An introduction to the UTS Student Orientation Program
UTS is a culturally diverse university based in the heart of Sydney. With over 44,000 students, it is one of Australia’s largest universities, with the vision to be a leading university recognised for their global impact.
All student orientation programs are managed centrally by the Orientation and Transition Team (OTT), as part of the UTS Careers Department, which is housed within the Student Services Unit. UTS has a student orientation working group with over 200 people collaborating on the program, including library services, different faculties, clubs, societies, student volunteers and different vendors across campus. UTS has a large orientation program, with around 300 events in autumn orientation, and 150 events for spring orientation.
UTS take a holistic approach to student orientation – encouraging students to bring their whole self to the university. To support this initiative, UTS from the beginning offers a range of sessions, events, and services to support all aspects of student wellbeing. To successfully run its orientation program, UTS in 2020 adopted CareerHub offering a holistic, student-first approach with efficient technology.
Challenges of the existing UTS Orientation Management System
Prior to using CareerHub, UTS managed their Orientation Program on an inhouse product, specifically build for UTS Orientation in 2015. While the initial system served as a central place to manage all registrations, plus enabling student filtering for events and reporting capabilities, it had multiple drawbacks. Updating events, programs and sessions was a very manual, time-consuming process, and some of the changes couldn’t be made by the orientation team – they had to lodge a ticket with the web team to make basic text changes. In addition, those running events didn’t have access to the admin section of the system, requiring them to constantly request updates on registration numbers from the web team. This was compounded by the fact that the system was very expensive and only used two to three times a year.
"The main catalyst for changing to CareerHub was it offered better cost efficiencies. If we were going to continue to spend money on a system, we want it to be used across multiple events and programs. The new system needed to offer the same or better features, and be more cost and time efficient."
UTS Student Orientation Manager
The Transition to CareerHub
UTS Career Services migrated to CareerHub in 2015 to be used across multiple departments and teams, including faculty, internships, co-curricular programs, extra- curricular programs, and resources, appointments, and events capabilities. The orientation team saw how well CareerHub worked across UTS and made the decision to transition their program in November 2020. The Orientation Team trialled the CareerHub student sites and workflow features as part of their small summer 2020 Orientation Program. Due to the success of using CareerHub, the program was scaled up for Autumn 2021, and moved online for the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns in 2021.
CareerHub and the Student Orientation Program
From Autumn 2022 until Spring 2023, the Orientation team has constantly improved and refined the program in CareerHub, making the most of its many features including student sites, workflows, forms, events, events check in with QR codes, workgroups, labels, and filters.
"One of the best pieces of feedback we have received from students is that they can personalise their student experience as part of the orientation program. With CareerHub, UTS can customise the student orientation to not only match their faculty, but we can filter the events to align with what they are interested in,"
UTS Student Orientation Manager
“Students have also said the CareerHub interface is clean and modern, making for a better online experience. The system sends event confirmations and reminders to students to attend events they have registered for. They can easily access their orientation program timetable on the CareerHub dashboard.
“We can record event registrations and use the QR code to record attendance, which from my perspective is fantastic, because we can track the student engagement experience and see those conversion rates between who's registering, and then who's attending,” said Yasmineh.
CareerHub offers an improved experience for the staff at UTS. Stakeholders can now access the events administration themselves to make changes and view registrations, plus it has reduced the workload on the team.
"The CareerHub QR codes for events attendance tracking has been a lifesaver. It has taken away the manual burden of updating event attendance. Students use the QR code to check into an event, so we don’t have to manually track their attendance,"
Systems Coordinator, UTS
“We have also trialled location specific QR codes, so students can scan the code and see a list of what events are taking place that day in a specific building or location,” said Sewani.
The CareerHub reporting enables the UTS team to see the website traffic logins, student enrolment details, and gives essential feedback on what students are looking at. It allows the team to manage at scale large orientation programs, with 8,500 students in Autumn and nearly 3,000 students for Spring 2023 Orientation.
Creating a Personalised Student Experience in CareerHub
From the start of the student journey at UTS, CareerHub provides a way to create a personalised orientation program. After students have accepted their offer online, they are directed to a CareerHub student site: the Student Orientation portal. Students are asked to fill out a CareerHub form with a ‘Tell Us More’ questionnaire, capturing the students’ needs and interests. These questions include careers registration questions, what their goals are during their time at university, their faculty, their internships or work history, their interests and much more.
“The form and the questionnaire are very important to the personalisation aspect of the orientation program. We have several student filter stages set up in CareerHub so that if a student answers yes to a particular question, a label is applied to that student, and then a particular stage or piece of content is displayed in the orientation program. This is where that personalisation aspect comes in,” said Sewani.
The questionnaire acts as a filter, and as students answer different questions, their responses are mapped to certain events in the orientation program. As the students move through the workflow, all the orientation events and information they see is customised based upon their responses. This offers a holistic, customisable experience to all students from day one.
Post orientation, UTS feeds all the data collected into Power BI dashboards for stakeholders across the university to review the performance of the orientation program. This enables stakeholders to make data-based decisions when designing future orientation programs. CareerHub provides demographic information, so domestic students, international students, gender, faculty, course information and much more to provide valuable insights into the program.
Commencing university can be a big step, so each student needs to have a clearly defined focus on how they begin their career journey from the start of their first semester. The Symplicity CareerHub system enables UTS to support students on their academic journey from day one, by building their own personalised orientation program based upon their interests.
If you would like more information on how Symplicity CareerHub can assist your institution with managing your student orientation programs, please contact our team today.