North Island College’s Orientation Day is going virtual.

NIC is moving to a new format to reflect physical distancing and the transition to digital learning.

Orientation Day is usually held the first Tuesday after the Labour Day long weekend and is a chance for students to see where their classes are, meet their instructors and classmates, and learn about the services and supports available at NIC.

This year, it will roll out throughout the summer with virtual sessions, webinars and video tours of campus to help students prepare for the first day of class.

NIC director of student affairs, Felicity Blaiklock, said this new format has been months in the making. 

“We’ve been spending the last few months developing what we think is a really interesting, informative, and hopefully engaging series of resources for our new and also for our returning students,” she said.

Blaiklock said it’s  been a challenging year for NIC. “I think, like in all challenging situations, there are also lots of opportunities to show themselves. Within that, although we’ve had to adapt to a very challenging and quickly changing situation, we’ve done it really well and we’re proud to say at North Island College that we’re facing the fall quite confidently in terms of the quality of our programs, and that starts with a high quality orientation.”

Kathleen Kuhnert, associate vice president, student services & registrar, said the first day of college can be overwhelming at the best of times, but this year has a heightened level of uncertainty for our students.

“We wanted to make sure students were prepared well in advance so they can feel confident they have the tools and supports they need on their first day of class,” Kuhnert added.

The first step for orientation will be Learning Digitally webinars, hosted by NIC’s director of teaching & learning innovation.

The webinars will have an overview of digital learning, what technology students will need, what platforms they’ll be using and the resources available to help support them. 

The official orientation launch is Aug. 4th, when all orientation day resources and supports will be pushed live.

“We wanted to let students know when they can expect to see this information roll out and also reassure them that it will be available well before the first day of class,” said Kuhnert. “We also encourage our students to reach out if they have any questions or concerns and also to join our Student Life Facebook group as a way to connect with other students, staff and faculty in the NIC community.”

NIC’s Office of Global Engagement is also working to develop specific orientation pieces for NIC’s international students, which can be accessed both in Canada and around the world, starting Aug. 4th. 

New International Student Orientation will take place the week of Aug. 31st, so students are well prepared for their first day of classes.

“We know it’s not the same as being on campus, in person, but we are committed to providing students with as many opportunities to connect as we can, both before classes start and throughout the fall term.”

Full details of the NIC Orientation 2020 plans can be found here.