The online side of orientation

STUDENT SUCCESS: Dal offers new online orientation modules

- September 9, 2016

Taking Dal's online orientation for a spin. (Natalie Mike photo)
Taking Dal's online orientation for a spin. (Natalie Mike photo)

For new students at Dalhousie, there is so much to see, learn, know and do while making their transition to university.

This year, Dalhousie is offering new students an online orientation course in addition to traditional in-person orientation offerings. A partnership between Student Affairs, the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU) and the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Harassment Prevention, the online orientation modules help serve students’ needs and their success in their first year — and beyond — at Dalhousie.

Five online modules

The five free online modules are designed for new undergraduate students, each on a different topic area: academic readiness, community & citizenship, consent & sexualized violence, alcohol safety, and health & wellness. Each includes informational text, short videos, image, and situational quiz questions to educate students on key issues, let them know about resources and supports available, and help them to make informed choices and decisions.

“We want students to start thinking about these topics and their transition before they come to campus, and we want them to have the tools they need to be successful when they get here,” says Anne Forrestall, senior assistant vice-provost, student affairs. “Each also addresses a priority area for us as an institution.”

Housed on Dal’s online learning management system, Brightspace, the course also helps students become familiar with the learning management system they’ll be using for their academic classes.  

Students who completed the modules earlier in the summer had the chance to win one of four orientation week passes. Additional prizes include one of two $250 tuition bursaries and various prizes from the Dal Bookstore.  

While students have to complete the modules by September 14 for the chance to win the remaining prizes, the course is available to students throughout their entire first year. Students who complete all five modules receive their first Co-Curricular Record accreditation.

Supporting new students

Forrestall says she’s pleased with participation in the course thus far: since it was launched on July 29, over 1,300 modules have been completed. Having these modules released throughout the summer and remaining online through the year allows students to access this information at their own time and pace. They can review the material before they arrive on campus — perhaps as an opportunity to start a conversation with their families or supporters — or delve into it once they have arrived and are getting accustomed to all things Dalhousie.

The course is part of Dal’s overall effort to equip students with the experiences, tools and knowledge to succeed at Dal — including pre-arrival webinars from the International Centre, sessions on time management at Summer Orientation, in-person events through DSU O-Week and more.

The final module of the online orientation course, on health & wellness, is being released to new students on Friday, September 9 and can be accessed by logging into Brightspace.


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