We’ve made great strides in remote learning, working, and social distancing in the last year. But no matter how great the technology or support, those big events like graduation ceremonies, are much harder to recreate virtually because of the weight and importance of the day. College, high school, even elementary school graduations are still being held virtually in many places this spring.

Recently, Edmentum published a Virtual Graduation Guide, complete with “different options to consider, sample events, tips for development, and suggestions for evaluating event success to help ensure that this major milestone in your students’ academic careers is properly recognized.”

Here are our favorite takeaways.

Format Options

Though your first thought may be to just set up a camera and use the same schedule and script from years past for your virtual graduation ceremony, there are a few choices you have to make.

The first option is to have a live webinar. This consists mostly of having one or two presenters in the actual physical recording space, and everyone else tunes in via computer from their own remote space. You can incorporate graduates by offering video and audio cues: have everyone turn on their webcams at the end to recognize everyone and to potentially hear the applause for the ceremony.

Another option is to pre-record. This offers more flexibility in some ways. There shouldn’t be any weird surprises, and this also allows for more personalization – each student can submit a quote or saying to be read as their name is announced, for example.

And the third option is a live stream of an on-site ceremony. This would mean all presenters, faculty, and staff can be in attendance physically (so long as social distancing guidelines can be accommodated), but the graduates and their families would be watching from home.

These options all come with their own pros, cons, and levels of formality. Take some time to think about what format would be best for the type of ceremony and feelings you are trying to evoke.

Incorporating Engagement

Graduations connect people from all over the country and the world. That connection and feeling of community should be present in your virtual graduation ceremony.

Edmentum offers a host of great solutions to add that audience engagement back into the big day. You can use an existing school social media presence and create rooms, groups, or events where students, family, and friends can share well wishes and congratulations or post “then and now” photos or other fun memories. You can also create a commencement webpage on your school website to accomplish the same thing.

Adding music elements also heightens the excitement. From the tried-and-true classical Pomp and Circumstance number to more modern songs that describe the year or occasion, you can create a mood with music during the ceremony and outside of it – create a playlist for everyone to follow along with or to get them amped up about the festivities to come.

Details That Take the Day from Meh to Meaningful

There is also a myriad of personal touches you can incorporate to make the day feel more “real.”

The first big tip is: Don’t skip the cap and gown. The whole existence of these items is to lend weight and purpose to the day through this special outfit. Every student should still get that moment to move their tassel from right to left. Allow students to take webcam photos and screenshots with their friends and family so they have evidence of the day.

Virtual speakers can include graduation decorations or backgrounds on your video screen. This makes the day feel more special than watching screens full of living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices.

And don’t forget the diploma – it’s the largest token of the day. Mail diplomas enough in advance that students will receive them before the big day. You can send them instructions not to open the actual diploma package until the day of, to recreate the “receiving a diploma” feeling.

And don’t forget to have fun and show some excitement!

Virtual Graduation Ceremony Production with MMITC

Trying to plan a virtual graduation ceremony or party for your 2021 grads? Meet Me In The Cloud can help you manage all aspects of events from as small as a weekly team meeting to as large as a graduation ceremony or corporate conference. For more information, check out our Event Assist services.

Have questions? Contact us today!

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