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Advantage Design Group
Advantage Design Group
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Online Orientation Boosts Student Engagement and Completion

How more student engagement leads to an increase in completion and satisfaction rates

In her role as Assistant Director of Student Engagement, First-Year Experience, Lorrie Frederick is focused on increasing online orientation completion rates at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).

Over the years, she has made great efforts to achieve this through familiar industry strategies – in-person and remote orientation meetings, first-year classroom seminars in various formats, and most recently, an asynchronous online orientation developed in-house using free software, followed by on-campus or virtual sessions.

While each modality has its merits, none could fully address the realities of quickly changing student preferences and lifestyles. Also, the shortcomings of a do-it-yourself orientation technology resulted in an uninspiring presentation that did not provide enough controls or data to get a complete picture of its effectiveness. In this webinar, Lorrie explained how and why she chose one technology that combines time-tested features students respond to with the insights and flexibility administrators need to measure student engagement, satisfaction, and completion.

Keys to Keeping Students Interested

After exploring other solutions, Lorrie ultimately chose Advantage Orientation® by Advantage Design Group®. This virtual onboarding experience is one of several digital experiences the company provides to empower the journey to college, including Advantage RecruitingTM enrollment marketing solution and Advantage OnDemandTM, the company’s budget-friendly orientation video subscription service.

We originally considered a basic [platform package], and then we started seeing more and more options. The nice thing is that you can build; you don't have to do it all at once. You can pick a package that seems to work best for you and your budget, and then you can build on that.

She also praised the platform's flexibility, which provided her with options during the purchasing process and will allow her to make ongoing changes as future needs dictate.

CCBC’s Advantage Orientation® package includes a custom-designed interface, comprehensive video production services, and content development. Uniquely, the platform creatively blends videos, graphics, quizzes, and dynamic style options with practical information and discovery tools to stimulate student engagement. Rather than endless blocks of text, Advantage Orientation® enables colleges to break up information and showcase their students in welcoming and reassuring videos throughout the experience.

“[During] our in-person orientation sessions, we have found that our peer leaders, … our FYE mentors, are the stars,” Lorrie said. “The students want to hear from students, so … we were particularly excited for the online orientation and its videos, because we were able to duplicate, as much as we could, that personal feel, that personal connection for students through the videos.” 

The orientation platform, which meets ADA accessibility requirements, allows students to progress at their own pace and access on any device, providing the kind of empowerment and convenience that encourages completion. In addition, Lorrie requested that CCBC’s orientation include a Spanish-translated version and personalized content for first-year students, online students, early college access students, and veterans/military-affiliated students. These features, combined with handy tools such as a final-steps checklist, interactive FAQ, and links to more information, are thoughtfully combined to meet students where they are and offer a one-stop resource they can refer to throughout their college career.

The Value of Reliable Data

With the previously developed in-house orientation, data accuracy was not assured. Its self-reporting feature couldn’t fully capture whether students were truly engaged with all the material. Furthermore, with no evaluations or locking mechanisms to ensure students were learning and appropriately progressing through the modules, students could report that they completed the orientation when, in fact, they may have skipped or not absorbed major portions of it. Survey results, Lorrie said, were exported to a spreadsheet that was difficult to decipher.

Advantage Orientation’s analytic tools generate real-time data that can be filtered by timeline and student group, from aggregate and individual views. Because it tracks every click and uses all the controls Lorrie’s previous system lacked, she can more readily discern where students are engaging, how well they understand the material, how long it takes them to progress through the orientation, and much more. At the end, students participate in a survey that presents clear feedback to help guide administrators with future decisions regarding the orientation content and process.

“Producing reports in the orientation was a feature that actually really excited me because it looked pretty easy to do,” Lorrie said, “and it was really important to us. I can track student progress and look at each student's completion status.”

She added: “The report I use most frequently is the orientation summary. In this report, I'm able to filter responses by start date and end date, which is particularly important for our orientation completion reports because I can filter by course registration date and see which students completed the orientation from one registration period to the next.”

Results that Speak for Themselves

Observing the data since CCBC launched Advantage Orientation® in the fall of 2023, Lorrie shared these results.

Advantage Orientation Outcomes

  • Online orientation completion increased more than 89 percent when compared to the previous delivery tool a year before.
  • Since launch, 72.9 percent of students who have taken the online orientation have completed it.
  • 85 percent of students have reported feeling better equipped to start classes.
  • 97 percent of students rated the experience as convenient.
  • 98 percent of students reported feeling knowledgeable and need no additional support (on-campus or virtual follow-up sessions are still provided as an opportunity to foster personal connections).

Delivering online orientation in a completely responsive and accessible digital environment has removed technological barriers. Lorrie said completion numbers support a potential decision to make online orientation mandatory in the future.

Learn More & Request a Tour

Don’t let limited technology restrict your ability to engage students or capture valuable insights about their onboarding experience. 

  • Request access to the full webinar recording.
  • Use the form to request and schedule a personalized tour for you and your team.