By: Jeff Low
Ten years later, with COVID-19 keeping students away from campus for the fall semester, things are a little different.
The challenge: create a digital space that offers the same warm welcome that students have come to expect from the SSC’s Gilmour Hall office, and support student success in an era in which online learning and remote services are the norm.
To meet those needs, the SSC has now launched a reimagined website, designed to be an accessible online hub for self-directed, personalized support. The website provides access to all SSC services, including new webinars, virtual events and options to book remote appointments. Students can even customize the website’s homepage with a new bookmarking system for favourite pages.
To help students feeling challenged by online learning, the new website also features an Online Learning Support hub, which was developed by the SSC’s academic skills team in collaboration with McMaster’s University Technology Services (UTS). The hub offers academic guidance, strategies and tips to help students thrive while learning online.
“Our goal for the online learning webpage was to demystify the online learning experience. We want students to embrace the benefits that online learning can bring,” explains Jenna Storey, SSC academic skills program coordinator. “We want students to reimagine and relearn what it takes to succeed in online learning.”
In addition to services, there are more than 100 student stories throughout the site. Similar to how SSC student staff would greet visitors at the service desk in Gilmour Hall 110, these stories foster important peer-to-peer connections and tell the SSC story through student experiences.
“Creating a powerful digital first impression to students that says, ‘we get you and we are here for you’ was a primary objective with our new website,” says Gina Robinson, assistant dean of Student Affairs and director of the Student Success Centre. “It was about putting our best self forward and creating that genuine virtual connection with every single student, so we are ready for when we return to campus.”
To learn more about navigating the new website and its features, check out this video with SSC digital media specialist Elizabeth DiEmanuele.