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Class of 2019, get ready for even more pre-New Student Orientation information — without the classic face of Marcus Mundy.

The incoming class will be expected to complete four online pre-orientation programs as part of a new project called Thrive at Penn. The topics will cover how to thrive at a research university, how to maintain wellness and health, the risks associated with alcohol and other drugs and healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention.

While TAP will incorporate alcohol and drug prevention education as the well-known PennAM did, it will feature a completely revised program. Incoming freshmen will no longer meet Marcus and his friends.

Director of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives David Fox said that providing more content pre-NSO will give students the chance to understand the information “at their own pace, at a quieter time before they are thrown in.” The courses will include video, interactive question and answer sections, text and other links.

Beginning at the end of NSO last year, many groups have collaborated on the development of the content. For example, Director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Jessica Mertz is working on the module that will focus on the policies, procedures and resources on campus intending to complement the event “Speak About It”, a new addition to NSO in 2014.

Student Financial Services, the undergraduate deans and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Life, among other offices, all had a hand in the project, which includes modules like the “Penn Ten” — or the ten things you ought to remember to do before you get here.

Other aspects of the program will have FAQs. The questions most often asked to the University Honor Council about what constitutes plagiarism and academic integrity will be incorporated into a feature of the site.

“All of these pieces will make for a smoother, more familiar entry into Penn,” Fox said, but added that the program is not meant to substitute for any of the major NSO informational events.

For example, “We’re not going to move the safety session online,” he said, saying that it’s helpful for freshmen to feel the “energy of the room” and even to see Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush in person.

The widely-used Canvas system will host the program and will allow students to return to it to access the information provided at any time. “You’ll be able to go back and use this as kind of an index,” Fox said.

TAP serves the dual purpose of familiarizing students with how to use the online platform before entering the classroom, he said.

While the courses are not graded per se, they are considered mandatory. Using the statistics that Canvas provides, administrators will know who logs in, for how long and more. Fox compared it to the Penn Reading Project, saying, “You don’t get an F on your transcript if you don’t go, but we expect you to go.”

In his experience running NSO programming, he thinks freshmen are typically eager to learn as much as possible about Penn prior to arriving and thinks participation will reflect that.

Fox said they intend to follow up with freshmen a few months after completing the course to gather information about how much they remember or how much they believed it helped, as well as continue to modify and add to the content. In the future, there might be a similar lexicon of information and version of TAP available for parents.

While the exact release date is not set since the courses are still in development and await approval, students can expect to be able to access TAP in July or August.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the TAP program will incorporate programming from PennAM. In actuality, it will utilize completely revised programming. The DP regrets the error.

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