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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Online campus debuts graduation video

December 19, 2013

SJVC’s Online students are scattered across the nation and even dot other countries, so gowning up for a graduation ceremony at one of the California campuses is unlikely. However, the Online Division staff did not feel it was fair for their students to work so hard toward successful completion of their degree and certificate programs without any recognition or fanfare at the finish.

“Online students do just as much work as on-ground students, except that they are more self-taught, have to be very disciplined and work more independently,” says Alyssa Perry, Dean of Student Services. “But, when it came to graduation, they were not getting that big ‘Aaaah’ moment. They would get a phone call and someone from SJVC would say, ‘Congratulations, you passed your requirements; we will mail your certificate of completion.’”  Not quite the celebration that their effort and accomplishment deserved.

Four months ago the Online staff began work on the production of an Online graduation ceremony video. It took a great deal of coordination among staff to complete the 18-minute video that introduces staff presenters, including Alyssa Perry, Ash Carter, Site Coordinator, and various Student Advisors, who announce the names of recent graduates.

The video combines a stagnant stage and podium illustration with a pre-recorded ‘talking head’ at the podium who speaks to the viewing audience, provides a commencement address, and announces the names of those graduating. Various staff step into each of those roles. Now that the video base is built, the names of subsequent graduates can be easily implanted, and graduation ceremonies might occur every two months. The current student population of approximately 400 will enjoy their eventual ‘commencement’ moment, as well.

Alyssa Perry acknowledges that this initial video effort is just the first step in the evolution of an expanded and more sophisticated video presentation of this landmark event.

In the 8-years the Online campus has been operational, there has never been an in-person graduation exercise; the nature of distance learning makes such a venture untenable. However, the campus’ foray into a video experience paves the way to better engage Online students in the celebration of their accomplishments.

Online’s new graduation video honors 105 graduates (June 1, 2013 – Sept. 1, 2013) from Medical Office Administration, Construction Management, Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting, Business Administration and Technical Studies programs. Eighty-seven certificates and 18 Associate of Science degrees were awarded.

“This is not only an important acknowledgement of our graduates, but a milestone for the campus as pioneers of video graduation exercises,” says Ms. Perry, who found few Online college examples available.

In addition, the Online staff and faculty now have a collection of video ‘bloopers’ for their next team-building exercise for staff and faculty.

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