AAT banner

Voices of the Global Community


Editor's Note: To learn more about this topic, check out NACADA's Creating Online Flipped Advising Activities eTutorial.

George E. Steele, The Ohio State University

If every picture tells a story, then this article introducing five videos on the flipped advising approach is sharing many tales. The time to re-examine adopting a flipped advising approach has become critical as we react and embrace new ways to advise our students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article provides a framework for conceptualizing how a flipped advising approach can complement those advisors who find themselves predominately interacting with their students through video-conferencing technologies, trying to replicate the synchronous one-on-one encounters they were familiar with before the onset of the pandemic.

The framework for considering topics and content for a flipped advising approach proposed here was developed by Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber (2006). These authors created a model for helping advisors consider the difference between advising and counseling, as well as why and how to make appropriate referrals. This article proposes that their The Advising and Counseling Continuum: Triggers for Referral model for referring students can also be a guide to developing curricular topics and learning outcomes for activities that engage students in critical thinking. In other words, a flipped advising approach.

To that end, in this article, a brief description of the primary properties of a flipped advising approach will be presented to introduce it to those unfamiliar with it. What will follow is an overview of five videos describing more in-depth descriptions of the flipped advising approach and examples of practitioners implementing it and discussing their successes and challenges.   

During the spring of 2020, most academic advisors' traditional ways of interacting with their students were dramatically changed with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Widespread adoption of the use of video conferencing technologies followed. The approval of this means of interaction was based both on the availability of the technology and the desire to replicate traditional synchronous one-on-one advising sessions. The success of this model was due to its familiarity with past practices and the dedication of advisors who worked long hours to make it succeed. Attempts to perpetuate this model for the duration of this pandemic and even afterward would be a mistake. Any model of delivering academic advising that relies on professionals sustaining, over an extended period over one hundred percent effort is designed to fail.

Adopting a flipped advising approach can be one way to integrate asynchronous advising approaches with synchronous ones to obtain a better distribution of advisors’ efforts and provide students with a variety of learning activities that support the learning goals of the advising unit. Flipped advising relies on using technologies designed for learning. The two predominant technologies are standard on most campuses: learning management systems (LMS) and e-Portfolios. This author (Steele, 2015 & 2016a & b) described why these technologies were critical for advancing a teaching and learning approach to advising. It is because these technologies are designed to engage learners in intentional activities guided by learning outcomes. Furthermore, these technologies provide advisors with the ability to organize learning outcomes with activities into an advising curriculum, while offering various means of soliciting student feedback to assess their critical thinking. Adoption of a flipped advising approach is grounded in a teaching and learning paradigm: that students are expected to show, through both summative and formative evaluations, "that they have mastered some content, developed a skill, produced a project, created a plan, or reflected on a topic or issue." (Steele, 2014, par 11). The most familiar technologies used for learning, the LMS and e-Portfolios, provide means for organizing and publishing multi-media content, tools for student feedback and evaluating learning, and venues for communicating between multiple parties through private and community-based interactions. In short, this teaching and learning approach for academic advising, inspired by the NACADA Concept of Advising (2006), uses an instructional and curriculum approach to achieve its goals.  

With intentionality being critical to the practice of academic advising, the consideration and selection of learning outcomes are crucial.  That is why the framework introduced by Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber (2006) can be helpful. Their focus was to provide a model to clarify the difference between advising and counseling by describing a continuum of responsibilities for issues and referrals. They also addressed possible student triggers that might warrant referrals. For our purpose, Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber's model can also provide a framework for suggesting learning outcomes associated with activities for creating a flipped advising approach.

The advising and counseling continuum Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber proposed is presented in Table 1, The advising and counseling responsibility continuum.

In their model, Kuhn, Gordon, and Weber identified four activities in which advisors engage: Informational, Exploratory, Developmental, and Mentoring. They also identify four categories to delineate the functional difference between these four activities as well as to contrast these with equivalent areas for counseling. For advising, providing information to students is the simplest level. With exploratory advising, advisors attempt to clarify information for students to act. Developmental advising is more personal, for the focus is on helping students clarify their goals and plans, using information and explanations in the context of the students' needs, goals, values, and personal situations. With mentoring, the advisor is a role model and friend who helps the student with academic and career attainment and support to achieve the student's potential. Personal counseling, on the other hand, works with students on issues of personal, social, and adjustment concerns that are often complex and not related to academics. 


In Table 2 are listed typical issues students bring to advisors, as identified in the Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber model. In Table 2, student issues that are solely in the realm of professional responsibilities for academic advisors and counselors are listed, as well as those responsibilities they might share. By focusing on the distribution of issues on the continuum, Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber sought to delineate responsibilities and areas for referrals for both advisors and counselors. While advisors needed to recognize the personal and social issues that counselors address and to make appropriate referrals to them, counselors also need to acknowledge the specialized professional knowledge and skills advisors have and refer clients they encounter correctly.


For creating or improving a flipped advising approach, these same student issues Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber identify can be topics to develop learning outcomes to guide in the development of flipped advising activities. Using Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber's categorization, those student issues listed under Advisor and Both, are topics for starting the development of a flipped advising approach. The five videos associated with this article address two points. First addressed are the historical and theoretical foundations for the flipped advising approach. Presented second, through case study approaches, are examples of how advisors and faculty in multiple institutional settings integrated a flipped advising approach within their advising programs. Advisors and faculty in these videos highlight numerous examples how Kuhn, Gordon, and Webber's framework can be used for planning a flipped advising approach.


Flipping Advising: An Introduction: This video provides a brief history of ideas and theories that form the basis of Flipped Advising. It also shows several flipped advising activities that demonstrate the use of learning management systems and e-Portfolios. By: George Steele, Retired from Ohio State University, currently a consultant (About 60 minutes long) [email protected].

Orientation and Flipped Advising: This video shows how the flipped advising approach can be used for orientation, to centralize critical information and procedures in an LMS. by: Diana Thompson, University of Hawai'i, academic advisor. (About 30 minutes long) [email protected].

Flipped Advising as a Student Portal: This video demonstrates how the reconfiguration of a student portal, using a flipped advising approach can centralize critical information and procedures in an LMS. By: Rachel Mars, University of Alabama, Birmingham, academic advisors (About 30 minutes long) [email protected]

Encouraging Student Reflection on Their Personal, Academic, and Career Goals through Flipped Advising: This video demonstrates how to use the tools found in an LMS to support students' reflection on personal and academic issues before meeting with their advisor. By: Matt Williams and Joel Parker, University of Florida, academic advisors, (About 30 minutes long) [email protected] & [email protected].

Flipped Advising: Faculty Advising for Graduate Students: This video shows the integrated use of multiple technologies (LMS, social media, e-Portfolio, and Google Sites) to advise graduate students. By: Holly M. Lawson, Ph.D., Coordinator, Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) Licensure Program Portland State University, College of Education Special Education (About 42 minutes long) [email protected].

George E. Steele
Retired, The Ohio State University
Currently, Consultant
[email protected]


Kuhn, T., Gordon, V. N., & Webber, J. (2006). The advising and counseling continuum: Triggers for referral. NACADA Journal, 26(1), 24-31. doi:10.12930/0271-9517-26.1.24

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2006). Resources. https://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/Concept.aspx

Steele, G. E. (2014). Intentional use of technology for academic advising.  http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Intentional-use-of-technology-for-academic-advising.aspx

Steele, G. E. (2016a). Creating a flipped advising approach. https://nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Creating-a-Flipped-Advising-Approach.aspx

Steele, G. (2016b). Technology and academic advising. In T. J. Grites, M. A. Miller, & J. G. Voller (Authors), Beyond foundations: Developing as a master academic advisor (pp. 305-325). Jossey-Bass, John Wiley & Sons/NACADA.

Steele, G. E. (2015). Using technology for evaluation and assessment. http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Clearinghouse/View-Articles/Using-Technology-for-Evaluation-and-Assessment.aspx

Cite this article using APA style as: Steele, G. (2020, September). Creating a flipped advising approach: A model and five videos. Academic Advising Today, 43(3). [insert url here] 


There are currently no comments, be the first to post one!

Post Comment

Only registered users may post comments.
Academic Advising Today, a NACADA member benefit, is published four times annually by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. NACADA holds exclusive copyright for all Academic Advising Today articles and features. For complete copyright and fair use information, including terms for reproducing material and permissions requests, see Publication Guidelines.