Planning Meaningful University Engagements During a Pandemic - Grok Global

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Planning Meaningful University Engagements During a Pandemic

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Planning Meaningful University Engagements During a Pandemic: How Grok Schools Community is Lending a Hand for Support

Phillip Wenturine, MFA, Director of College Counseling, American School of Vietnam [Source]

In the college counseling space, everything is about interaction: interaction with students, interaction with parents, interaction with teachers, and of course interaction with universities. Pre-covid (and I dislike that we now operate with such verbiage) all of these interactions took place face-to-face at in person meetings or events. Due to the pandemic, all of us have gone through some type of virtual school year, with many educators still in that situation as the pandemic continues in many countries; we all collectively understand now more than ever that in-person visits regarding university advising are nowhere close to returning, at least not in the international education field. So, the question is not when will in-person university interactions begin again, but how will we, as college counselors, make virtual interactions effective until they do?

Creative Content: How can the virtual space still be engaging, interactive, and worthwhile?

While the virtual space is often an adjustment, not just for students, but for educators, it can lend itself to be just as engaging as in person content. Sure, we are all exhausted of the repeated webinar session invites in our email inboxes, much that encompass universities speaking at students with little to no engagement on their end other than listening to a PowerPoint presentation shared on a screen. However, there are some universities out there providing more meaningful content in presentations that require students to share their insights and even participate using interactive technology. As counselors, we know our students best and understand what they need to learn and what works best for their learning styles. With in-person events, it’s a bit easier to have control over those elements; however, in the online space we often have to rely on and trust that a university webinar will capture our student’s attention and meet their needs, even though it often is a one-size-fits-all band-aid that we are having to utilize during the pandemic. We all know not every webinar is created the same, and with “Zoom fatigue” haunting us all, it’s more important now than ever to maximize as much engaging content for our students with “quality over quantity” kept in mind as we are cognizant of their screen time. But the question is: how do I know which universities are able to provide more interactive and engaging sessions online for students? Grok Schools Community can help with that.

Logistical planning: How can I successfully plan an online event in ways that work best for my students?

College counselors usually thrive in the event planning space. It’s an integral part of college counseling at international schools, having to plan coffee mornings for parents, info sessions for students, and university fairs throughout the year. But doing this online is a bit more challenging, and obviously not as interactive, engaging, or as fun as the face-to-face events. Counselors have to coordinate with the universities to get them online, as well as the students, who may be attending online at home, or online but from school if they are allowed in person; chances are, universities will be presenting to students for at least another year since so many international travel bans and border closures are still in place. It’s up to counselors to figure out a way to make the best out of this already-clustered online space. So that raises the questions: What’s the best format for these sessions? Multi-university panel? Single webinars? A giant, online fair? What about time-zone differences? Tech issues? Is it better for students to attend online in groups, or from independent devices? Should we utilize breakout rooms? How do we maximize impact for students and universities? Grok Schools Community can help with that.

Grok: How have they helped me as a counselor, and how can they help you?

Grok Schools Community Fair - creating meaningful university engagementsCollege counselors often wear many hats, and it’s probably safe to say we all feel overworked, inundated with an assortment of extra tasks caused by virtual learning during the pandemic, and exhausted all together. This is the year that never ends (which we thought was last year, am I right?) Despite virtual learning not being our first choice, counselors are good at making the best of the resources around us and making it as engaging as possible for the benefit of the students. Due to being overworked, we are often tempted to look internally with the resources we already have to recreate the wheel for the virtual guidance space; we don’t often want to look externally, because it’s hard to trust an outsider to provide the same quality content that we know we can bring to the table for our students. That said, there are some quality external providers out there like Grok Schools Community that can help with that.

Find out more about the Grok Schools Community.

meaningful university engagements through school interactions

Author

Phillip Wenturine currently heads the university counseling office at The American School of Vietnam and also works with Grok as part of our advisory team. He has been working in education nearly a decade as a both a teacher and a university counselor across the USA, China, Portugal, and Vietnam. When he is not working with students, he is traveling the globe, just visiting his 50th country, and hoping travel will return to normal very soon.
If you’re from a university or high school and interested to hear more about Grok Schools Community, please contact David Prentice at david.prentice@grokglobal.com

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