Keele launches innovative virtual student advisor


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Posted on 10 December 2013
The system will enhance, not replace traditional University advice services, providing a platform for students to access information and guidance on their own terms whenever they need to, giving traditional services another way to focus on more complex personal enquiries from students."

Keele University has launched a free virtual student advice service, available to the whole HE sector. The Student Advisory Model, or SAM as it is affectionately known, is a multimedia interface that brings together information and guidance in a student-friendly environment, signposted by the SAM avatar who provides a novel ‘human’ face to student support based on a 24/7, self-service model. SAM covers the following topics: Finance and Money Management, Living Away From Home, Coping With Difficulties, The Language of Higher Education, and Learning and IT .

The technology driving SAM has been developed by Keele's School of Pharmacy to support learning and teaching on programmes in the Health Faculty. SAM’s service features were further developed with partners Staffordshire University alongside significant input from AMOSSHE, the Student Services Organisation. The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and HEFCE, through the Innovation and Transformation Fund, provided the principal funding, with match funding from Jisc and Keele University.

The project lead, Dr Simone Clarke, Director of Planning and Academic Administration at Keele, comments: “We are delighted to be launching SAM to students. We believe it offers an innovative and intuitive response to the needs of current and prospective students who now want to be able to access information immediately, wherever they are in the world. The system will enhance, not replace traditional University advice services, providing a platform for students to access information and guidance on their own terms whenever they need to, giving traditional services another way to focus on more complex personal enquiries from students.”

Keele University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Foskett, alongside Professor Michael Gunn, Vice-Chancellor of Staffordshire University, officially launcheded SAM at an event at Keele’s on-campus Sustainability Hub.

Anyone wanting to access SAM should visit http://ask-sam.ac.uk/. SAM can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/studentsasksam and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/studentsasksam.


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