Interactive Video Used For Student Orientation At Community College
California's DeAnza College has set another milestone in a history of innovation that's led to its recognition as one of the nation's leading community colleges. This time it's an interactive video-based information-delivery system--one that's streamlining the annual process of orienting more than 7,000 entering students to the school's campus, curriculum, policies and procedures.
According to Marky Olsen, associate dean of the college's counseling division, the electronic student-orientation program answers a challenge that's long confronted DeAnza as well as hundreds of other colleges.
"We've wrestled with the problem for years," Olsen says, "searching for a cost-effective orientation process that's convenient for both day and evening students, minimizes the use of counseling staff for disseminating relatively standard information, and offers a method of evaluating and recording student participation."
She notes that reaching that objective--shared by all 105 community colleges in the state--became even more urgent with the enactment in September 1986 of California State Assembly Bill 3, titled "Matriculation in California Community Colleges."
It mandated a new matriculation process to help ensure student success and asked colleges to respond with a plan. Following acceptance by the board of governors for California community colleges, each school would then have three years to implement the plan or lose state funding.
"Fortunately," Olsen says, "the relevant technology and the cost of that technology were both moving in the right direction at the right time. And we've always been willing to experiment, to accept some risk, when the potential rewards justify it."
The Development Effort
New DeAnza students--full-time, part-time and evening--now have convenient, timely access to a complete, 30-minute orientation program via interactive video terminals in the school's administration building. Incorporating immediate testing and remediation functions, the self-paced program better prepares students for any subsequent one-on-one counseling sessions.
"Our half-hour program, which is essentially individualized by each student to meet specific learning speeds and areas of interest, is proving to be most effective," says Olsen. "The college can maintain an accurate record of the matriculation process. And our 19-member counseling staff can concentrate less on imparting general information and more on assisting students in specific areas related to career planning and personal growth."
As the first step toward developing this computer-based training (CBT) program, DeAnza formed a team that, in addition to members of its counseling staff, included CEIT Systems, a CBT software and courseware development service company based in San Jose, Calif., and Steve Larson, a long-time CEIT associate and expert in interactive video and instructional design. …