8 Unique Ways Colleges Are Using Virtual Platforms to Educate

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It’s been a stressful time for educational institutions, leaving many administrators to solve the issue of how college students can connect virtually.

Many schools are trying to rapidly transform large student gatherings into virtual events—while still making the events a rewarding experience.

Hundreds are turning to virtual event platforms like Hopin to help, including leading universities like MIT, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and McMaster.

With the help of online events platforms, colleges and schools are creating virtual activities to help students learn and grow, to keep faculty in the loop, and even to host fun social gatherings.

Here are eight unique ways these educational institutes are creating virtual events with Hopin.

1. Student orientation or welcome week

Need to welcome your students to campus and give them the information they need to succeed? You can host your student orientation with a virtual events platform.

Use the Stage for events for the entire freshman class. Use Sessions to break out students by major. Allow students to meet new friends with Hopin’s one-on-one video networking feature.

Introduce new students to campus clubs, fraternities, sororities, and activity groups by building an expo where each group can have their own interactive booth. Students can visit the booths to gather more information through live video, a slide presentation, custom branding, a pre-recorded welcome video, and a call-to-action to encourage students to learn more.

For example, UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business hosted their full-time MBA orientation week in Hopin.

Sarah Bottger, Events Manager at Haas School of Business, said Hopin was easy for students to navigate and understand. “The feedback from the event was that it far exceeded students’ expectations,” Bottger said.

Boise State University has also created virtual activities for students with career fairs and internal events.

2. Career and college fairs

Continue to provide career opportunities for students by hosting your annual career fair as a virtual event.

With Hopin’s expo feature, each business at your career fair can have their own branded booth, live video, pre-recorded video, and a call to action for students.

The National College Resources Foundation (NCRF) hosted two virtual college recruitment fairs on Hopin—Black College Expo™ (BCE) Live and Black College Expo™ (BCE) Live 2. These two virtual events featured Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other colleges.

During these fairs, students were able to receive acceptances and scholarships to colleges on the spot. Application fees were waived. All of this was possible from the comfort of their homes.

These virtual events were developed due to the impact the Covid-19 pandemic had on students and families, especially high school seniors who were still looking for a college home and college transfer students looking to transfer to a four-year college.

Many more colleges and universities are hosting their career and college fairs at an online venue—like the University of Saint Andrews and McMaster University.

3. Student and alumni mixers

Help your students build relationships with alumni by hosting a virtual student and alumni mixer.

Use Hopin’s one-on-one networking feature to encourage conversations. You can choose how long each networking conversation lasts and alumni can share their business cards with students.

Tip: Create two different ticket types for alumni and student networking events—an alumni ticket and a student ticket. That way, you can ensure those with alumni tickets are paired to student ticket holders during the online networking.

Berkeley’s Haas School of Business also uses Hopin for virtual activities for students and alumni. “The one-on-one networking is a very cool feature," said Bottger. "We do a lot of events where alumni meet with current students—we’re going to use the one-on-one networking function for those events."

4. University or student-led conferences and summits and external events

Make your virtual conferences or summits feel like in-person events when you use an online events platform.

Use the Stage to reach the entire audience in one place. Host keynotes, presentations, fireside chats, panels, and interviews. Up to 100,000 people can view the stage at one time.

With the Sessions feature, create roundtables or breakout Sessions for smaller groups.

Intersperse one-on-one networking time throughout your summit or conference. And build an expo center for sponsors.

Using Hopin, the Kennesaw State University chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) hosted a student-led conference. They joined forces with chapters at 10 other universities to host the InterConnect Conference, a free, completely virtual event.

InterConnect Conference’s goal was to educate, motivate, and equip young and older entrepreneurs with knowledge to move forward in the business world during unprecedented times or times of crisis—like Covid-19.

The Culinary Institute of America hosted the Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit on Hopin. The summit offered a weekly series of virtual events for 2.5 hours each Wednesday for five weeks.

The content was distributed off-platform and received over 30,000 views.

Related: How the Culinary Institute of America served up a delicious five-week events series on Hopin

Vanderbilt University hosted an external virtual event where communities of researchers gathered to learn about and develop scientific advancements for a better world.

5. Convocation

Hopin’s Stage allows for 100,000 concurrent attendees, which means your entire graduating class, their families, and faculty can join for convocation.

You can use Hopin’s backstage feature to chat privately with convocation speakers and prep them to go on stage.

There are two ways to display content on Stage: pre-recorded videos or live stream within Hopin using StreamYard.

UMass Lowell and the University of Alabama both plan to host their convocation ceremonies as online events this fall.

6. Sporting events

If you’re holding sporting events in 2020 and 2021 and can’t allow in-person fans, you can still create virtual activities for student season ticket holders to attend and interact. Just create an online event in Hopin using the Main Stage.

That’s exactly how the University of Notre Dame is hosting football games this fall with Rally House.

From Notre Dame’s website:

The Rally House supplements the TV broadcast by allowing fans to participate in exclusive watch parties featuring Notre Dame celebrities, former players and other Irish fans. Fans also have the ability to create their own watch party, allowing friends to virtually watch the game together. Additionally, Rally House participants can meet celebrities or other Irish fans one-on-one from across the world, engage in live chats and polls, and receive exclusive offers from Notre Dame partners.

The first game against Duke University on September 12 saw thousands of Irish fans come out and enjoy the experience.

7. Competitions

MIT Solve, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a mission to solve world challenges, is hosting their Solve Challenge Finals 2020 Virtual Pitch Event through an online venue on Hopin.

During the event, diverse innovators will pitch promising tech-based solutions to global challenges.

They will have workshops and breakout sessions at the online event and networking opportunities.

The MassChallenge Virtual Startup Showcase was also hosted as a virtual event. Similar to MIT Solve, the online event held pitching competitions for startups. Each startup had their own booth within the Hopin Expo area where they pitched frequently throughout the day. And they used the Stage feature of the virtual event platform for welcome and closing remarks.

8. Classes

You can even host an entire class and semester on virtual events platforms.

Build out a multi-week syllabus using Hopin’s Schedule feature, and host lectures on the Main Stage or in Sessions.

Allow students to create study groups. Just set up your Hopin online event to allow ticket holders to create their own Sessions (i.e., virtual roundtables or rooms). Students can create Sessions with a unique topic and join roundtable study groups with up to 20 people on video.

Do your students need one-on-one conversations after a lecture to practice or work on a timed exercise? You can break students out to allow one-on-one time with Hopin’s one-on-one networking feature.

Ready to create unique virtual activities for your students this semester? Contact us for education pricing.

“I think [Hopin is] a worthwhile investment for everyone.”

Sarah Bottger, Events Manager at Haas School of Business

Hopin reviews sourced by G2

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