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Source: Massey University

A snapshot of one of the virtual information sessions, where people could tune in to hear from Massey staff and lecturers.

Information evenings have historically been heavily directed towards school-leavers, with an ‘in-person/on-campus’ focus and run in each specified region throughout the country. With COVID-19 restricting the normal operations of Massey’s Student Recruitment Advisors, the team sought out new ways to deliver information sessions to prospective students.

The team proposed the idea of a live digital format event, which allowed them more opportunity to reach identified prospects during lockdown, but also to cater for a much wider audience, including mature and distance students.

Massey University was the first New Zealand university to hold such an event during the recent lockdown and by all accounts it was a tremendous success.

The event focused on informing prospective students about the programs and majors available at Massey and was run through a series of online presentations and talks from university teaching staff and services. Attendees could learn about the subjects they are interested in as well as talk with staff in depth on their future study plans.

The digital event

The information evening was run completely online in a digital format, via the Microsoft Teams Live Event Webinar platform, with Student Recruitment Advisors split up to host, produce, moderate and facilitate each webinar room.

Prospects registered online and indicated their area(s) of study and then received links to the main ‘How to Massey’ webinar room, along with a link to their study of interest webinar room. The webinar links and schedule were also promoted via the Massey website for attendees to navigate to, with the live event running 4-7pm.

In the ‘How to Massey’ webinar room, attendees received a general rundown of how things would work for the night, an introduction to Massey University including our campus locations, how online study works, and university terminology. This room also served to run general sessions on such things as scholarships, student services, Maori and Pasifika student support, accommodation, and options for students who miss out on university entrance.

The other webinar rooms were broken up into the five colleges – Health, Science, Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Creative Arts – with degrees/subject areas presented in a 15-30 minute time frame, dependent on the course or college.

Viewers were able to join the room whenever they wanted and were welcome to stay as long as they needed, visiting different rooms throughout the night. Sessions were also recorded and have been made available on the Massey University website allowing them to be viewed by those missing out on the event, or in schools by key audiences such as Careers teachers.

The Results

More than 2,220 people tuned in to the sessions. The numbers speak volumes as to the event’s success and potential moving forward, with significantly more people tuning in than the team has ever experienced at a physical event – and that is only counting the number of logins, not accounting for the number of people that may be viewing each screen.

What attendees had to say:

“I had just finished attending the Massey University Live meeting you recommended and wanted to let you know before I forgot to tell you! It was extremely useful as the professors had gone into detailed descriptions about each Bachelor/Degrees in Creative Arts. They had separate rooms for each Subject/Major meeting so I attended the ‘How to Massey Talks’ and ‘Creative Arts’. The ‘How to Massey Talks’ were useful for a learner or newbie to get to know about the university and what they had to offer, they sent in links and email addresses in both meeting rooms to which I’ve saved. Would it be too late to edit my testimonial a little bit? It’s just that I’ve gotten more insight of what I want to somewhat strive for.”

“Thanks SO MUCH!!  It was a fantastic opportunity to hear about the Massey experience for our boys.  I found all sessions really informative – the only ‘bugger’ was that I couldn’t listen to all presentations as at this stage, I’m still not sure where our boys’ interests lie and their plans for next year.  It was great to hear from so many passionate academics!”

“We were so impressed with the Massey presentations last week! The students are raving about them, it has really inspired them!”