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Real-time virtual university open day

The University of Chichester is among the first in the country to deliver a virtual open day as a live webcast

  • The University of Chichester is one of the first in the country to implement a virtual open day delivered as a live webcast
  • This innovative approach increases access to higher education by removing time and financial barriers
  • It is ideal for postgraduate applicants who may find it hard to take time off work
  • It has proved effective in securing prospective students who had already made a tentative choice

 

THE university open day is a rite of passage for many, as they use the experience to make an important choice for the next step in their lives.

Open days are useful and valuable events for both universities and prospective students and their parent, but as a means of finding out more about a university and what it has to offer, it does not suit everyone. Travelling to an open day may be costly for some (especially if it involves an overnight stay), and may cause anxiety for others. Prospective postgraduate students may find it hard to take time away from what they are currently doing, and degree apprenticeship applicants may not be able to take time off from work to attend.

It is estimated that as many as 80 per cent of university applicants do not attend an open day.

Virtual university open days are not new, but the University of Chichester is among the first in the country to deliver a virtual open day as a live webcast, for those interested in its Business School. The content also had links to student-generated content video footage on accommodation and what it’s like to study at the University.

As well as covering what the Business School has to offer, those who took part in the webcast were able to ask questions in real time via email or Twitter. Feedback to this approach has been extremely positive, with good engagement across social media and the Business School’s blog. Timed to coincide with the distribution of offers to prospective students, it has contributed to a number of firm ‘sign-ups’ for the Business School.

A prospective Business Management student who took part in the virtual open day commented: "The online session was really helpful, giving me lots of useful information about the course I am interested in and getting the chance to speak directly with lecturers before applying was great."

Jennie White, Programme Coordinator for Marketing and Digital Degrees from the University of Chichester Business School

Jennie White, (above), Programme Coordinator for Marketing and Digital Degrees from the University of Chichester Business School is a digital champion, pioneering the use of technology in higher education and winner of the Innovation in HE, 2018 (UCSU) for her work with online marking and feedback. She commented: “This was the first time that we have run a virtual open day as a live webcast and we have been delighted with the results.”

She added: “We realise that the traditional approach to open days does not suit everyone interested in studying at university. Open days are useful, but with prospective students having five university choices it can be very costly especially where there is more than one person in a family applying.  We think that a virtual open day delivered as a live webcast takes away barriers to attending a ‘real’ open day, increasing access and opportunities for participation. It gave people who took part the chance to not just find out more, but to ask questions in real time – it was truly interactive. We will be planning and publicising more virtual open day webcasts in due course.”

More information about the Business School at the University of Chichester is available by visiting www.chi.ac.uk/business-school. The virtual open day webcast is available at https://chiplayer.cloud.panopto.eu/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=dd7b508b-d5f6-449f-b41e-aa1c00bd245e.