Onboard! Moving from Orienting to Us to Onboarding for You

Live blogging another USDLA 2012 session.

Onboard! Moving from Orienting to Us to Onboarding for You

Presenters: Susan Bartel and Tina Ehrhardt from Stephens College

Susan works with the graduate business programs.

Components of Orientation Modules

Things that can be included in the orientation module:

  • how to navigate Blackboard/LMS
  • can cause high stress to students who are new to technology
  • academic dishonesty
  • do you have the technology needed?
  • policies
  • how to use the IM, how to post on the discussion, how to use VoiceThread (etc)
  • practice
  • a discussion board place for any type of question

Who Owns Online Orientation?

Discussion of who owns the orientation – academic? student success? technology people?


Definitions of orientation from the audience: exposure, acclimation, getting started
Definitions of onboarding: getting buy-in, similar to orientation, making employees part of the team

“the process of helping new students adjust to social and performance aspects in their academic journey quickly and smoothly” “organizational socialization” – source: Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time

Building Blocks for Onboarding

  • Compliance (like grading scheme and things like that)
  • Clarification (role clarification, etc.)
  • Culture (no extra credit etc.)

Benefits: Students feel welcome and know what their responsibilities are.

Outcomes (Bauer 2010): self efficacy, role clarity, social integration, culture knowledge = successful onboarding. (with a little hunting, I think this might be the document referenced)

They include a test on the APA format. Thinking of the School of Ed online programs that could use this idea.

Students liked the orientation as self-paced.

They also included: How to write with academic integrity (what a great idea!)


This gives good food for thought as I consider the online degree programs we have at Andrews University and Griggs University – with varying degrees of how they currently orient students to their online programs.

It’s something we definitely need to work on – and this gives us some good resources and references to get started.

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