Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Integrating Internet-Based Distance Guidance with Services Provided in Career Centers

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Integrating Internet-Based Distance Guidance with Services Provided in Career Centers

Article excerpt

The Internet has evolved so rapidly that there is little information on integrating Internet-based distance guidance opportunities with resources and services provided by existing career centers. In this article, the author describes career centers and then explores the need for career centers in the information age, the types of Internet web sites, the functions of an integrated web site in promoting cost- effectiveness, options for integrating user needs, the role of instructional design in web site development, cost-effectiveness and staff collaboration, web master responsibilities, Internet web site implementation, staff training, and ethical issues. This article is based on a paper presented at a seminar titled, "Guidance in Open Learning Environments in the Finnish Polytechnics" at Espoo-Vantaa Polytechnic, Vantaa, Finland, 1998.

The emergence of the Internet is the latest step in the evolution of guidance. As a result of the Internet, information dissemination and communication are now substantially improved. TheInternet has been defined as the "interconnection of existing commercial and non-commercial computer networks used to transfer information electronically between two or more computer users," whereas the world wide web refers to "an interconnected system of information on the Internet that allows text, graphics, video, and audio as mediums for access and transmission." A web site is the "total collection of WWW information resources, including a home page and links, for an organization or individual," and a home page is "the first page of information maintained by an individual or organization that typically serves as access to additional information through links" (Sampson, Kolodinsky, & Greeno, 1997, p. 204). There are several potential benefits resulting from the use of the Internet in delivering career resources and services. Individuals in geographically remote, currently underserved locations can receive resources and services from a wider range of practitioners with specialized expertise. Individuals with physical disabilities can choose to access resources and counseling services at their residence. Also, the anonymity possible with the Internet may encourage some individuals who would not have done so in the past to seek services (Krumboltz & Winzelberg, 1997; Offer & Watts, 1997; Sampson, 1998a; Sampson, Kolodinsky, et al., 1997). For the general population, the Internet provides an expanded array of options for accessing guidance resources and services.

The Internet can be used to expand the resources and services typically offered by career centers. For example, career centers can use the Internet to provide distance guidance. Distance guidance can be defined as the delivery of self-assessment, information, and instruction to remote locations, with or without practitioner assistance, for the purpose of assisting individuals in making informed career, educational, training, and employment decisions. Although distance guidance has been provided for some time using telephonebased technology, the Internet greatly expands resource and service options by providing visual information. Distance guidance can serve both traditional classroom-based learning and distance learning. Because distance learning can occur at places where guidance services are often unavailable (such as private residences), distance guidance will become increasingly important in assisting individuals to make appropriate choices among available distance learning options (Sampson, 1998b).

The problem, however, is that the Internet has evolved so rapidly that little information is available on how to effectively integrate emerging Internet-based distance guidance opportunities with resources and services provided by existing career centers. The purpose of this article is to identify issues and suggest strategies for improving integration of distance guidance with existing career center resources and services. …

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