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

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April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Starting Strong: A Personalized, Adaptive Approach to Online Orientation

Lisa Haas (Colorado Technical University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 11:45am
Student Services and Learner Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Americas Seminar
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 1

This presentation shares how a personalized approach to student orientation led to student success by combining adaptive learning, social media, curriculum, and personalized outreach.

Extended Abstract

A strong foundation is important for students to start online classes successfully. For many students, orientation provides that foundation and is the bridge between admissions and academics.

Traditionally, it has been more difficult to provide a personalized orientation experience in an online platform due to technology and institutional factors. The online campus of CTU has taken an innovative approach to orientation by incorporating intellipathTM adaptive learning technology, social media, , and personalized outreach to engage students prior to starting classes. The purpose of this presentation is to show how a multifaceted, personalized approach to orientation has helped engage students leading to higher persistence rates and additional information for the academic advisor.

The University serves primarily non-traditional students at the online campus and knew from past student feedback, students were not engaging in orientation. The University also analyzed data from the online platform to see what materials students were clicking on, how long they were in the orientation class, what work they submitted in orientation, and their success in their first class. Students were not finding the videos and activities engaging nor worth their time. As a result, the University decided to overhaul the orientation experience.

The following components were critical to the success of the new orientation experience:

1. Intellipath, an adaptive learning technology which would allow students receive a personalized orientation curriculum
2. A curriculum designed to motivate students and set them up for academic success
3. A strong branding campaign to showcase the importance of orientation
4. Social media integration to build a social network of peers
5. Conversations from the Admissions team regarding the importance of orientation
6. Orientation facilitation by the student's academic advisor, which would result in stronger relationships
7. Data to drive institutional actions

It has taken about a year for CTU to implement all components. Throughout the year, different components were tested amongst groups of students to see what items led to engagement and student success. Now all components are integrated for new and returning students.

Current results show that students who engage within the intellipathTM system are more likely to start their classes and are more likely to persist throughout their first academic year than those who do not engage in activities. The data from the adaptive technology also provides the academic advisor with insights about the student such as motivation, strengths, and areas of concern so they can provide the right interventions for students.

The presentation will engage the audience by reviewing the critical components of CTU's orientation and showing the results of the success of orientation. CTU has developed an orientation experience that is designed to shape the future of online learning.

Lead Presenter

Lisa Haas is a creative, passionate, and innovative higher education leader with over 10 years of experience in e-Learning. She embraces newer technologies such as adaptive learning to create innovative learning experiences. She develops and implements strategic initiatives based on data and intuition to achieve university objectives and outcomes. One of her strengths is the ability to connect individual pieces to the holistic picture.

Lisa Haas is the Director of Learning Solutions at Colorado Technical University. She is using technology to transform co-curricular and extra-curricular academic support for students at the campuses and online. In addition, Haas teaches classes at CTU and primarily works with non-traditional students. In the past, she has led teams in Academic Advising, Student Success, Academic Services, and Admissions.

Haas is adept in building and maintaining relationships with students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders. She is skilled at leading cohesive, multi-departmental teams across higher education institutions to support student engagement, learning, and persistence.

Connect with her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisamhaas