Craig Mourton, Deputy Campus Executive, Metropolitan Campus, Fairleigh Dickinson University, shares his experience with Launch Online Orientation software.
Tell us about your experience using Comevo’s Launch orientation software?
FDU had to pivot in the spring to a virtual orientation experience due to COVID-19. The Comevo team was amazing in working through the details of the contract and onboarding process and we were able to build an online orientation in about six weeks. The software was very intuitive to learn and the support from Comevo was very helpful as well. It took a little bit of time to figure out the skip logic settings, but the Comevo support staff talked me through it. I really appreciate the ability to make working copies of the modules and the ease of editing. We have since created additional Fall at Fairleigh modules that are for all students that provides in one location all of the information regarding campus resources, which is of huge help to the students as our semester has gone almost completely online.
How has Comevo’s online orientation helped your students? Can you share any feedback you’ve received from students?
It has allowed us to free up the virtual orientation sessions of a lot of “talking heads”. By providing all of the information in the online orientation modules, we could focus more on community building and the fun stuff with our students during our virtual orientation sessions. The students have been very appreciative of the amount of information we have been able to provide and they especially appreciate that they don’t have to hunt all over the website for the information. The checklists we provided in the modules were especially helpful to the new students. Overall we have been very pleased with the evaluations of both the students and parents modules. The last question we ask on the evaluation is if the online module reaffirmed that they made the right decision to attend FDU and this question has been trending very high in responses.
Can you give some examples of how your online orientation has helped you save money? Staff Time? Other indirect costs?
The online orientation definitely saved us substantial amounts of funds spent on food and other expenses of running an in person overnight orientation program. We were also able to run our New Student Orientation program this summer with fewer student orientation staff. Staff time was saved as we could more easily direct students and their families to the appropriate resources.
What are some of the advantages you’ve noticed to online vs. in-person orientation?
We don’t have to worry as much if students are paying attention and grasping the information with an online orientation. The end of the assessment quiz gave us good info on the retention of information, and we have been able to incorporate the online modules into our College 101 course so that the faculty can refer students back to the modules. The ability to hyperlink documents and websites on the Comevo modules has particularly been beneficial to the students, parents and families as they work through the various processes to complete.
Do you have advice for those considering using online orientations for the first time?
I think it is crucial for all universities to have an online orientation, even beyond the COVID-19 crisis. The amount of information you are able to give to students in an organized and focused manner is so much better than just having them come to a two day overnight session. While we do hope to eventually return to an in-person experience, we will continue our online modules to better prepare our students for their in-person orientation experience.
Do you have advice for those who are using or producing online orientations for the first time?
Start building your modules much earlier if you can! It was very doable to build the site in six weeks, but it took a lot of coordination and pretty much 90% of my focus. Try not to put too much info on one page, be succinct and use hyperlinks and document uploads. Order your pages with a nice balance of business and fun stuff…don’t leave all of the student activity and athletic pages for the end. Utilize the skip logic/path forks so the students have a more interactive experience going through the modules
How is your online orientation helping with Covid-19-related measures and accommodations?
We continue to encourage our students to refer back to the new student orientation modules now that courses have begun and we are going to be in a virtual environment for the semester.