Increasing Flexibility, Equity, and Accessibility for Students and Families with Online Orientations
The impressions made on students and families during new-student orientations help set the foundation for their academic journey. Traditionally, University of Florida (UF) has held orientation in person to allow students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their new campus and peers. But with some students unable to attend in person and many classes moving online, UF sought ways to leverage existing technologies—such as the learning management system and web conferencing—to provide flexible options to reach a diverse student body. Expedited by COVID-19, UF instructional designers and New Student and Family programs staff began collaborating to create online solutions for students’ first experience: new-student orientation. In just four weeks, instructional designers designed and created 65 online orientation courses for more than 9,000 students and families. During this session, presenters will share ways the restructured orientation has benefited students and their families, most notably through increases in affordability and accessibility. Presenters will outline the process of developing the synchronous and asynchronous orientations through cross-unit collaboration, illustrate the steps taken to ensure accessibility using Universal Design for Learning principles, and showcase the online orientation course. Participants will receive templates and resources that went into designing and creating the new-student orientation in a virtual setting.