Online Induction: What can possibly go wrong?

face1Well, it’s that time of year again and we’re are well into the week lomg Induction and Induction Activities. While we can be as clear as possible with instructions, sign-posts to the materials, and access, it is a sure bet that one or more student will have trouble of some sort.

What can possibly go wrong? I had to ask didn’t I … so here is a break-down of what we all know happens, but hope and pray it doesn’t;

  1. Registration – Something completely out of our control for the most part, once the student enters the abyss that is online registration we can only hope they appear on the other side unscathed and alive!
  2. Logging in – If registration worked, then logging in should work too. Here is usually the first gap in the student mentality … “I’ve forgotten my user name / password (delete as appropriate)!”. This is bizarre as they’ve just assigned (or been assigned) these in the registration process, and probably have them written down or at least an email confirming them?
  3. Accessing the VLE – Bizarrely this often crops up. All communication we have points them in the direction which links and huge buttons … how can you not spot those?
  4. Accessing the VLE, but then getting lost – Yes, it happens. It is another example of not reading or following the instructions.
  5. Instructions .. what instructions – Yes, it happens every year, and the answer is still the same .. RTFM!
  6. Instructions … really? You know they’ve read the instructions, you know the instructions are fool proof, yet still the phone calls and emails come in as they cant find what is in front of them.
  7. Partially complete – When the first activity is completed, and then the student stops. When we say “please complete all 5 activities”, we mean it!
  8. Complete, but wrong – The activity is complete, then you realise that someone has done the wrong activity in the wrong place. Even worse, they’ve put their own biography in the wiki but replaced the home page instead of creating their own page. Yes, you can revert back to the previous version, but it’s been like it for days … which explains the emails and phone calls from other students not understanding what they’re supposed to do.

So, what can we do? Well, we’ve revisited and reworded nearly everything, several times, in an effort to help the students and prevent them getting lost, but does there come a point when we have to put our hands up and say “everything is available and signposted, what more can we do”?

I don’t like doing this, as it affects the student experience, but what else can we do?

If you’ve something to add to the above, based on your own experiences (past and present) please leave a message after the beeb … ‘beep’.