Orientation Online The Surprising Benefits of Virtual New Faculty Orientation

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Kristin Herman
Patricia Davidson


This design case documents the reimagination of new faculty orientation for a mid-sized public university due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. This fully virtual iteration was facilitated during the summer of 2020 and is compared both to previous in-person iterations of new faculty orientation as well as a blended modality version of the orientation program offered in 2021. The redesign is explained using language from Puntedura’s (2006) Substitution- Augmentation- Modification- Redefinition (SAMR) model of technology application in distributed learning. Such terminology provided a helpful common vocabulary for a design team pressured to determine which elements of orientation needed to be fully reimagined for successful virtual implementation and where simple substitution would suffice. A description of synchronous elements from the fully virtual orientation as well as artifacts from the asynchronous portions is included. A lack of formal evaluation for the reimagined new faculty orientation space is shared as an element of design failure. The informal evaluation uncovered attendee appreciation of both flexibility and recursiveness, feedback our design team used to combat criticism of a lack of attention during virtual events. The paper concludes with a reflection on the need for transparent communication between event attendees, event designers, and other key invested partners (such as university administration) if the benefits of virtual orientation programming are to be adopted for our institution beyond emergency modalities. 


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How to Cite
Herman, K., & Davidson, P. (2022). Orientation Online: The Surprising Benefits of Virtual New Faculty Orientation. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 13(2), 87–99. https://doi.org/10.14434/ijdl.v13i2.34055
Author Biographies

Kristin Herman, Old Dominion University

Kristin Herman is the Online and Digital Learning Director for Centennial School District in Warminster, PA, and a doctoral student in the Instructional Design and Technology program at Old Dominion University. She is currently working with K-12 faculty on ways to incorporate opportunities for social-emotional learning competency development in online course design. Her research interests include the ethical responsibility of the instructional design field and the design, implementation, and efficacy of diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for faculty

Patricia Davidson, West Chester University-PA

Patricia Davidson is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES) and Professor in the Nutrition Department at West Chester University-PA. Clinical positions include in and out-patient diabetes care and education. She is active in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on various task forces and serves on the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (ADCES) research and practice committee. She is Fellow of both the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ADCES. Research centers on technology enhanced diabetes prevention and management, impact of food systems and dietary patterns and pedagogical approaches for enhancing learning environments. She has extensive experience presenting and has authored/co-authored numerous manuscripts published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Journal, Nutrition and Clinical Practice, and American Informatics Association Journal.