First Day Virtual Class Tips

11th October, 2020

The first day of class is very crucial for both students and the instructor. The first day sets the tone for the course. Students are anxious to know your expectations and what it takes to succeed in the course. They tend to form an opinion of the instructor and about the course during the first week of classes. Hence, this is the best opportunity to establish and communicate to the students your expectations and commitment to their learning. The following are some tips for the first day of class, particularly in an online environment.

  • Welcome your students and introduce yourself through your prefered LMS. This is best done using a recorded video posted to the LMS.
  • Convey the value and importance of the subject through the introductory video or during the first class meeting. You need to help them understand the significance of the course.
  • Discuss the important aspects of the syllabus such as the learning outcomes, expectations, and grading scheme.
  • Provide clear expectations in writing on different types of online assessments and their grading scheme
  • Inform students on when and how they should expect support and feedback on their online learning experiences
  • Advise students on impotant aspects of online learning.
  • Communicate your office hour; when and how to schedule appointments (e-mail, phone call policies, etc) as well as the platform that will be used ( MS Teams, Zoom, blackboard)
  • Communicate your commitment to the students’ learning experience
  • Obtain information about the characteristics of the students and their prior knowledge of the course. This may be done through a questionnaire and/or a quiz.
  • Call students by their names
  • Emphasize the importance of fostering a collaborative online environment where students will have to work in groups and teams.
  • Communicate clearly what evidence you will be using to verify their learning.

Remember that it is imperative that you use the first class to introduce whatever you want the students to do the rest of the semester. If you want them to discuss, discuss on the first class and if you want them to work in small groups, then find something for them to do in small groups.

The Teaching and Learning Center wishes you a fruitful and enjoyable semester