From Onboarding to Ongoing: Reimagining “Orientation” for Online Students

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

For Fall 2018, The University of Arizona is reimagining its orientation for fully online students to move from an upfront "onboarding" framework to a continual education space providing just-in-time information to all students. The presentation will provide a brief timeline of the project, as well as discuss how the "orientation space" is transforming to a longer-term student resource.


Joshua Steele is the Senior Director of University of Arizona Online, partnering with centralized student services to ensure that students who attend 100% online have the necessary resources and guidance to be successful.

Extended Abstract

When University of Arizona launched its fully online programs in Fall 2015, one of its first projects was creating an orientation resource for new students to become acclimated to the Learning Management System, understand university policies, and provide early connection to the institution. After multiple revamps and listening to student feedback, the decision was made to transform “orientation” from primarily an onboarding tool to a resource that can provide lasting impact to students. This session will walk through the history of the University of Arizona Online orientation “Launch Pad,” student feedback, the resulting strategy shift, and the new product launched for new students as of Summer 2018.

Attendees will have the opportunity to “test drive” the new space, highlighting design thinking principles that were incorporated in creating a new space for students. Additionally the session will review how the new space will be used to improve institutional communication with students, how content will be adjusted to meet the needs of a more diverse student base, and future plans as we continue to evolve student support for fully online learners.