The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Orientation goes virtual for new college students

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Linda Puga

Along with every scheduled program and event originally occurring on campus, the five TCC campuses’ New Student Orientations for first-time college students were moved virtually and began in mid-August. 

Kathryn Beard, a TR Campus peer leader for New Student Orientation, joined the team last fall and has experienced both face-to-face and online orientations. The switch that came with the fall semester left her feeling anxious about what to expect with the new format. 

After the first round of orientations were over, Beard felt surprised at the ease the orientations had. She enjoyed still getting to meet students, even in a virtual format, and offer them a welcome to the college. 

“I’m excited to at least have a window and some access to still do what I feel like is one of my strong points which is to help people, support people and be that lighthouse with the experience that I’ve gained to make it a little bit easier on somebody else,” Beard said. 

Something she admires about virtual orientation is the students going through the modules of their introductory course at their own pace and time.

Cara Walker, NE student activities coordinator, considered the first month of orientations a success and loved the amount of interaction the online transition offered. 

“The coordinators of student activities planned out the content of what students would need in their online orientations based on adaptations of the traditional on-campus experience, specific learning outcomes and essential information for online learning,” Walker said. “We then built the NSOs on Blackboard, and each campus held live sessions.”

Walker said the change allowed them to see orientations in a new light and shift their perspective. She said she thinks some elements of orientation could continue online for future sessions and wants to look into ways of communicating even more with her students. 

Even though students did not have a chance to physically meet the NSO team or their home campus, Beard said she thinks the one-hour virtual session gave students a better introduction to their campus in comparison to the four-hour orientation they would have had in person. 

South student Fatima Albarran enjoyed the interactions between peer leaders and students.  

Albarran said she preferred the orientation to be online due to safety. However, if students can return to campus in the spring, she thinks returning to a face-to-face orientation would be better for students in the long run to meet leaders and connect with others. 

“They are better able to see everything available to them, know where everything is, and it would eliminate the issues that come with the technology side of it,” Albarran said.

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