Orientation is Live

The new orientation is up and running as well as the ability for everyone to create their own. I would suggest that everyone who will be involved in creating the campus orientations go through the entire main campus orientation to decide what they can/can’t use from it as well as to plan what content they will need for the campus orientations. Every orientation will be found at:


Main campus orientation is found at distance.usu.edu/orientation. However because orientations do not exist for the campuses yet, if you go to them you will be sent to the main campus orientation. In order for the orientations to work you must first create an orientation in the new orientation builder. Because there is plenty of time to create these orientations before Fall semester please take your time in speaking with the advisers and others at your campuses and planning the content you need to make. Chris would like these orientations to be no longer than 30 minuets so please try to keep them as short as possible. The current orientation may be shortened some as Chris makes further adjustments. Please use discretion when making pages in order to keep the orientations from getting too long. Below I will provide instructions on how to manage site orientations, but they are pretty self explanatory and easy to use.


After you login to the system, you will be presented with a menu with only two options: Dashboard and Orientation. The dashboard may or may not be removed by the time you first login, but it will be in the future and the only menu option will be Orientation. Click on the Orientation button and you should be directed to the Manage Orientation page. On the left you will see any existing orientations that you have permission to edit. Since none are created this list will be empty, but once an orientation exists, it will appear here and clicking on it will bring you to the orientation editor. For now, click or New Orientation. A pop-up dialog should appear with a drop down list of campuses that you have permission to create orientations for. Select the one you want, and click on “Create Orientation.”

Orientation Manager

On the previous screen there are some instructions on how to use the manager in case you ever need them, but as I said, it’s pretty easy to use. The orientation manager is all in on screen and everything can be done from one spot. A starter page is created for each orientation and the only thing unique about it is that the URL cannot be edited. It must be called “start”. The left menu labeled “Orientation Pages” shows all of the pages in your site’s orientation. As you create more pages they will populate this sidebar menu. The New Page button is found at the top of this sidebar menu along with the Import Page button.

Your orientation pages can be reordered at anytime by simply dragging them around. The first page of the orientation cannot be moved from the first position.

The text for each page in the sidebar menu is the Link Text and is the same text the user will see in the left menu when viewing the orientation. This text can be changed for any page of the orientation including the first page. At anytime you may view the page you are editing by clicking on “View Page” in the top right corner of the orientation editor form. In the main part of the form, there are a few parts: Title, URL, Link Text, Video Link, Content, and Banner Image . I will go through each in more detail below.


The title is the text that will appear at the top of the content area on the page, and just below the banner image if there is one. The title has a length limitation of 50 characters. These titles should be descriptive as to the content below them.


The URL is the location of the page. These URL is unique for the orientation in that it can be changed at any time. All orientation menu links will updated automatically when a URL is changed. Best practice is to use the dash (-) for breaking apart words in a URL. If you simply type in the URL you want with spaces, dashes will be added for you. So if you make the URL financial aid, the application will change that to financial-aid automagically.  Also good practice is to make URLs short, but descriptive of the page content at the same time. One to three or four words at most.

All URLs must be unique for each orientation or you will experience undesired results.

Link Text

Link text is the text found in the left menu. Link text, like URLs, should be short and descriptive. Avoid using long link text so it remains on one time in the menu of the orientation.

Video Link

The video link is the 11 character YouTube code found in the URL of YouTube videos. The code is found after the v= of the URL and spans 11 characters. It will end before any & symbol. See the image below to see where the YouTube code is located. Videos are embedded on the orientation page AFTER the content.


The content area of the page is embedded just before any video but after the page title. This content editor uses TinyMCE. Many buttons will look familiar to you, but you some will be new. Feel free to play around with it. Image editing and File Uploads are not yet supported but will be in the future. However the orientation should be mostly short text in combination with a video if needed.

Banner Image

Any banner image can be uploaded using the upload image button at the bottom of the page. Banner size requirements are the same as any other banner on the website.

Importing Pages

Any page from the main campus orientation can be imported into another site’s orientation. This page will be automatically updated when the same page gets updated on the main campus orientation. The import page button can be found at the top of the list of orientation pages in the side bar.

No information on imported pages can be edited. This include the URL. Be sure that an imported page’s URL does not match the URL of a page you have created.

Orientation Tracking

Clicking on the tracking menu button will bring you to the tracking data page. On the left you should see a familiar looking sidebar that should list the campuses you have permission to view orientation data for. These should be the same campuses for which you can create orientations. Clicking on one of the campuses will change the menu to have a A-Number field and possibly a list of A-Numbers of people who have viewed all or part of the orientation for the campus you selected. If you don’t know the A-Number of the person you want to view data for, you are sort of stuck here. If you do, simply enter in the A-Number of the person you which to view data for and hit “Find.”

After doing so, the right side of the page should change and it should display all of the pages of the orientation. On the top of the list you will see pages of the orientation that have been viewed by the user with that A-Number. If pages were missed you will see a blue bar that says “Missed Pages.” Below that bar are all pages of the orientation that the user has not yet viewed. In this data you will see the date of the user’s first visit, the date and time of their latest visit as well as indication if the users watched the video in it’s entirety.

A video is flagged as watched if it reaches the very end while viewing it. There is a second check that fires every 20 seconds. Every 20 seconds the page checks where the user is in the video. If they have less than 10 seconds left, it will also me marked as watched. It is possible for a user to view the video and get close to the end and hit next page and the video be marked as unwatched.

At the top right of this table you will see a quick view if the student did or did not complete the orientation. If a student viewed ALL pages, no matter if they watched all videos, this text will read, student has completed the orientation.

And that is about it. The orientation editor can be found at https://rcde.usu.edu/app. Everyone should have access as needed, but if desired I can give access to advisers or other who may need permission to edit orientations. Chris has also desired input from you or advisers or others about the current orientation at distance.usu.edu/orientation. You can either contact him directly about that orientation, leave a comment below or just send me an email.

If there is a plan to enforce orientation completion prior to registration, please do not enforce this this coming Fall semester. It would be wise to user test the orientation this coming Fall semester before any enforcement is made so if there are issues no students is adversely affected. But because of the simplicity of this new orientation, there shouldn’t be issues.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: