Starting university, whether as a school leaver, international or mature age student, can be daunting. Torrens University Australia’s ‘Welcome to TUA’ project, led by Selene Martinez Pacheco, Head of Learning Experience Design, aims to give students a warm virtual welcome and introduce them to the student services and support available before they’ve even set foot on one of our campuses.
We spoke to Selene to find out more about this exciting project.
Where did the idea for the virtual welcome come from?
Each time we have a new cohort of students starting at Torrens University, they inevitably have a lot of questions. We wanted to create something that addressed those questions in a creative and interactive way.
What kind of information will new students find during the tour?
Our aim is to provide students with a glimpse into their studies – what to expect from classes and assignments, the different teams available to support and guide them throughout their studies including student support, language and learning services, library, success coaches, learning portal support, Student Representative Council (SRC), and international student wellbeing to mention a few.
Who is the virtual tour and introduction for?
‘Welcome to TUA’ is aimed at all our new students, whether they are school leavers who are starting university for the first time, people returning to study, or students relocating to Australia. We want to create a sense of community, and belonging, that begins before students even get to campus... or even if they never come to campus.
How does the 'Welcome to TUA' virtual tour work?
I guess you can think of ‘Welcome to TUA’ as a virtual campus tour, but one that is not specific to any single campus, although we do hope to add 360° images of all our campuses in the future. It walks students through the services, support and resources available to them, whether they are studying online or on campus.
We wanted it to be interactive, engaging and accessible, so we have made the information available in a variety of different formats including text, audio, infographics, drag and drop so that people can choose to use it in the way that suits them best. It is mobile-friendly too.
Students don’t have to complete the entire tour in one go – they can visit a few sections, close it down, and then re-open it later and pick up where they left off.
What has the response been so far for ‘Welcome to TUA’?
So far, it’s been really well received. We used the frequently asked questions our Future Student Onboarding Team receives regularly as a basis for the content, and we’ve tested it with students, who have provided really positive feedback, so we are excited to see it roll out to our new students going forward.
It has truly been a collaborative effort between our Product Innovation team, the Future Student Onboarding Team, and each team that’s showcased in the environment, and we’ve designed it for our students with their needs very much front of mind.
Are there any plans to add more information about the campus or student services?
Right now, we are focusing on rolling it out to those students who will be starting with us in Trimester 2 but there are already lots of ideas of how we can expand it and add new features to it, so we are hopeful that this project will keep evolving and continue to be a valuable resource for our new students.