For the majority of students studying at Ontario universities, the requirement of booking an appointment to select courses in person is a thing of the past.
Known as “borderless enrolment”, students now have the flexibility to set up their schedule at their convenience without having to travel a great distance or book time away from their summer jobs. With so much of day-to-day administrative life tasks available online – from online banking to renewing parking permits – this trend toward online enrolment is backed by popular demand.
First-year university courses provide an important foundation for further years of study. Selecting the right first-year courses also ensures that degree requirements are met so that a student can graduate on time. For new students, the process to select their courses can sometimes be complicated. To assist students with this important step, the Faculty of Fine Arts has created an online enrolment program for incoming first-year students.
“While borderless enrolment levels the playing field by giving incoming students equal and timely access to the course schedule, we also want to continue to deliver the highest quality peer advising to give students the information they need in a format that suits their learning style and allows them to interact with this information at their own speed,” said Lynda Tam, the project’s organizer and director of academic affairs in the Faculty’s Student & Academic Services department.
Tam and her project team got to work producing a series of instructional videos for students with the help of student talent from the Fine Arts Student Ambassador & Mentor program.
The team created a specific video for each program. “For example, incoming dance students get program specific advice on fulfilling their dance degree requirements,” said Tam. “That information is broken down with video info for dance studies majors verses dance studio majors. Design, film, music, theatre and visual arts programs all get the same treatment. In total, 11 program specific enrolment videos were created.”
To view the videos, click here.
In addition to the program specific tutorials, the team created a series of general videos for topics that are important to students. These include Welcome & Orientation, Navigating the York University website, Understanding the Course Enrolment Process, and Important Information After Enrolment.
“Fine Arts, along with select programs in the Faculties of Science, Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and Health, launched the enrolment without borders initiative at a timely moment in York’s history when service delivery to students is a priority focus for improvement,” said Joanne Duklas, assistant vice-president of enrolment management and University registrar.
“This innovative approach is unique and, as the Faculty of Fine Arts demonstrates, a wonderful way to enhance the advising experience. In the fine arts model, every student is receiving high quality, consistent and focused advising by leveraging a multimedia platform that is responsive to student and parent needs,” said Duklas.” They’ve proven that this can work effectively for both BA and BFA degrees. Enrolment and registrations are up and student satisfaction is very evident.”
Film production and screenwriting students scripted, shot and edited the videos and students from the specific discipline featured are shown in each video. The accompanying degree worksheets and information pieces were laid out by design students.
“There was a distinct pattern of our spokespeople who were studying performance-based subjects being less camera shy than those who are more inclined to behind-the-scenes work,” said fourth-year film student Thaddeus Eng, one of the team who put the videos together. “But we took the time to do as many takes as we needed to. We also put a lot of thought into the content and location, and overall we’re really proud of the end result.”
Links to the video and the worksheets are a part of the enrolment package emailed to incoming first-year students when they accept their offer.
“Although we anticipated some confusion and an onslaught of inquiries, we have actually received very positive reviews from enrolling students and their parents,” said project coordinator Tina Pietrangelo. “When asked, students have indicated that they find the process very easy to follow. One positive outcome is that parents, having received permission from their son or daughter, are able to be involved actively in the process.”
Just before this enrolment system rolled out, Fine Arts Student & Academic Services also launched CollaborArt, a blog to highlight orientation and upcoming events as well as to provide new students with a personalized view of the York experience from a current student’s perspective. Topics covered in CollaborArt include film festivals that York students have been invited to attend, a theatre production produced by theatre faculty, key advising and enrolment news, the Red Zone Call Me film, and much more.
The initiative has produced some exciting results. “Enrolments are almost complete and much farther ahead compared with last year at this time. This can definitely be credited to the new borderless enrolment initiative,” said Tam.
“The most positive outcome of the new program is that students receive comprehensive information, that is professionally delivered, which meets their needs and the expectations that have been created through the recruitment process,” said Tam. “The Faculty of Fine Arts has billed itself as the destination for excellence in arts education and this program ensures that the best foundation is established.”