Connecting across borders

Do you remember your first few days and weeks at university? It’s an exciting but daunting time for most and can define how strongly students develop a sense of belonging – itself a keen indicator of student success and outcomes. In the weeks before lectures began, you probably planned out your course choices, perhaps searched for the texts on the reading list and chatted with friends about your hopes and fears. If you were coming to The University of Sydney, you may have found time to attend events on campus and tried out the freebies on offer from the vast array of social, political and sports clubs and societies on the liveliest campuses in Australia.

Fast forward to 2020, when our new cohort of students were studying, working and planning their journeys to The University of Sydney in a time of travel bans, lockdowns and great uncertainty. We begin semester 1, 2021 with a combination of on-campus and remote teaching and a greater need than ever to ensure that students experience a successful orientation and transition experience. They need to connect with their teachers and with each other. They need to be able to find information, advice and the resources that will ensure that they are academically and personally successful, whatever their goals and whatever challenges they face.

Student Orientation – Pre-Commencement Program

The Pre-Commencement Program is designed to provide all commencing students with information to support their orientation and transition to the University. The Program aims to help students, both onshore and offfshore, understand University information and processes; access academic, co-curricular and pastoral support; navigate the orientation program and the University’s educational environment; and build peer connections.

The Program will be delivered across multiple activities including a series of 10 Welcome Webinars, 12 peer-led Q&A sessions, and a Canvas site which students can access throughout their first semester. Information in the Canvas modules has been framed within four areas of focus:

  • My Community. Students learn about the community they’ll be joining this year. This section includes information on how to join University of Sydney clubs and events, find organisations representing student interests, start building connections and make friends.
  • My Wellbeing. Students learn about the support available at the University to help them maintain their health and wellbeing. This section includes information about how to access additional support services that they may need and keep up to date with the latest information.
  • My Studies and Future. Students learn about the range of support available to help them succeed academically and make the most of their studies. This section includes information about how services such as the Student Centre, Library and Careers Centre can help build skills and boost employability.
  • My Essentials. Students learn about the essential systems and processes they will need to be familiar with throughout their studies. This section includes information on managing fees and finances, accommodatio, visas, and the key information they’ll need once they have arrived in Sydney.

Throughout these modules students will hear from current students, University staff, and alumni; highlighting various phases of their upcoming student journey and providing students with important information to help navigate their first semester, and beyond.

How do I access the modules?

University of Sydney staff can self-enrol in the modules using the links below. Students are enrolled directly so that they appears on their Canvas dashboard. Please encourage your students to work through the modules and refer back to them regularly during the semester.

Tell me more!

  • Check out the Get Prepared module, which is targeted to any future student as well as their supporting family members or caregivers and is designed to complement the Pre-Commencement modules.
  • Have a look at the on-campus and virtual events, workshops and activities in the Orientation program this semester.
  • Read up on the in-class activities that colleagues across Sydney are using in transition units of study to help foster a sense of belonging.
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