Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Holly Foster

Committee Chair School



To the MS in Applied Statistics, Analytics & Data Science program at the University of Kansas, the orientation process, between accepting an offer of admission and starting the first day of classes, takes approximately 7 steps. Students to this program, typically online non-traditional working professionals, were sent an email with directions on how to complete the steps, and the students self-guided their way through the process using the email. The steps must be completed in a specific order and some steps require overnight processing before the next step can be initiated. When students were unable to complete the process on their own, they would contact a student resource office for assistance. This utilized valuable institutional personnel time. A new guided orientation process was developed that takes a more incremental approach with one email sent for each step that includes a video link with audio and video guides on how to complete the step, tailored towards the needs of a diverse online and adult learner population.

The old process continued in the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 terms, and the new process was implemented in the Fall 2020 term. We assessed the effectiveness of the new guided orientation process at decreasing student frustration, improving student orientation experiences, decreasing the assistance students need to successfully complete the orientation steps, and improving the newly admitted student’s first impression of the institution, department, and program. Surveys were given to all students during the three 2020 terms. The results of the Spring and Summer student surveys were compared to the Fall student surveys to assess the change in students' opinions, experiences, resource usages, and first impressions. Analyses showed no statistically significant improvements in student opinions or experiences. However, there was a significant improvement in students first impressions of the institution, and increased independence with establishing email and getting connected to the department LinkedIn page.