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Student using Sheridan's new open-access learning platform.

Sheridan pilots new open-learning platform offering pre-arrival support for international students

Jan 16, 2023
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The newest cohort of Sheridan international students had the opportunity to pilot a new program aimed at supporting their transition to college well before the start of term. Open Access Arrive Well – a D2L learning system similar to the learning management tools students use upon arrival at Sheridan – was made available to incoming international students from December 1, 2022 to January 4, 2023. They could access live virtual support and self-directed modules to help them learn about their new community, student services and technology in the classroom.

"We are thrilled to pilot the open-learning platform and provide international students a new way to prepare for their academic journey,” says Joan Sweeney Marsh, Sheridan’s Associate Vice Provost, Academic & Career Learning Resources.

“Sheridan strives to ensure that students who come to Canada are set up for academic success right from the beginning.”

– Joan Sweeney Marsh, Associate Vice Provost, Academic & Career Learning Resources

Sweeney Marsh notes that Sheridan is the first college in Ontario to pilot an open-access learning platform tailored specifically for incoming international students.“Thousands of international students enroll in Canadian colleges each year,” she explains. “Sheridan strives to ensure that students who come to Canada are set up for academic success right from the beginning.”

Sheridan’s mascot Bruno standing next to an international student during an event.

The program is the latest addition to the Well Series—Sheridan’s collaborative initiative designed to help students succeed and prepare for each step on their academic journey. From pre-arrival readiness to life after graduation, students can access the modules in each program from anywhere in the world.

Support for Canada’s international students

Sheridan has taken a leadership role in transforming the ways in which international students are supported. From arrival assistance at the airport to post-graduation workshops, Sheridan is committed to providing guidance and a warm welcome to new students arriving in Canada. In 2022, the College held a first-of-its-kind summit centering on international student voices and subject matter experts to form the basis of a forthcoming community Charter that will include shared principles, actions and a mechanism for accountability.

“We’re hearing from international students that pursuing higher education in a new country is an intimidating and often challenging transition,” says Andrea Seepersad, Sheridan’s Director, Education Development and Technology. “Our goal is to make the process easier. Sheridan provides a wide range of resources and support services to our international students; this initiative is another layer in our approach to providing an exceptional learning environment.”

Sheridan staff member speaking to international students.

Open-Access Arrive Well not only gives incoming international students a chance to navigate Sheridan’s online learning systems, such as Slate, but it also lets them explore learning and wellness supports, join live conversation drop-in sessions hosted by English tutors, and develop their academic strengths.

"Since the start of the pilot, we’ve seen students successfully complete the interactive modules and engage in pre-arrival activities,” says Sweeney Marsh. “Our international students want to connect with Sheridan in more meaningful ways before leaving their home country, so it’s important for us to respond accordingly and help them feel confident and prepared for the start of term.”

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