Design Brief

To reimagine the student orientation experience at Ball State University through a transmedia, student-led approach that can be replicated at other schools.

Problem Statement

Students are struggling to organically adapt to the physical and social layout of the new environment of campus and the town/city in which it is situated.

Measurable Goals

Incoming students surveyed after redesign report feeling more well-adapted after new orientation experience:

1. What buildings are your classes in? Did you know where these were prior to the first day of class?
2. What administrative buildings on campus could you locate? Could you show me on a map? Would you be able to give someone directions?
3. After your guided campus tour, could you tell me the restaurants within walking distance? List them.

Ethngoraphic Research Key Findings

Discomfort/Stress/Disorientation

People feel uncomfortable in new spaces

“I had a hard time to locate different buildings.”

 

Responsibility/ Guidance

Students struggle to acclimate to “real world” situations: taking on new responsibility

“I need to be told, at least guided in some way, what to be doing.”

Social Connections/ Interactions

Parents have trouble letting go of their children

“I worried because, even though they toured, my son didn’t know how to get anywhere or know anyone at Purdue.”

 

No Busy Work/ Need Engagement

People want to be engaged

“I like things that are well-explained and easy to follow/understand so that there is no confusion over what should be done/when/where.”

  • People feel uncomfortable in new spaces, especially when they are unfamiliar with the environment, culture, people, policies, and workflow.

  • Students struggle to acclimate to “real world” situations: taking on new responsibility such as bills and housekeeping, navigating new city/town.

  • People feel less anxious in new environments when they feel they have a support system: parents/siblings, peers, leaders.

  • People do not like “busy work”, long lectures, or redundant tasks where they gain no new information/insight.

  • People feel stress when they work or study in the new environment. Making mistakes is a major reason for this anxiety.

  • Parents have trouble letting go of their children, especially if it leaves them with an empty
    nest.

  • Parents feel anxious when they don’t know how their children are adjusting to college.

  • International students suffer from culture shock when they are new to the states.

Problem Space

People introduced to new environments struggle to habituate to unfamiliar layouts and social situations. With new students struggling to adapt to the environment of campus and the surrounding community, it seems necessary to design a solution that can assist them in their navigation and acclimation to the area.

↪ Campus Tours (physical/digital)

“Campus tours help students better acquaint themselves with the resources available to them on campus as well as feel more confident with their surroundings.”


“[L]iving on campus [versus] living off [campus] is very different. On[-]campus life is its own culture” (Group 8).

“Many transfer students are forced to live off-campus, which deals them the challenge of trying to meet students outside the freshman floor experience, which for many is conducive to making friends at the onset of a college career” (Druckman).

 

“[S]ocialization and unfamiliar environments are both the hardest elements and best experiences[.] Although [the] best thing was meeting new people, one [person] prefered [sic] little to no interaction.”


“New places mean[s] being lost and remembering a new schedule [is] worrisome” (Group 6).

“Freshmen have to adjust to new surroundings, and relate to unfamiliar
people...Some students look forward to college, and are eager to experience more freedom and adventure.”


“Other individuals may be enthusiastic about college initially, but then discover that the actual experience falls short...They don’t feel happy, comfortable, or secure in their new environment...there are some students who know that leaving home will be difficult and...dread the thought of packing and going to college” (“Adjusting”).


“The orientation experience must be inviting and interactive for the students” (Group Two)

Design Solutions

Requirements:

Socialization (organic) > Social Connections/Interactions


Campus acclimation/familiarization > Discomfort/Stress/Disorientation

Tours/mapping > Discomfort/Stress/Disorientation

Must Haves:

Small groups > No busy work/need engagement

 

Mentoring/leadership - guidance > Responsibility/Guidance

A level of self-sufficiency/expectation/fulfillment > Responsibility/Guidance
 

Constraints:

No mandatory large group lectures > No busy work/need engagement

 

No busywork > no busy work/need engagement


No ice-breakers/forced socialization > social connections/interactions

 

No data dump > Responsibility/Guidance

We will know the solution is successful if/when...

  1. Participants report feeling a balance between guidance and self-responsibility
  2. Participants can name available references for important material
  3. Participants report feeling engaged (derived from activity within small groups)
  4. Participants  show awareness of communal social activities/opportunities available to them

Low-Fidelity Prototyping

  1. Bus tours

  2. Self-Guided Tour/ Scramble → Balance between Guidance/Self-responsibility

  3. Info boards 

    • Physical / Digital → Information that can be processed in own time/Gathering referenced as necessary 

  4. Database/ Info 

  5. Scavenger Hunt → Small group activities/ Engagement with experience

  6. Community Inclusion → Free-range Community/ Social opportunities

  7. Social Event/ Party

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Balance between guidance from campus officials/orientation leaders/ self-responsibility

2 participants mentioned Bus Tours

 

It was suggested that “an orientation leader could give tours like when you go on vacation” (p5). 

 

The Bus Tours could go to places such as “Muncie Mall, popular restaurants, the Village, Walmart, Minnetrista” (p6). 

 

“Freshman can gather at their respective dorms and get onto a bus taking them downtown” (p7). 

“Don’t give any tours at all and don’t let students explore campus before the first day. Then...they have to run around [and] try and get to their first class on time. This would promote social acclimation because they would have to ask people where to go” (p8).

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Information that can be processed in own time/pace and referenced as necessary to remove feelings of disorientation

7 participants who called for either physical or digital information boards with copy on campus and community life.

 

“Map boards at popular social spaces (i.e. Frog Baby, The Quad, The Atrium, The Gum Tree, etc.)” (p9)

 

“An app that has all info on places to go/events in area” (p10)

 

“Maybe have an app that updates all that’s happening in the area of Muncie or BSU...I think if people see things that interest them[,] then they’ll explore more to see what’s out there...A BSU/Muncie GPS” (p11)

 

“An app that shows Muncie/BSU...has pinpoints w/places that things are going on...GPS to where things are...message board for people to chat” (p12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Small group activities to support engagement with experience / reduce “busy work”

9 participants said they would like to see the incorporation of some kind of Scavenger Hunt. 

 

“Scavenger hunt in groups to bring out social interaction while also getting familiar with campus” (p13)

 

“New students are given a list of landmarks/buildings and a group of people line the way as ‘guides’ and there’s an activity at each landmark” (p14)

 

“Groups will take place in a scavenger hunt aided by an app to help first year students get around” (p15)

“Events with local businesses or restaurants. Gives them the opportunity to advertise, also gives students free stuff and place to have fun” (p16)

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Settings within the community (campus/town) where can socialize organically

Outside of the above quotes desiring social engagement in small groups, another participant directly called for a party to stimulate social interaction in a less stressful environment. 

 

This participant called for a party with a team-building act incorporated into the social setting. It would act as “a party, game night...and team building” scenario (p17). This would allow students to “[meet] new people and [get] to know the school better.”

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Mid-Fidelity Prototyping

Balance between Guidance/ Self-responsibility

  1. Bus tours

  2. Self-Guided Tour/ Scramble    →    Community Volunteer Program

 

Information that can be processed in own time/referenced as necessary 

  1. Info boards 

    • Physical / Digital    →    BSU Facebook reference / RPG

  2. Database/ Info Gathering       

 

Small group activities/ Engagement with experience

  1. Scavenger Hunt        →    BSU RPG and real-world integration

  2.  

Free range Community/ Social opportunities

  1. Community Inclusion        →    Community Volunteer Program

    • Social Event/ Party

Volunteer Program


















 

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Facebook Reference


















 

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RPG + Real-World Integration

















 

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Solution

Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

  • Virtual layout of campus and the surrounding community

  • Profile and virtual character (similar to The Sims)

  • Explore

  • “Quests” or tasks that students must perform

 

In the two months prior to Phase 2 (Real World Campus/Community Integration) of orientation, students must complete a set number of “quests” in order to be eligible to attend the next step.

 

Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

  • Comprised of three volunteer options: a food drive, animal rescue assistance, and park clean-up 

  • Volunteer option is predetermined by the system based off of their demonstration of interests in the RPG

  • Meet an orientation leader

  • Team guides them using their resources to the volunteer location

  • Team meets with the head of the organization for their next set of directions

  • Orientation leader will follow and watch over the team as they set out on their real world quest

Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(Mid-Fidelity Prototype)

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Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(Cognitive Walkthrough: INTRO SCRIPT)

Hello, thank you for participating in our testing over the BSU Orientation Game system. Your input will help the Orientation Game become a better system. For the protection of your privacy, your name will not be included in our data. Instead, you will be given a participant number, which will be tied to your answers. At any time if you want skip a question, reply “skip”. If you decide that you no longer want to be part of this study, please inform me and your results will be thrown out. Keep in mind that I am not studying you, I am testing the system functions.

 

BSU Orientation Game is a real-time RPG where students have the opportunity to “meet” other freshmen in the game. Each student has a name tag displayed above their character. In the game, there is a chat section that allows students to interact with other students. This function could help students take a first step to meet new friends.   

 

The format of this test will be the following: (1) I will give you a task to complete. You will try to complete it. If you need help, say “hint”. If you cannot complete the task, say “give up” (2) After the task is finished, you will be given a sheet that will ask you to rate the task. (3) After the 10 tasks are complete, you will be given a sheet with some questions to rate the system. Thank you again for helping with this study. Do you have any questions before we start?

 Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(Cognitive Walkthrough: TASKS TO COMPLETE)

1.    Open the game page

HINT: You can find this option under New Students

2.    Set up your account

3.    Start the game

HINT: You can click the Get Started button

4.    Find yourself in the game

5.    Pick up a task      

HINT: You can find the task on the right column

6.    Finish a task

7.    Pick up another task

8.    Finish the task

9.    Chat with “roommates”

HINT:  You can find the dialogue chart on the right column

10.    Find the destination that you will meet with other people at the first day of orientation.

HINT: Click the Image

Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(Cognitive Walkthrough: PROTOCOL TOOL)

Success Rating Scores:

3- Completed without hint  2- Complete with a hint  1- Does not complete in 3 minutes 0- Gives up

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Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(Cognitive Walkthrough: RESULTS)

Number of Participants: 5

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Suggestion:

  1. Add the button bubbles on each building that users can click them and find the name of each building.

  2. Add a hint button at the right down corner. If users cannot find the building, they can click the “Hint” button, and it will show the image of the building (location).

  3. Put a link to the map page that users can check.

  4. Create a map app to help the users find the location.

  5. Show the inside images of each building. 

Phase 1: Real-time Virtual Immersion RPG

(The System Usability Scale: RESULTS)

Instructions: For each of the following statements, mark one box that best describes your reactions to the system you engaged with today.

Number of Participants: 5

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Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

(Mid-Fidelity Prototype)

Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

(Think Aloud: INTRO SCRIPT)

Hello, thank you for participating in our testing over the BSU Orientation Campus/Community Integration service. Your input will help the Orientation experience become a better system. For the protection of your privacy, your name will not be included in our data. Instead, you will be given a participant number, which will be tied to your answers. At any time if you want skip a question, reply “skip”. If you decide that you no longer want to be part of this study, please inform me and your results will be thrown out. Keep in mind that I am not studying you, I am testing how the system functions.

 

Real World Campus/Community Integration is the second phase of orientation in which students are asked to interact with the real-life community that they have been interacting with virtually over the last few weeks. Through community service, students are required to self-navigate tasks outlined by orientation leaders, interacting with each other and the community in order to complete their experience. Students cannot continue on to register for classes without first completing both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of orientation.   

 

The format of this test will be as follows: (1) I will give you a picture(s) of the task to be completed in Phase 2, and you will explain out loud what you think you should be doing in the given scenario. (2) After you have aurally walked me through the task in the picture, you will be given a sheet to rate the task (APPENDIX 4). (3) After the 10 tasks are complete, you will be given a sheet to rate the overall system (APPENDIX 5).

 

Thank you again for helping with this study. Do you have any questions before we start?

Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

(Think Aloud: TASKS TO COMPLETE)

1.    Meet orientation leader to receive further information

HINT: You agreed on a location through the RPG

2.    Direct orientation leader to Phase 2 location

3.    Meet organization representative to receive further information

HINT: You can ask questions

4.    Direct orientation leader to neighborhood/house

    HINT: You can use collected materials

5.    Record collected items    

HINT: You were told about a recording system

6.    Use app to select current location

7.    Record collected items

8.    See an overview of your progress

9.    Locate the item drop off

10.    Review that you’ve completed Phase 2

Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

(Cognitive Walkthrough: PROTOCOL RESULTS)

Number of Participants: 5

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Suggestion:

  1. Include a progress bar to show how many neighborhoods have been completed

  2. Include how many houses need to be visited before complete

  3. Show that you have completed a drop off to see what items still need to be returned

  4. Show a neighborhood is in progress/being visited by your/another team

  5. Show that a neighborhood has already been completed by your/another team

Phase 2: Real World Campus/Community Integration

(The System Usability Scale: RESULTS)

Instructions: For each of the following statements, mark one box that best describes your reactions to the system you engaged with today.

Number of Participants: 5

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MEASURABLE GOALS

Problem Statement #1 + Research Capture Method (SURVEY)

Students are struggling to adapt to the layout of the new environment of campus and the town/city in which it is situated. We need to design a solution to assist in their navigation and acclimation to the area.

 

Survey first-year students before/after orientation experience. The first survey would be prior to the experience; the second survey would be immediately following the experience; the third survey would come at midterms in the form of a more open-ended questionnaire to see if students have learned more from the experience after spending time with it/on campus/in town.

 

Success of the experience will be measured by whether or not the incoming students surveyed after interacting with the redesign report feeling more well-adapted from the first survey to the final questionnaire. 

 

We will know the solution is successful if/when…

  1. Participants report feeling a balance between guidance and self-responsibility

  2. Participants can name available references for important material

  3. Participants report feeling engaged (derived from activity within small groups)

  4. Participants  show awareness of communal social activities/ opportunities available to them

MEASURABLE GOALS

Problem Statement #2 + Research Capture Method (SURVEY)(NOT IMPLEMENTED)

Students feel more uncomfortable in new environments when they don’t know any familiar faces. We need to design a solution that socializes them in a new environment in a way that feels unthreatening.

 

SURVEY:

  1. How many people did you know when you first came to campus?

  2. How many people do you know now?

  3. How did you meet new people?

  4. Could you name them?

  5. The thing I was most afraid of…

  6. When meeting new people, I feel…

  7. Is making new friends hard for you? Why/not?

  8. What would you suggest is a good way to make friends when giving advice to incoming students?

  9. Where are good places to socialize with friends?

MEASURABLE GOALS

Problem Statement #3 + Research Capture Method (NOT IMPLEMENTED)

Students feel uninvolved in the current orientation process. We need to organize events in a way that encourages involvement and student interest.

 

To measure the rate of students involvement, we will hang out this survey to incoming students at the beginning of the orientation. The ideal goal is to gain at least 80% positive results (G>0).

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MEASURABLE GOALS

Problem Statement #4 + Research Capture Method (SURVEY) (NOT IMPLEMENTED)

Incoming students feel overwhelmed by the shift in workload and independence. We need to design a way to reassure them that they are not alone in their experiences, and demonstrate how their problems can be solved.

 

SURVEY:

  • What’s your average hours of sleeping before you came to the college?

  • What’s your average hours of sleeping in the first month of college?

  • Ranking 1-10, how do you ranking your feeling by the shift in workload and independence?

        1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10

        Easy                                     difficult 

  • Do you find someone helpful when you dealing with problem at work or studying?

  • Do you have a hard time with your schedule? Does your supervisor, professor or someone else helps you with this problem?

  • Do you ask someone for help when you have problem to adjust the shift in workload and independence? If yes, who would you ask?

*This is a school project that I've done during my first year in graduate school