SINGAPORE – College orientation season is right here.
Not like earlier years, although, there are not any loud, boisterous cheers or crowds of freshmen on campus grounds.
As an alternative, most freshmen orientation programmes on the autonomous universities in Singapore have moved on-line attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Straits Instances noticed one such digital session on the Singapore Administration College (SMU) on Wednesday (July 29), the third day of a four-day orientation programme.
About 1,900 incoming SMU college students out of a 2,300-strong cohort have been concerned within the on-line orientation, which featured programmes reminiscent of video games and webinars.
Over 200 present pupil facilitators, 30 pupil organisers and 20 employees trainers have been additionally concerned.
On Wednesday, a bunch of 12 freshmen have been hosted by two senior pupil facilitators in a teleconference name on the platform Webex.
The incoming college students have been eager to know extra about points reminiscent of bidding for modules, which is a apply in SMU.
Former Training Minister Ong Ye Kung additionally joined the group, participating in some video games and to speak with the scholars.
Mr Ong advised them: “One of many issues I did earlier than I left the Ministry of Training… is (to make sure) that when universities open, you’ll be able to have 50 to 60 per cent of footfall again in campus, which I believe is a crucial factor to do.
“As a result of for younger folks, to remain at residence and do on-line studying is simply not the identical. College can also be actually about friendship, assembly folks, and generally assembly your professors nose to nose, asking questions and exploring queries that you’ve.”
One of many group’s facilitators, third-year accountancy pupil Mikail Ismail, mentioned he took on an analogous position in final yr’s bodily orientation programme.
It may very well be harder to forge shut, significant relations with the freshmen with an internet programme, the 22-year-old mentioned.
“On Webex, there can normally solely be one speaker at a time. Final yr, we have been transferring round faculty, orientating them to the bottom, and as we moved from place to position, we may have small speak in between. Small speak is basically the baseline of how folks get to know one another.
“However I am hoping that when the whole lot will get higher, the college can and can present alternatives for them to get to know one another higher, to have enjoyable.”
Incoming enterprise administration pupil Terrence Seow, 23, mentioned he loved the webinars organised by the college, including that his two facilitators did effectively in serving to the group gel.
Mr Seow mentioned: “Earlier than I got here for the camp, I did not have excessive hopes. However my facilitators and group mates are very participating and I am very fortunate to have the ability to make associates with them, and hopefully, bid for modules collectively.”
Different universities have provide you with comparable digital orientation programmes.
The Singapore Institute of Know-how (SIT) will likely be holding a week-long one for its 2,800 freshmen from Aug 24 to Sept 1.
It’ll function digital campus excursions at every of the six SIT campuses, in addition to actions reminiscent of having freshmen meet with their respective programme school, seniors and course mates through scheduled Zoom classes.
The Singapore College of Social Sciences (SUSS) held comparable programmes for its incoming college students in July, they usually included dwell chat classes with SUSS competitors teams such because the swimming, monitor and subject and tennis groups.
Greater than half of its incoming cohort attended the e-orientation. An SUSS spokesman mentioned this was a slight enhance in comparison with attendance for the bodily orientation held in July final yr, including that this may very well be attributable to extra folks having the ability to attend the occasion from their properties.
On the Nationwide College of Singapore, freshman orientation programmes between June 1 and Aug 7, together with these carried out by halls, residential schools and residences, have been and can proceed to be carried out on-line.
Ms Rachel Teo, an orientation camp programme director on the college’s Temasek Corridor, mentioned: “Our focus this yr is to not attempt to make it as near the true factor (as potential), however slightly create a brand new and unconventional camp on-line that might present the freshmen the identical intrinsic expertise and engagement as earlier than.”
Nanyang Technological College additionally mentioned its colleges, residential halls and pupil organisations are placing collectively over 40 on-line transition programmes for some 6,000 freshmen this month.
In the meantime, the Singapore College of Know-how and Design is the one establishment nonetheless planning to have a bodily orientation programme as scheduled from Sept 10 to 11.
Its interim provost Lim Seh Chun mentioned the programme is designed with the present Covid-19 scenario in thoughts and can adhere to protected distancing measures.
Prof Lim added: “College students will likely be divided into small teams with no cross mingling between teams… (however) if a face-to-face orientation is (nonetheless) not potential, we are going to endeavour to interact our new college students nearly.”
— to www.straitstimes.com