With a goal to re-purpose technology that already existed in the university, I set out to build an orientation community reminiscent of a social network, through the Desire2Learn (D2L) learning management system. This approach helped to both familiarize new students with the D2L system in an informal, social manner while still providing useful information and takeaways related to orientation. Participants attended a physical orientation on campus and any materials that were presented, were supplied electronically on the D2L site. These included PowerPoint presentations, contact information for speakers and campus maps. Students were enrolled in program specific sites, so as to create a unique grouping for each program in the university. Discussion areas were also put in place for the students to collaborate through their experience as new graduate students.
Student feedback was collected after the orientation and they shared an overwhelming amount of positive praise for the D2L site. Many said they felt more connected to their new graduate programs and fellow classmates because of them. They also appreciated the direct-connect to faculty in their programs.