If you’ve enrolled in online college courses for the upcoming semester, chances are you’ve got orientations on your schedule. Just like for on-campus school, eSchools offer orientation to make sure that new students have all the information they need to get the most out of their learning experiences. If you’re a tech-savvy student, you may be wondering what the point of orientation is – after all, most online learning platforms are pretty self-explanatory, aren’t they?
Of course, what the orientation will consist of is going to vary from school to school, but in general, this is what you can expect to learn and the things that make it worth attending.
What it Is
Your online orientation will likely be an interactive experience that includes a slideshow, an instant message chat room where you can ask questions to be answered by a designated online host, and possibly a video recording or live stream of a presenter from the school/department doing the speaking. It will last one to two hours.
Meet the Faculty
If you’re a freshman undergrad student, you can expect to get an introduction from all the people who will make your life easier: department heads, academic advisors, the head of student life, the technical team, et cetera. These are the various people you’ll need to reach out to during your career. If you’re a grad student or entering a specific concentration, you’ll meet all the faculty members within your discipline. It’s good to take notes during this section so you can set up a contact sheet and easily know who to e-mail about different questions.
Your Courses: Learn the Basics
Whether you’re an undeclared freshman or starting an online premed program, you and your classmates are going to need to take a few core classes and seminars before getting into the nitty-gritty of your program. In your orientation, the presentation will cover the intro courses you will need to take and any other essential courses. You may possibly meet your potential professors of those courses, learn prerequisites, and get tips on how to prepare.
If there’s anything you’re unsure of – such as where to find your course materials, who to contact about picking classes, or what on-campus events you can attend – there will be a Q&A session at the end where you can type questions into the chat box and either get a message response or have the speaker read and respond to them.
After the orientation ends, you may be directed to your online college platform and given a few simple assignments, such as introducing yourself on the message board, so that you get the hang of how to complete your assignments. These usually are not graded but have a due date that falls before the beginning of class.