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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

First Year Experience Strategies: An Online Student Orientation That Closes the Gaps

Susan Thomason (Austin Community College, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 1:45pm
Student Services and Learner Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 1

Key instructional design elements of an online student orientation garners positive retention over time

Extended Abstract

"OMG, this orientation sucks!" Online orientations have traditionally been plagued by videos of talking heads, excessive text, poorly designed websites, and a lack of contextual purpose.
This workshop helps participants address those challenges and avoid the pitfalls of online student orientations by using sound and research-based instructional design practices. Austin
Community College (ACC) will showcase an online orientation they developed that has shown some significant retention results over a 5-year period. Participants will experience the orientation as new
ACC students do and see first-hand the design, technology, and tracking features. They will be able to discuss the challenges and benefits of the process and outline their own plan-of-action to
develop a new or improve an existing online orientation that is motivating, competency-based, and helps students succeed.

Lead Presenter

Dr. Susan Thomason is the Director of Instructional Development at Austin Community College (ACC).  Her department provides expertise and support in teaching and learning through instructional design, curriculum development, and instructional media production for academic and student service needs. She has been a member of ACC's Student Success Initiative Steering Committee and formed part of the Achieving the Dream Project Teams.  She has participated in CCCSE Entering Student Success Institutes and has been recognized for her work in developing pathways through process mapping and the integration of technology solutions - in particular, the design and development of one of the most successful online orientations in the country.  Dr. Thomason has also worked with the Alamo Colleges to develop process
maps for district-wide student success initiatives and is currently the Project Manager for the statewide THECB Integrated Reading and Writing Professional Development Grant.  

Dr. Susan Thomason holds a B.A. in International Studies from Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia, an M.S. in Instructional Technology / Career and Human Resource Development, from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and a PH.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin.