Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and closure of rec centers, staff have been creatively coming up with ideas on how to virtually engage students.
For example, Intramurals at Duke University has previously offered several video game tournaments on campus. With being forced to work remotely, they decided to take the tournaments online with the help of Mission Control.
“Using Mission Control to establish our leagues has been super easy,” said Edwin Molina, the information technology specialist at Duke Recreation. “Players download Mission Control’s free app to receive their game schedules and report game scores. Players will play online — practicing social distancing — on their own consoles.”
For the free online video game league, open March 29 to April 19, students download the Mission Control GG app on their phone. They then create a profile using their Duke email, select the Duke Recreation & Physical Education organization and join their favorite league from their console.
“It’s important for rec departments to be virtually active right now to provide some sense of normalcy during this time,” said Brittany Burriss, the coordinator of Intramural Sports at Duke Recreation. “College communities across the nation are having to adjust to new routines and it can be very overwhelming for everyone involved. Providing virtual and remote programming opportunities are important to let our community know we are here, and we still care about their health and well-being always.”
Molina emphasized while online gaming can be labeled with a negative stereotype to some, in the long term this offering can be the key to showing students what recreation has to offer. “We strive every day to provide inclusive, safe and fun opportunities for a very diverse group,” he said. “We hope by offering technological options such as video games, esports, online yoga, etc., we are sending a message, ‘Recreation is yours, too. Come for the tech, stay for the people, activities, facilities and learn first-hand that recreation is a wonderful place to belong to.’”
If your team is working remotely to come up with virtually engaging strategies, Burriss recommended communicating, collaborating and utilizing your resources. “Whatever tool you are using to communicate, make sure you are all on the same page,” she said. “The same thing goes for communication with your students. They are currently bombarded with different ways to communicate, which may force them to use lots of ways to keep in touch. Pick something they all use to minimize that burden so they can focus on the excellent things you have to offer.”
To find educational webinars, articles, and more to help you and your staff during the coronavirus pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Resource Page.