New Student Orientation: Setting Up Students for Success
Before beginning an online course, students need to understand the interface and functionality of the learning management system (LMS) through which their course is delivered. “Students will then focus more on learning the course content once the course begins rather than learning about the virtual environment,” says Nancy Lee, Academic Services Director at Academic Partnerships who hosts blueprinting workshops that guide faculty in developing online courses. During program development with its partner universities, Academic Partnerships develops New Student Orientations that aim to teach students how to use the LMS, particularly for those who are first-time online students. “The New Student Orientation is a great benefit for all online programs as it provides students with a solid foundation,” says Lee. “It helps students adjust to the online environment.” Lee shares more with us on how the New Student Orientation impacts the students and faculty at her partner universities:
How do students benefit from the New Student Orientation? Because the orientation is delivered in the format of a course through the university’s LMS, the student becomes familiar with the LMS, including how to submit assignments, communicate with peers and instructors, use collaboration tools (like blogs and discussion boards), and access grades. Students even get opportunities during the orientation to practice completing these activities! The orientation also provides program-specific information including student responsibilities, the academic calendar, and university policies so students are aware of online learning expectations prior to starting their first course. Ultimately, the Student Orientation helps build a foundation of presence so that students feel supported in their educational experience.
How do faculty benefit from the New Student Orientation? For faculty, the orientation is a time-saving tool because it answers the “how-to” questions related to the LMS, allowing faculty to focus more on students’ learning of the course content. Faculty are also able to personalize the orientation for their specific program to include any information about the program or university that will help set up students for success in the course.
How are students made aware of the New Student Orientation? Academic Partnerships recommends that students are provided with access prior to the course start and highly encourage faculty to promote the orientation among students. However, the university determines when students receive access to the orientation. For some universities, access and instructions for the orientation are provided when students receive their admittance letter. Other universities provide access when students have fully registered for their first course. Interested in previewing the New Student Orientation? Log in here using the following username and password (you’ll also find a sample of the Faculty Orientation):
- Username: AP_Guest
- Password: AP_Guest
|Share Your Experience: What specific methods do you use to prepare students for your online course and promote students’ overall success? We want to hear about it! Please share with us in the comments section below.|