Athabasca University Distance Education Call Center
【Abstract】 Call Center through telephone, e-mail, voice mail and other means of
customer service. In the field of distance education applications call centers, to strengthen support services for remote students, improve teaching quality of distance education.
Key words Athabasca University; distance education; Call Center
Athabasca University in Canada and 2.4 million students a year service. Students primarily through independent learning, can follow the progress of the flexibility of their own time and place of learning, have access to effective part-time study and full-
time work. University of efforts to clear the time, space, past educational experience and to a certain extent, the income level of obstacles. The use of call center model to ensure that student satisfaction is Athabasca University, an attractive approach.
In the past decade, Athabasca University has developed three unique call center:
First, information center, built in 1995. Information Center for incoming calls was not directly directed to an individual's line, or go to one other call centers, but call first to determine the intent. Information Center staff for university services, programs, courses have a clear understanding of, and be able to reach a wide range of information. Much of the information has been transferred to the students call center consultants, registered office, computer services help system, call center or business school curriculum counseling staff. Prior to 1995, incoming calls reach the registered office's only a phone above, a lot of dropped calls. In addition, the students said finding the right people in institutions to solve their specific problems are often very difficult.
Since 1995, many of these issues are resolved, and the call number and the number of students were tested exponentially. In the past five years, the number of e-mail queries
rapid growth, the University has developed one called "Ask the Athabasca University"
automated information systems, so that the students will be able to not disturb the staff get the problem underAnswer.
Two treatment and help system, built in 1994, primarily for university staff to provide technical support to obtain information and support for the University of
processing resources. In other words, it helps the staff to resolve them with Athabasca University equipment and support software problems between. Support system for learning computer science and psychology to help students, but students usually access
the courseware to support the academic part.
Third, business schools call center, in 1994 as a research method of choice counseling pilot program established. Now includes almost all of the university business
school curricula to address the approximately 10001 thousand students are registered, or university 30% of the course registration. Call center business school to provide students with a concentrated expression of support, and with the combination of online
course delivery platform.
Information Center is mainly used to accept incoming customer calls, in addition to feed back information to users outside has never been used to take the initiative with the users. It is in the provision of information and promotion of admissions processes is
very effective. Information Center to expand their businesses to inform those who graduated from high school or obtained a university degree at Athabasca University students for further learning opportunities, university enrollment should decide to
adopt such strategies. Of course, in promoting an effective breath and focus on striking a balance between the needs of clients is necessary. When the call center staff time when idle, they can take the initiative with the customer contact, but their calls should
be focused on ensuring that customers do not drain connection.
There may be three call centers will be merged into one: their combined number of employees was less than 50, and some of their services overlap. Direct contact with
students even if the feature does not merge, but as the center design, staff planning, network design and management, ongoing standards reporting, information technology liaison, contact automation, quality assurance and training, concentration of operations
will significantly enhance the function of the quality of .
3 Cross call center operations sufficient to produce economies of scale advantages. Achieve such economic benefits, in theory, will include everything from call centers to
expand the scope of services to include all university academic units. Information Center handled a lot of call is the college management, which is a typical call center handled calls an example. Call center concept has been expanded to include curriculum
support staff service functions, they also answered the students questions, passing scores and job information. Many of these features with the registered office of personnel to deal with the functions have been put on the Web, and extended in line
with the conditions of service call center services group.
Call centers can be used as academic counseling and advice tools? In distance education, distance education's traditional practice is for students to learn to prepare a detailed package to guide their learning, and through e-mail and telephone counseling
support. Athabasca University's traditional counseling students and teachers are the focus of institutional linkages, which in addition to direct guidance teachers as a teaching staff to help students learn, we should also answer a lot of administrative problems and deliver teaching information.
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In the 20th century, the early 90s, Athabasca University's operational staff have developed a call center model, this approach teaching with a window guidance. It is the key to success was the development of a groupware call back conference, call center staff (called the "Student Advisor") will be that they can not answer the question of the
disciplines of academic requirements and curriculum posted out. In this way, academic staff would only deal with a large number of curriculum-related problems or have
questions of administrative issues. This system can guarantee someone to answer the
students questions and quickly in-depth discussion with the students discipline issues. This model also allows teachers to Athabasca University, the traditional mode of guidance counseling role and duties include the role of phase separation, and we stand by preventing economies of scale in these duties and dealing with administrative questions the application to form the teaching function of the efficiency of the bottleneck. Athabasca University in the traditional counseling model, a guidance teacher in charge of a 28-40 person team of students from all the liaison work, and to correcting all of their operations. Guidance teachers are usually 3-4 hours a week to the
workload. In the call center model, students do not carry out a particular group; administrative questions answered by the student advisor, academic experts to answer the students are only responsible for the academic aspects of the work of dedicated people to deal with points.
In the School of Business call center model, students in any course every week and 5
pm and 6 pm you can call a central toll-free number. Now a week call center to provide
students with approximately 60-hour telephone and e-mail assistance to be able to
handle 80% of the associated call, and only the remaining 20% of the calls required by
the Curriculum academic staff to answer. Call center's staff will handle more challenging academic content related to the call at the same time to provide students with course proposals.
In the call center mode before the call to the cost of tutors the largest business school
expenses. Now every academic consultants call was previously a teacher three times as telephone counseling. A result, business school students in independent study courses to reduce annual support costs are approximately 10 million. In addition, a call center,
including online course development and delivery system encompasses most of the business school university courses. Application of the Lotus Notes technology, a groupware suite. On-line course materials development and continuous improvement
so that the students through their course Web site to get help, the same through Internet chat or to discuss the interaction and call center staff.
Allow students to call back conference database, online consultants and academic
staff to track and resolve student's question, is the academic staff and support personnel in the spread of the student support necessities. Follow-up conference call
back only to the students can not directly answer consultants about 20% of the inquiry.
However ,2002-2003 academic year began a comprehensive Notes-based student
tracking system has begun tracking the call center all queries, including those through the call-back sessions to deal with inquiries, whether by e-mail, or by telephone. This
system is web-based, allowing academic staff and other university staff in any location using standard Web browser into the virtual database. Students in the database can also generate reports and statistics, along with such data and other things used to
improve the quality of courseware.
Each year, the investigation should be part of the Athabasca University students, seeking their academic departments receive from the service satisfaction. These investigations pointed out that what call centers need to improve, or should continue to
adhere to what the positive side. Survey of students and counseling directly to the interaction between teachers and students and the interaction between the call center the difference is very small, the call centers as an acceptable and valuable service to
Athabasca University students have been accepted. Like this report and the call center database to receive tracking information to help determine how the service sent to the students. Problems quickly in a call center environment was found, whereas in the
previous students and the mode of guidance teachers are frequently long delays.
School of Business call center model of a factor is the need to improve full-time
academic staff as a group of students involved in teaching and service delivery.
Although there are many opportunities for them to participate, but many people focus on their research activities, and money to give up their responsibility for academic counseling. Students request and contact the academic curriculum, and then find that
their contact is delayed, or not as they thought like that. Course workload of academic staff must be included each year to meet the needs of students in this way we can easily solve this problem.
 Costello, D. (2000, January). "Death of the Call Center", Sales