APCA held their Pivot Your Programs! webinar on Virtual Orientation, hosted by Eric Lambert. The guest panelist was Shakira Grubbs, Vice Chancellor Enrollment Services & Student Success at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana.
Shakira designed an online orientation program with the goal of helping students become familiar with online tech in order to connect them with faculty, staff, and other students in a virtual platform. She stressed the importance of providing them with necessary resources and support services and helping them to learn how to be successful in a virtual environment.
She explained that due to COVID-19 and the need to move to remote offices, their remote team met and set up a new student orientation course to upload modules for students to access.
What virtual student life programs are you promoting in conjunction with online orientation? And how can academic and student activities advisors help?
Shakira mentioned the need to take everything they would normally do on campus and shift it to the virtual world. They have a strong presence on the multiple social media platforms they utilize. They also contracted with their local mental health services to provide free services for students.
How do you collaborate with faculty to help engage incoming virtual students?
The faculty at Ivy Tech, pre and during COVID-19, continue to play an important role during orientation, leading modules, going over expectations with students, providing syllabi, and tips on being successful.
What IT challenges are you having and how long did it take to put the virtual orientation module together?
Shakira mentioned that it took three weeks to put their program together, with a focus on how to make it look appealing enough for students to be interested and to increase engagement. They used a model where after a module was done, each student is required to do some interaction via an activity or a quiz before moving onto the next one. One problem with utilizing IT is that sometimes the users are not up to par and that can be challenging.
Do you think we are going to keep virtual orientation in order to increase the amount of students that will be working on line?
Shakira said that getting students on campus is the best option for increased retainment, but the next best option will be to maintain the virtual orientation and that students will need this kind of virtual platform to engage and interact.
What kind of effect do you think this will have on peoples’ positions? Will people have to continue to shift more and more, and will it be a new skill to learn how to manage online software?
In response, Shakira said that they have been having discussions about what it will mean when they eventually return to campus, stressing the importance of exploring what student life will look like with enrollment and recruitment.
How are you doing community building between the students and the college with the orientation department?
Shakira mentioned the many contracts they have with their community, and that they are connected with Facebook and current community members there. They encourage students to use those resources. To connect with students, Ivy tech uses Zoom’s RSVP link that students can respond to when they receive emails and texts.
To make the virtual orientations fun, Shakira said that at the end of each module students can take quizzes or watch student-created videos, then click a link to a google doc where they can print a certificate that they can later redeem for different “swag” items, once back on campus.
To learn more about APCA and Pivot Your Programs! click here.