The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual engagement strategies and forced orientation coordinators to explore new means of hosting their programs and activities.
Today, most new student orientations now have virtual components that allow students to engage with programming digitally and build new connections amongst peers.
The following are strategies that you can explore to drive student engagement and content delivery through virtual means.
Zoom Breakouts & Meeting Sessions
If you want to virtually host breakout sessions and meetings, Zoom breakouts are a go-to resource to host such sessions. That being said, you don’t necessarily have to use Zoom to host your sessions.
Various video meeting solutions are now available including Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and BlueJeans. These solutions all come with video conferencing tools that enable you to host interactive video calls, polls, and breakouts with your audiences.
Educational sessions are a core part of any orientation program, and hosting them virtually can simply be done now with the many great video conferencing solutions available.
Oftentimes, various departments at your institution may want to market themselves to incoming students. This may include college representatives, student org leaders, etc.
Typically, you might host an org fair to facilitate such connections; however, if you would rather do this virtually, virtual fairs have become a commonplace solution to accomplish this.
There are several virtual fair solutions each with their own unique value-adds. Usually, you can expect virtual fair solutions to offer text chat or video chat powered communication tools to serve as a medium of communication between your college reps and new students.
If you would like to learn more about the perks of virtual fairs, you can visit this article here: Why Are Virtual Career Fairs Effective?
Digitizing your programming is a common way to “virtualize” your orientation. Nowadays many orientation coordinators take advantage of tools such as orientation mobile apps and online orientation tools to distribute their programs digitally.
Orientation Mobile Apps
Orientation mobile apps typically serve as a way to turn your traditional paper programming for your orientation event into a concise mobile app for your students to download. Such an app can usually include items like schedules, interactive maps, checklists, and more.
Typically, you would provide an orientation app for a marquee orientation event like Orientation Week, Welcome Week, etc.
Online orientations are guided programs that students can complete online at their own pace to gather important information about the college experience. Typically, online orientations are organized by specific topics like academic life, student life, etc.
Online orientations can also track program mastery by providing tools like polls and quizzes to test the students’ knowledge.
Social Engagement Channels
To help students build connections amongst themselves, you can set up social engagement channels that give students a means to connect with others who may have similar interests.
There are several tools nowadays that can help facilitate this. For instance, common social media channels that are utilized include:
Some institutions may even have their own school sponsored app that offers such social engagement channels for students.
Virtual Activities & Icebreakers
Even if students aren’t physically present with one another, there are several ways that you can host icebreakers and team building activities through virtual mediums.
These can include activities like Zoom games, team-based video games, and more. For a more comprehensive overview of such activities, you can visit this article here: Ideas for Virtual Orientation Activities