Beginning of semester OL student communication

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Aug 4, 2010, 10:16:41 AM8/4/10
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Fall semester starts in a few short weeks and we are trying to
streamline our communication with online students. Would you mind
sharing some of your experiences, procedures, documents and/or links
that make it possible for your college to successfully reach your
online students? Plus, how much snail-mail is still necessary to get
the new OL students on the right track?

Honoria Balogh, Iowa Valley CCD


Aug 4, 2010, 4:12:38 PM8/4/10
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Honoria - it's a little dated but a document we pulled together with
some resource references is at
The piece was created by Weatherford College, located just outside of
Ft. Worth.


Aug 4, 2010, 10:22:56 PM8/4/10
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Hello Honoria,

RSCC sends out postcards to our online students with some basic
information on log-in instructions and contact information. We find
that it helps cut down the phone calls that we get on the first day of
classes. We also send out the same information to students via their
RSCC email accounts. Hope this is helpful!

Kathryn Rhodes, Roane State CC

Jean Runyon

Aug 5, 2010, 8:00:36 AM8/5/10
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Hi, Honoria!

AACC students are assigned a college email but often do not check this
account until the semester begins. What we do:

1. All students receive a mailer (letter) that includes log-in
information (and information about the orientations). These mailers
are generated automatically through our student system.

2. All students receive an email to their MyAACC account (with the
same information).

3. First-time online students receive additional emails/mailers with
information about orientations. We've developed an online orientation
for prospective students and an orientation for first-time online
students. The orientation for prospective online students is on our
The orientation for first-time online students is accessible to
students through the college portal upon registration for an online
course; it is also available within the learning management system.
We also conduct "live orientations" in Elluminate Live.

4. We have developed a regular communications plan for first-time
online students. Our institution subscribes to a student management
application (Hobsons) and our online students receive "just-in-time"
emails. For example, early in the semester they receive information
about our services (tutoring, library, etc.). Prior to mid-term, they
receive emails with test-taking tips and additional information about
tutoring, the testing center, etc. Through Hobsons, we can track the
number of students that open the emails (and those who opt out of our

5. The college publishes an informational booklet and distributes this
booklet to all incoming freshmen. Information about accessing the
courses, etc., is included in this distribution.

6. We've also created postcards (with information about "Meet the
Virtual Campus" and the readiness indicator).

7. We run "promos" on our local cable station (college channel).

8. First-time online students receive an automated phone call one
week before the start of the semester (to remind them that they have
signed up for an online course and encouraging them to log-in on day
one of the semester). On day three of the semester, online students
who have not logged in get another call.

9. We also created a "Virtual Campus Lounge" in the college portal.
The lounge includes announcements, spotlights on elearning faculty/
students, quick polls, and so on).

Feel free to contact Patty McCarthy-O'Neill, Coordinator, Distance
Education (, 410-777-2514) if you'd like more


On Aug 4, 10:16 am, Honoria <> wrote:

Barry Dahl

Aug 11, 2010, 4:34:16 PM8/11/10
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Hi Honoria,

We have struggled for several years with the question about whether to
stop sending snail mail to our new online students. We are still doing
it because we have evidence that it still more effective for informing
the students of what they should do to get started in online learning
at LSC.

We send the mailer to every student enrolled in one or more online
courses, including those who have previously enrolled. However, it is
mainly intended for new online students. We also post it online. Here
it is:

You'll see that we take the opportunity to communicate several things
to them.
1) All the contact info
2) When they can start their classes
3) How to login
4) Textbook info
5) Non-attendance policy
6) Student Code of Conduct on cheating and plagiarism
7) Campus policy on email as an official form of communication

Yes, I realize that #7 is ironic given that we are snail mailing them.
However, they usually don't know how to check their email at this
point so we find this helpful. Besides, all other communications from
us is in email form.

Cheers, Barry

Greg Marczak

Aug 13, 2010, 8:14:33 AM8/13/10
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We have currently stopped mailing. We have begun a required
orientation for all new incoming students and this year, we will be
implementing a "welcome week" where students will have the chance to
join us. Unfortunately, we are not doing this for a virtual users
yet. (Trying to add quickly using adobe connect).

We do see a lot of questions in the first week. The biggest one...
"Where do I go?"
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