management Systems (Canvas) over the course of the previous year. Both platforms focus on providing information to students in preparation of -or replacement of- meetings, as well as facilitating peer interaction.

Almost a year into our pilot programmes, we want to share with you our experiences of setting up an attractive and informative blended advising portal, as well as discuss the challenges that arise when trying to engage students with the platform. In this interactive online workshop, we will facilitate a discussion using Problem-Based Learning. You will identify individual outcomes, as well as discuss with fellow advisers and the workshop facilitators which blended advising approach will work best for your university.


The Office of Academic and Student Advising of University College Venlo created an online course environment to support the Academic advising activities of its Liberal Arts and Sciences programme, turning the Academic Advising services into an education module.

The Student & Career Counselling of the School of Business and Economics in Maastricht, Netherlands set up a digital platform on Canvas which purpose is to share information with students and support coaching for students. The mission is to foster and track student development and well-being for the length of their study. The goal is to provide technology-enhanced, holistic and effective student guidance with the autonomy of the student.

We developed the platform inspired by the Blended Advising model (Ambrose, 2013).


  • Low student traffic on the Canvas page.
  • Low student return when they set off for working on a module.
  • How to convey a message that is still profound for Gen Z (short attention span/need for prompt answers)?

About the workshop

During the workshop, the two presenters will share some best practices with regards to blended advising and discuss the choices they made along the way. After a short presentation, the participants will get involved by means of a case study and a guided discussion on how to facilitate student engagement blended advising activities. Throughout the whole session, we encourage participants to proactively ask questions and share their experiences with blended advising.

Key objectives and Learning Outcomes

  • The participants will learn best practices when setting up a digital advising platform.
  • The participants will gain inspiration how to facilitate student engagement in a blended advising setting.
  • Find point of improvements