Berkeley Today Stories
Students learn to navigate college community over an interactive platform.
Online Orientation Prepares Students for Success in the Virtual Classroom
For Berkeley College student Lois Lezuabah, the transition from on-site to online learning went smoothly. Ms. Lezuabah, an Honors student, credits online orientation for paving the way to a successful distance learning experience.
“When you enter the online world you can no longer walk down the hall to an office when you need help,” said Ms. Lezuabah, who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management. “The support is still there, but now you have to know where to go to access it. Online orientation guides you through that process.”
Berkeley College Online® students are automatically enrolled in the orientation session that pertains to them, and details are posted on their Blackboard® home page before their course begins. Students have six weeks to complete the self-paced mandatory orientation, which provides them with the same information communicated to on-site students. And, just like on-site peers, distance learners are encouraged to get involved in the online clubs and organizations, or to participate in on-site activities if they live near a college location.
“Orientation is especially critical for online students – it sets the tone for the online learning environment, and teaches students what they need to know to be successful,” said Jennifer Litvak, Berkeley College Assistant Dean, Student Development and Campus Life, Online.
Students navigate through various departments and connect in real time
The orientation platform is a multimedia presentation with interactive videos and engaging content. Students are taken on a journey meant to simulate a flight that allows them to “land” in various destinations. Some of these destinations are Academic Advisement (the main city hub), Career Services, the Academic Support Center (ASC), Student Development and Campus Life, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and the Library. All stops are tracked on a map. At the end of the journey, students are ready to start their college experience and graduation is in sight.
The platform also includes advice on how to succeed from current distance learners as well as from online professors. “One of the things I loved about orientation was that we had access to actual online students who offered real-time advice,” Ms. Lezuabah said.