Best Practices in Introducing Students to your Course

The following best practice principles can guide instructor strategies for introducing and welcoming students to an online course. 

Click each item to expand.


Apply to your Course: Resources & Tools 

There are several activities and technologies available for you to welcome students to your course and to facilitate students connecting with each other. 

 

Welcome Activity

Purpose

UMass Supported Tools 

Welcome Video

Introduce yourself and the course to your students, providing them with key information about your expectations

  • EchoVideo
  • VoiceThread
  • Zoom

 

Course Orientation/ Navigation Video

Help students learn the routine, expectations, and organization of your course.
  • EchoVideo
  • VoiceThread
  • Zoom

Student Introductions

Create community and build social presence in a course
  • Canvas Discussion Boards
  • Canvas Studio
  • VoiceThrea

Student Icebreakers

Help students feel connected and engaged
  • Canvas Discussion Boards
  • Canvas Studio
  • VoiceThread

 

References

Chen, B., Thompson, K., Sugar, A., & Vargas, J. (2015a). Implement a course orientation module. In B. Chen & K. Thompson (Eds.), Teaching online pedagogical repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

Chen, B., Raible, J., Bauer, S., & Thompson, K. (2015b). Send a welcome message. In B. Chen & K. Thompson (Eds.), Teaching online pedagogical repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning.

Cornelius, K. (2020). 4 Easy Ways to Welcome Students to Your Online Course. Leeward CC Educational Media Center. (n.d.). Self Introduction Videos.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T, & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2, 87–105.

O'Keefe, L., Rafferty, J., Gunder, A., & Vignare, K. (2020). Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online in Response to COVID-19: Faculty Playbook. Online Learning Consortium.

Stylinski, T. (2020). Planning Your Course Trailer. New Haven, CT: Yale University Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. 

The Ohio State University College of Public Health (n.d.). Sample Script for a Welcome Video.

University of Washington Bothell, Information Technologies. (n.d.) Icebreaker ideas for students learning remotely

University of Wisconsin Madison. (n.d.). Example Welcome Message.

Williams, Laura. 2017, Jan 13. FYE 105 Online Course Overview Orientation. Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

How to cite this page:

UMass Amherst IDEAS Team. (2024, April). Welcome Learners to Your Course. https://www.umass.edu/ideas/welcome-learners-your-course