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Strategies for Hybrid Events and Orientations

Lauren Cunningham |Jan 18, 2022

Virtual college tours have been around for some time now, offering prospective students and their families a way to experience what a campus has to offer from anywhere.

In fact, technology in education is nothing new.

Higher ed has long found ways to leverage technology, such as by implementing AI-driven infrastructure for grading and proctoring, student information systems like Blackboard, admissions and student aid offices, disability services, and more.

But the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the need for universities to offer remote online and hybrid experiences, be that for teaching and attending classes, orientations, meetings and appointments, or other remote capabilities necessary to address public health and safety guidelines.

An experience like hybrid events and orientations quickly went from being a nice alternative to in-person tours to a necessity.

While many aspects of post-COVID society may go back to “normal” over time, with colleges returning to some level of in-person learning, the technological advances these institutions made are here to stay.

Here’s a closer look at how virtual college tours can benefit your university.

Table of Contents:

1. Hybrid Gives the Best of Both Worlds

2. Digital Access for Later

3. Virtual College Tours Prepare You for Anything

Hybrid Gives the Best of Both Worlds

It’s hard to argue with the fact that a college campus offers a unique and critical space for learning, socializing, cutting edge research, and community resources. To call your campus a place for minds to gather and innovate doesn’t quite capture the meaning educators, administrators, and students can create when coming together.

Yet the past few years have also shown us that not every event needs to be held in person.

This is as true for orientations as it is for an office staff meeting. In fact, many businesses found that a remote or hybrid approach to their offices could be successful in meeting their company goals and the needs of their workers.

Similarly, most students prefer at least some online courses.

This goes to show that students and their families are ready for a new era of digital options offered by universities during the recruitment process. Not only that, they expect it.

For colleges who want to offer a rich campus life in a digital world, it’s about navigating the best of both worlds.

A hybrid approach to college orientations allows universities to pre-record certain events to offer digitally. That way, critical resources can be redirected to live events without sacrificing quality. A hybrid approach helps your college achieve a well balanced orientation season in this time of uncertainty.

Check out StudentBridge’s podcast on the state of enrollment marketing in higher ed.

Digital Access for Later

Think about the first time you stepped on the campus of your alma mater. Chances are, you grew quickly overwhelmed by the information thrown at you a mile a minute from a hundred different directions.

For a new student, mapping your route from the dorm to the biology building may have seemed daunting—let alone managing your class schedule and homework deadlines, buying books, signing up for student aid and dining services, learning about all the different university amenities, and somehow making time to attend a basketball game or two.

For a student’s family, knowing their son or daughter will be taken care of and get the best possible education is paramount.

Orientation offers a ton of information all at once, and with all the wide eyes and spinning heads, it’s easy to miss an important detail here or there.

A hybrid approach to virtual college tours and other orientation events lets you store this important information for later access.

Those important details students received at orientation may get lost or misplaced among the stack of documents they’re carrying around. With pre-recorded videos of events stored digitally, you can offer students and their families asynchronous access even after orientation has ended.

For years, educators have leveraged asynchronous technology for lectures, how-to videos, and assignment feedback. And with tools like VoiceThread and edConnnect, students can have asynchronous video discussions using their smartphones, tablets, or other devices.

In other words, educational institutions, instructors, and students have already proven the effectiveness of using video technology to store and access important information and host discussions.

Virtual college tours and hybrid orientation events ensure students and their parents never miss a detail, providing a smooth transition to a memorable first semester.

Virtual College Events Prepare You for Anything

If your college has returned to the classroom only to realize it needs to pivot back to full virtual learning, you aren’t alone.

With various strains of the COVID-19 virus seeing surges across the U.S. over the past few years, trying to balance learning with the health of students and staff can pose a tremendous challenge to educators.

Should your school need to switch to fully virtual orientations in the coming semester, it’s easier to do just that with a virtual platform in place and some events pre-recorded ahead of time.

Even when schools hold in-person classes, a spike in COVID cases may present the need for quarantine protocols. Remote access to orientation and campus tours also allows those with certain disabilities a more accessible alternative to in-person attendance.

Virtual events allow students who can’t attend live the ability to access this information on their own time, from anywhere.

StudentBridge offers solutions for colleges to better engage their students. For instance, our Virtual Events Solutions tool allows you to replace and extend in-person campus events with immersive virtual experiences. This helps you drive attendance and prepare for every eventuality.

The interactive solutions offered by StudentBridge help make your campus more accessible to everyone from prospective students to commits in today’s virtual world.

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At StudentBridge, we have over 20 years of digital storytelling expertise that we have extended into creating award-winning, virtual experiences for educational institutions. Our solutions are powered by a robust, technology platform supporting personalization, content management, analytics, security and compliance and systems integration. Connect with StudentBridge today and see how we can help.

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