Breaking the Virtual Barrier At Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Open House 2022
Major school events such as open house have had to adapt to the aftermath of COVID-19 and its restrictions. Htet Htet Nay Aung finds out how Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) brings both on-campus and virtual experiences for this year’s open house.
Htet Htet Nay Aung
People and npTribune Section Editor
Hype Issue #54
February 9, 2021
Like everything else that had been hit by COVID-19 and its regulations, NP’s open house had to go fully online last year. But don’t log out just yet, they’ve brought the ‘XTRA’ back into the game with this year’s hybrid open house to cater to both online and offline experiences!
If you’ve ever been to any polytechnic open house with your group of friends, you might remember it as a fun outing to explore your post-secondary choices. However, with restrictions on social gatherings, visitors who were interested in the on-campus tours had to strictly sign up before attending the event.
Livia Chiow, 20, an NP Ambassador who was a part of planning and executing this year’s open house, felt that “having online events (and no walk-ins) catered more towards those more proactive in joining the polytechnic” as they would be the ones willing to take the extra step to sign up for the tours and programmes.
NP Ambassadors had to keep track of people who signed up for on-campus tours diligently to ensure that everything proceeded smoothly and safely. Photo courtesy of Livia.
“Providing the welcoming spirit and the ‘XTRA’ for the visitors was challenging as before the pandemic, our voices could be heard around the campus, which makes it more lively. However, since we are unable to shout as much, it has become a lot quieter,” says Nathaleen Tan, 20, who was part of the NP Ambassadors team who welcomed visitors at the School of Film & Media Studies.
Providing the welcoming spirit and the ‘XTRA’ for the visitors was challenging as before the pandemic, our voices could be heard around the campus, which makes it more lively. However, since we are unable to shout as much, it has become a lot quieter.
Though it may be sad to see a lack of loud enthusiasm coming from NP Ambassadors and visitors alike around the entire campus, the NP Ambassadors have worked tirelessly to adapt and continue making the open house accessible for everyone.
The NP Ambassadors were assigned to different committees that handled different segments of the hybrid open house. These committees consisted of the online programme team who were responsible for virtual programmes, as well as the marketing and welcoming committee which Livia and Nathaleen were a part of respectively.
Despite the restrictions on social interactions, NP Ambassadors still welcomed visitors into the campus with the same level of enthusiasm. Photo courtesy of Livia.
Packed with both on-campus and live guided virtual tours, webinars, e-Taster classes and more, the three days of hybridised open house had many virtual highlights and was certainly not lacking compared to the previous on-campus open houses. In fact, it might even be better.
“I think that it attracted more visitors as they can join the programmes at any time and anywhere, which makes it easier for them to access,” says Nathaleen.
Live Guided Virtual Campus Tours
Have you ever seen those property advertisements on YouTube where they guide you around and show off the best features of the apartment? That’s exactly what the live guided virtual campus tour was like!
The virtual campus tours were broadcasted live twice a day at 11am and 3pm respectively across the three days of open house. Photo taken from Instagram.
For those who weren’t interested in travelling to campus over safety and health concerns, the virtual tour was a perfect substitute for getting them familiar with our good old campus. Sure, it wouldn’t beat seeing our vibrant campus with nine academic schools and three fully air-conditioned food courts in person, but this virtual tour offered a personalised experience for viewers joining from the comfort of their homes.
However, at the end of the day, there’s no way of telling which version of the campus tour is better as every visitor has their own preference. Some people prefer the virtual experience as it is simply more relaxed and provides a conducive environment for asking questions. Others might find the experience slightly out of the norm and feel shy or awkward to join in on the interactive virtual experience.
“If you had told me to join a virtual campus tour or direct me to Telegram chats with the ambassadors, I probably wouldn’t have gone for either as I would have felt awkward and had no questions I wanted to ask,” says Livia.
If you had told me to join a virtual campus tour or direct me to Telegram chats with the ambassadors, I probably wouldn’t have gone for either as I would have felt awkward and had no questions I wanted to ask.
A personal favourite from this year’s open house is the e-Taster classes, which allowed students to have a taste of certain courses by attending a 30-minute lecture. That’s like getting a one-month free trial before having to pay for your subscription!
Viewers joined in on lectures conducted by different lecturers to have an experience of what polytechnic life in the classroom is like. Photo taken from Instagram.
When one is freshly out of secondary school, the difference in teaching and learning culture in polytechnics might be jarring for some.
Even then, different polytechnics have different styles and methods of teaching, as well as classroom culture. It might simply be too stressful to decide what would work best for each individual without even having an idea of what it would be like.
With the e-Taster classes, viewers were able to observe how things worked to further give them more information before evaluating the next step in their education.
Webinars and E-counselling sessions
You might have seen the ‘Find Your Dream Course’, ‘Next Steps After Poly’, ‘All About Admissions (O-Level)’ and ‘Scholarship’ webinars, and there’s just too many to choose from, but that’s what’s so amazing about it! No matter which webinar visitors chose to attend, they were packed with useful information to help them make an educated decision.
Visitors who attended the webinars have even taken to social media platforms such as Instagram to express their gratitude as these webinars were helpful in guiding them with the next step of their education path.
Attendees of the webinars were appreciative of the convenience and informative content. Photo taken from Instagram.
For others who had burning questions to ask about academic or student life in poly, the webinars may not be enough to sustain their curiosity. And that’s where the e-counselling sessions come into play! These two-hour long e-counselling sessions allowed prospective students to attend the session alone or with friends to have a chat with NP lecturers and get their inquiries answered.
These counselling sessions had many of our NP lecturers from different academic schools on standby to answer all the curious questions of a young and enthusiastic crowd.
“We had to formulate ideas that would be quality content to post and are trendy, while maintaining professionalism,” says Livia (second from right).
With TikTok videos featuring trending dances and audios paired with engaging and interactive story updates on the Instagram page, the ambassadors were able to to reach the target audience and ensure the success of NP’s hybrid open house.
Although it may be somewhat disappointing to see a major school event go digital, it’s certainly a feat in itself that we have been able to overcome the challenges as a school and make the best out of it.
“Be adaptable and be sure to plan but expect changes along the way, nothing is set in stone!” says Livia.
Be adaptable and be sure to plan but expect changes along the way, nothing is set in stone!