The 5 Ps For Online Student Success: Orientation & Onboarding Programs That Engage & Retain

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

How can institutions prepare students for success in online learning and then extend that support beyond their first semester? Learn how two institutions are using orientation and student success videos to bridge skill gaps and foster success. Presenters will share five tips for developing A+ orientation content.



Meg Foster is an Instructor of first-year experience courses (SDV 100) and an Academic Coach at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Prior to her work at Piedmont, Meg served at Reynolds Community College as the Coordinator for Online Student Success and the Counselor for First Year Initiatives. Her work involved developing support programs for online learners, designing and coordinating orientation programming, building a student leadership program, and serving as an academic adviser. Her areas of research include enrollment management, college preparation, online learning, and retention, and she has presented at numerous national conferences on issues in higher education, student orientation, and college success. Meg previously served as an Assistant Dean of Admissions at Salem College and Virginia Wesleyan University. She has a M.A. in College Student Personnel Administration from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia.

Extended Abstract

As we've witnessed over the last 18 months,  many students are not fully prepared for the online learning experience. Oftentimes, they are lacking skills in time management and independent learning which are critical for success in a remote learning environment. How can institutions build upon this knowledge to prepare students for online learning while addressing gaps in skill?  In this session our presenters will discuss how they have collaborated with teams at their institutions to create engaging online orientation content.  Presenters will use the framework of the 5 Ps of Student Success (Prepare For College Success, Plan For Remote Learning, Promote Engagement, Provide Support, and Persist, Persist, Persist) to explain their approach to implementing online orientation and subsequent programming to help students develop skills in areas like time management.  Presenters will share assessment resources and student learning outcomes.

This presentation will be a modified panel with presenters infusing audience engagement throughout the presentation.  The presenters will begin with a poll to have the audience share their institutional and student needs/challenges. Through small group discussion (be it online or in person), audience members will also get to discuss a learning strategy that they would like to implement to support and prepare online learners.

Through participating in this session, attendees will leave with a plan for implementing online orientation and support resources that they can adapt to their own institutions.  Presenters will focus on the critical importance of engagement in orientation platforms and will share strategies for creating connections between students, faculty and staff. Participants will also learn methodologies for assessing student learning and student retention of content.