In preparation for their second student intake for 2021, the UNSW Online team directed their focus onto enhancing a specific aspect of the student experience. Orientation activities play a key role in assisting fully online students to make a successful transition to their studies and their ongoing success. Director of UNSW Online, Ms Liz Smith said “As UNSW Online expands, a gap in student orientation was identified – our students are provided with lots of information, but less opportunity to connect with the university, their teachers and fellow students”. To address this issue in Hexamester 2 2021, UNSW Online trialled an O-Week Webinar for commencing students called ‘Making Connections’.
The webinar was developed to enable new students to connect with members of faculty, network with their peers and to learn about the variety of services and resources available at UNSW.
Hosted by UNSW Online Director, Liz Smith and Project Manager, Gary Goldie, the webinar utilised a combination of presentation, Kahoot quiz and breakout discussion rooms, introduced students to a range of relevant resources and emphasised study skills that would prepare them for success in accelerated online study.
A feature of the event was the opportunity to connect with peers in breakout rooms hosted by each Program Director from our 5 offerings across Analytics, Cyber Security, Data Science, Fin Tech and Management. These proved the most popular aspect of the Webinar and will be strengthened in further iterations.
“We know that orientation plays a key role in student retention, engagement and even academic progress and provides the foundation for a positive student experience. The interest received for our first ‘Making Connections’ Webinar was encouraging and demonstrated that our students value networking opportunities during O-Week. In a fully online environment, it’s especially important that we help students to make and maintain these important connections, and we will be working on refining the program based on student feedback in future Hexamesters,” said Ms Smith.
A poll of students at the conclusion of the event indicated that 91% of students felt very or totally confident about beginning their studies, a 30% increase compared to the beginning of the session.
UNSW Online is passionate about providing a world-class, high-quality online experience for our students, and consolidates the institutional efforts in enhancing and expanding our fully online offerings.
If you are interested in developing a fully online postgraduate program for your school or faculty, please get in touch at email@example.com.