UCA's summer orientation for incoming freshmen students moved online due to the coronavirus. 

New Bear Central Online Orientation is composed of three parts. It features asynchronous and synchronous components that assist in preparation for the fall semester. 

Lindsey Shurley, director of new student programs, stated that incoming freshmen students could complete modules on Blackboard, virtually meet with academic advisors and attend Zoom sessions by the Student Orientation Staff (SOS).

The Blackboard modules began on April 27.  New modules are periodically released, covering different departments on campus that are essential to incoming students. The last module will be released Aug. 3. Students can meet with their academic advisors upon completion of the first two modules on Blackboard.

"Our goal is to keep them engaged and that they are coming back for more information throughout the summer," Shurley said, "Also a positive that we will see through this is that students are going to start the fall semester with access and experience to Blackboard."

The SOS Zoom sessions are held various days throughout the summer and will end on July 31. There are two sessions each week. Students must sign up for each session before attending.  During these sessions, students interact with SOS, participate in games and build camaraderie. The sessions are not mandatory but are highly encouraged. 

SOS Co-director, KaRon Marbley, said, "We took out the parts that students need the most and found a way to incorporate those through virtual sessions...they are able to do things that expose them to what college is and have an intimate experience with current students."

The first session was held on June 1. Marbley stated that the most significant limitation had been physical distance, but after icebreakers and breakout sessions, students were excited. 

Before the pandemic, students could attend Summer Orientation & Academic Registration (SOAR). SOAR was a two-day event with informational presentations, class scheduling and campus tours. Students had the option to stay the night in campus housing and meet other new students. 

For more information on New Bear Central and Online Orientation, visit https://uca.edu/advising/incoming-freshman-students/

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