Deakin unveils Australia's new era of Virtual Open Days

Media release
14 August 2020

University hopefuls across Australia are entering a new era of campus orientation events as Deakin unveils its first Virtual Open Day this Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

With excitement building, Deakin's bespoke and highly interactive virtual experience will be on show and online – even on mobile phones - inside and outside Australia's COVID-19 lockdown areas.

The radical and lightning quick shift away from on-campus Open Days wrought by the pandemic in several locations, showcases this event as a glimpse into the future. Livestream and curated offerings include 61 course information presentations, 29 general information sessions, and 68 live Q&A sessions where prospective students can talk to subject matter experts.

The day's schedule and details can be viewed in the day planner here or by interest area here.

Deakin Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Global Engagement Professor Gary Smith says the multidisciplinary work behind the scenes to conceive, design and deliver a virtual experience of this substance and quality has created a buzz of excitement across the institution's Melbourne Burwood, Geelong Waurn Ponds, Geelong Waterfront, Warrnambool, and online Cloud campuses.

"Our Virtual Open Day is specifically designed to meet the needs of attendees, taking their bright minds on a highly interactive and distinctively Deakin journey into our campuses and the courses we offer, all from the comfort of their screens or devices," Professor Smith said.

"To give you a sense of scale of this undertaking, more than 1000 of our talented staff across Faculties, Institutes, Information Technology, Design, Marketing and other divisions have united to deliver a valuable experience for prospective students that aligns with our Digital First Strategy.

"Our reputation as a sector leader for premium digital education comes from students themselves, who have rated Deakin number one in Australia over four consecutive years for overall student experience, and number one in Victoria for 10 consecutive years. We remain agile and Sunday’s experience will affirm we are on the right track."

Chief Marketing Officer Matt Edge pointed to the whole-of-university effort to deliver students the information they need, when and how they want it.

"With more than 1000 staff engaging in real-time with prospective students on the day, their virtual journeys will be continuously supported by a team of digital coordinators to ensure a seamless interactive experience," Mr Edge said.

"Our renowned academics and professional staff have trained specifically for this unique Open Day in many ways, from presenting virtual information sessions, to providing valuable engagement via live video Q&A and live chat. To support participating staff, 15 in-depth training sessions were held in the past month, and more than 61 facilitated dress rehearsals were completed so that when the curtain lifts on Sunday, we are ready."

"A few days before the event the Open Day website had attracted almost 250,000 visits with over 30,000 sessions being added to participants' planners. "Our past experience with our online events is that these already large numbers will increase significantly on the day," Mr Edge said.

As prospective students cannot currently visit Deakin's campuses, the video-on-demand function on the site provides campus pages that feature a range of campus specific content with new footage allowing attendees to take a socially distanced tour of the facilities, led by a current student.

Mr Edge said: "Our approach to Virtual Open Day was designed first and foremost around the student. This year we began by ensuring the event maintained the key aspects that make Open Days valuable to them.

"We know that there are a number of key reasons for a person to come to Open Day; to experience the campus and facilities, to learn more about the course they are considering, to have direct access to staff and students who can answer their questions, and ultimately to come away with a strong sense of what it's like to be part of Deakin University.

"Without doubt, Deakin Virtual Open Day is going to be one of Australia's ambitious live online events. We're looking forward to getting started."

Go to https://openday.deakin.edu.au/ to explore Deakin's first Virtual Open Day or to register.

Information regarding new courses such as those at the Warrnambool campus, will be available on the site.

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