New College Pontefract’s first ever ‘Virtual Open Event’ turns out to be a great success

New College Pontefract hosted its first ever ‘Virtual Open Event’ in November, in what turned out to be a great success.

The college, recently voted Sixth-Form College and Overall FE Provider of the Year in the TES FE Awards 2020, took the decision to host their first Virtual Open Event in response to the COVID restrictions put in place.

New College Pontefract launched their Virtual Open Event website in November

The restrictions limited the college from hosting a planned Open Event on site. So instead, the college created an online portal, the Virtual Open Event website, giving prospective students and their parents the chance to view content from every course in one place.

The website features a ‘Principal’s Welcome’ video from Vicky Marks, along with over 40 videos with a member of teaching staff from every department covering what their course can offer to students. These subject videos are accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation going into each course in more detail.

Users are also given the chance to virtually navigate around New College Pontefract through the purpose-built Matterport tour. This allows them to get a feel for the college environment, by clicking through a tour of every building on site.

Perhaps the major feature of the Virtual Open Event website was its ‘Live Q&A’ sessions, allowing users to submit questions via webchat for the members of staff to answer. This gave the parents and potential students a realistic opportunity to find out more about what New College Pontefract could offer to them. Users had the chance to ask questions to members of the senior leadership team, too, as well as additional areas of support such as the pastoral team, the careers department and more.

With all the content available for users to access from the comfort of their own homes, everything was in place for a successful night. The website’s traffic data illustrates how successful the event was.

Traffic figures for the Virtual Open Event website

The website went live a week before the Virtual Open Event, giving time to access all the content and view courses in preparation for the Q&A sessions to begin at 5pm on the evening. It had attracted over 2700 unique visitors only 14 days after the event, with more than half of these visiting on the day of the event itself.

The social media response illustrated that those who accessed the event found it useful too, with one user commenting: ‘It was a really good event. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see what New College Pontefract will be like’. Another parent also gave a glowing review of the evening, saying ‘Thanks to all involved for adapting so well so we could still get a taste of New College!’.

Following the success of the virtual Open Event, the college has left the website in place to allow people to access it. One user mentioned that ‘having all the videos available to watch again is very useful’.

If you would like to access content, including subject overview videos, presentations and walk around site using the Matterport tour, visit openevent.ncpontefract.ac.uk. If you have think that New College is the right place for you, visit ncpontefract.ac.uk/apply to start the application process.