With the new semester being ran in a hybrid learning format, your normal induction may need to be reviewed and modified. Many organisations will have to run their induction programmes remotely, but how can you ensure that your students gain a sense of belonging to the university via a virtual induction? We will discuss tips and ideas to help you to develop your programme to coincide with the hybrid learning approach.
What should induction cover?
Due to the ongoing situation, your induction may be less focused on making sure that your students are familiar with university buildings and the facilities available and more focused on how they will be learning and socialising with others on their course during this temporary transition. There should be space in your plans to prepare for potential local lockdowns, and you should make your students aware of what will happen if this occurs.
Helping learners feel part of a community
A transition to learning in a hybrid format can make some students feel isolated or overwhelmed, so it is vital to ensure them that they will still have the same level of support that they would on campus, and will still be learning the same materials, just sometimes in a different way. Induction programmes should bring students together and help them to form a social group for support within their course.
Inclusivity is a vital part of this process, ensure that not only your induction but also the rest of your course materials are accessible to all students. Using digital delivery within your course can offer a range of new opportunities for learning in different ways, giving you a chance to find a way that will work for everyone. Consider what devices your students will be using to access the content and ensure that all aspects of your induction materials are available on a range of different devices.
Try to include activities to encourage your learners to communicate with each other. Although these activities can sometimes be intimidating for some students, it is likely that they will find this less intimidating when carried out in an online setting.
Each one of your learners will arrive to the course with a different level of confidence. The well-being of your students is highly important and is something you should consider when planning for your induction. Your induction programme should include clear guidance for students regarding the support that is available to them and how they can access it. This support could be carried out as a group or in a one-to-one setting, depending on what you think is most appropriate. The following resource provides more guidance on digital well-being and how to support students: https://digitalcapability.jisc.ac.uk/what-is-digital-capability/digital-wellbeing/
Learners may not participate in the same way in an online lecture compared to a lecture on campus, many may prefer to sit at the sidelines and listen rather than actively participate. This does not necessarily mean that they are not engaged with the content, they may just be feeling overwhelmed with the new way of learning. Ensure them that the learning space is a safe space and provide them with information on how they can protect themselves online if they are still unsure.
Providing Learners with the Skills to Learn Online
Don’t assume that all learners will seamlessly transition to hybrid delivery. Encourage your students to adopt good practices when managing the time they are spending online. The following blog post provides some handy tips on stress management and digital well-being for online learners: https://blogs.tees.ac.uk/lteonline/2020/05/13/stress-management-online-learners/
Considering the technology your students will have access to when learning online is vital. As previously mentioned, all aspects of your course should be accessible from a range of different devices, including any assistive technologies that are being used.
These are just a few different aspects to consider when planning for your induction in this new format. More information can be found here: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/planning-induction-for-autumn-2020
If you would like any further support, please contact eLearning@tees.ac.uk