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Virtual Orientation: How is it different?

Online Pilot course | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian

New students will have a different orientation experience this upcoming semester as orientation becomes virtual.

Change in Format

Orientation will be different this fall but will still allow students to prepare themselves for their first semester.

“Our face to face orientation program is a one-day orientation experience for students coming to campus and meeting with academic advisors and support staff from around the university,” said Aaron Brautigam, lead senior orientation peer mentor.

Compared to a one-day orientation, virtual orientation now runs an entire week. This allows new students more flexibility and more time to retain the new information they are learning.

“It’s just moving instead of one day with tons of information and getting information overload halfway through the day; now you have that opportunity for anytime throughout the week,” said Joanie Hendricks, orientation coordinator at Wright State University (WSU).

Another big change for orientation this upcoming semester is the complete online format and course setup. 

 “Virtual orientation is set up as a Pilot course,” said Hendricks. “The incoming student gets that opportunity to utilize Pilot to see how that whole thing works.”

Obtaining Information

In a typical face to face orientation, new students would arrive on campus and by the end of the day, they would have everything they need from a schedule to their Wright1 Card.

Hosting orientation completely online makes scheduling classes one of the hardest tasks to accomplish. Scheduling is one of the main differences with orientation.

“The advisor for this year only is creating a schedule for the student,” said Hendricks. “We thought that it would be a little difficult to show the video and have them log out and go into Wings Express and choose their classes and make sure they were on the right track without meeting an adviser. Then the students, if they want to, are more than welcome to change their courses, but the advisor is going to require they schedule an online appointment with them [so] they are on the right track to graduation.”

Virtual orientation allows new students to obtain login information, learn about the campus, and even get a schedule. However, the only thing that new students will not be able to get is their Wright1 Card.


Instead of a typical orientation where a student is on campus all day and learns about all organizations and activities on campus, virtual orientation allows students to choose what they want to see.

“There are information modules, some that are required and then a lot of others that are optional,” said Hendricks. “Students have that opportunity to look at everything, anyone can look at every single module.”

“It is more of a take what you want situation,” said Anna VanDeWiele, senior orientation peer mentor. “Some students want more out of orientation to get more information and be more prepared for the fall.”

Face to face orientation will allow students to ask questions to numerous staff members and students and receive answers immediately. With virtual orientation, questions can still be answered, just a little differently.

“With this online experience, it’s a little bit different,” said Brautigam. “They still have a peer mentor that is guiding them throughout the week, and they will have different sessions that they can attend to answer those questions.”

“It’s really just the delivery mode that has been changed with an online orientation,” Said Brautigam.