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New Sheridan initiatives will smooth the transition to remote learning

July 02, 2020

Sheridan’s commitment to fueling student success and engagement this fall is evidenced by the ongoing development of new virtual workshops and digital tools that will support students as they transition to post-secondary learning that’s delivered remotely.

‘Sheridan Start’, a free program that allows new students to prepare in advance for attending Sheridan this fall, was unveiled this week on Sheridan Central, the college’s innovative online campus hub for students and employees that was launched last month. Sheridan administrators and faculty are also working on a ‘Learn Well’ initiative for first-year students, which will feature resources, activities, engagement and outreach to ensure students get immersed in their studies and that address the unique conditions of remote learning environments.

“We know that a remote or hybrid environment is not what learners initially imagined when they thought about post-secondary education,” says Carol Altilia, Vice President of Student Engagement and Enrolment Management. “These new initiatives are designed to help people become better learners in an environment that may be unfamiliar. They respond to a critical review we’ve undertaken of our forced shift to remote delivery this spring. They also build on best practices in pedagogy and curriculum development and are purposefully being offered on the same technical platforms that students will use this fall, so that they feel more confident when their programs of study begin.”

Sheridan Start is a highly interactive virtual workshop that is open to anyone who has accepted their offer of admission and paid their deposit for Fall 2020. Modules provide students with the opportunity to preview Sheridan’s dynamic, online academic environment; engage with professors and academic advisors; strengthen foundational academic skills such as literacy, numeracy and creativity; develop critical study, time management and effective learning strategies; build confidence in their ability to thrive in their program of choice; and cultivate connections with fellow students. Morning and afternoon sessions of the workshop will be offered July 20-30 and Aug. 10-21.

Learn Well will consist of virtual supports embedded into more than 120 core courses throughout Sheridan’s programs that align with emerging student needs, such as peer tutoring and mentoring, counselling and advising. Learn Well will also help students foster a sense of belonging and build virtual community through regular interactions with upper-year Peer Assisted Learners and Mentors, online study halls and more. Students in every core course will gain access to a Learn Well module with curriculum designed to increase awareness and understanding of how the virtual learning environment differs from the traditional classroom and provide guidance on how to “Learn Well” in the online classroom.

“We’re firmly committed to supporting each and every learner in any way we can,” adds Altilia. “Remote learning doesn’t mean learning alone. We want students to know that we’ve adapted all of our services and outside-the-classroom programming to ensure that they feel supported here at Sheridan.”

These two new efforts build on a deep base of programs designed to help new students thrive in their post-secondary studies. Sheridan’s First-Year Experience (FYE) program is focused on providing students the chance to connect with each other, chat with upper-year Peer Mentors, and get to know their program and new community as they start their journey at Sheridan. In preparation for the start of the Fall 2020 semester, the FYE program has been expanded to include interactive workshops, self-guided tutorials and opportunities for online connections and support throughout the summer, culminating in an engaging and informative virtual New Student Orientation right before classes begin. Through the FYE program, Sheridan provides students with a chance to connect, engage and prepare for their college experience in ways that work best for them.