Digital Pre-Orientation

Digital Pre-Orientation
Project Type: 
Academic Technology
Community Building

The Digital Pre-Orientation project at the Graduate School of Education marked a pivotal shift in adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the need for remote students to connect and familiarize themselves with the GSE community, the project aimed to create a dynamic and engaging pre-orientation event that fostered a sense of belonging and familiarized incoming students with campus resources ahead of the academic year.


The primary challenge faced during the project was sourcing cost-effective digital platforms that would not only facilitate social connections, but also enable resource sharing in a structured exploratory approach. Balancing both elements was critical to ensuring a fulfilling and enriching experience for incoming students.

Initial Build

In response to the need for a digital orientation event in 2020, the GSE Academic Affairs team collaborated with the DLS team to host the inaugural Digital Pre-Orientation on Zoom. The platform's user-friendliness and widespread accessibility among incoming students made it the ideal choice.

The DLS team then designed an orientation model that encompassed social and informative components, promoting community building while also sharing vital GSE and university-related resources. The model included team-based games such as scavenger hunts where students seek answers to questions by exploring several curated resource links within the platform, culminating in a quiz competition. The team with the most correct answers receives a prize.




The inaugural Digital Pre-Orientation exceeded expectations, demonstrating the feasibility and success of a virtual onboarding event. This milestone paved the way for the event to be included as part of the official Orientation schedule for subsequent years and fostered a willingness to explore alternative platforms for future iterations.


Building on the success of past events, the DLS team continued to explore and experiment with different digital platforms for the following years. In 2021, Nooks, a Stanford student-founded video conferencing tool, offered a compelling alternative to Zoom. In 2022, InSpace, an immersive learning platform, provided a unique collaboration experience. In 2023, the DLS team planned to use a customizable Metaverse technology; however, due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2023 digital pre-orientation was held on InSpace again.

2023 Digital Pre-Orientation conference space hosted on InSpace. Users could choose and move between 5 rooms, which featured images of actual Stanford landmarks to replicate the campus experience.

2023 Digital Pre-Orientation Auditorium room hosted on InSpace. Hosts displayed a Welcome slide as students arrived in the virtual space.

2022 Digital Pre-Orientation Dorm room hosted on InSpace. The platform offered a unique social experience featuring round video camera feeds and proximity audio capability.