1. Course includes Welcome and Getting Started content.

Review These Explanations

By welcoming learners to the course and providing context for what they will be learning, the instructor sets a tone for success from the start of the course. The course welcome should establish instructor presence and provide enough guidance to ensure that learners will get off to a good start in the online space. In essence, this is the learners’ first impression of the instructor, and the course.

In addition to knowing how and where to get started, learners need to know how to proceed when they first access an online course. Visual clues and simple notations, like “start here”, and “before you move on” help guide learners through course learning materials and activities.

The course welcome and getting started content should also provide an overview on, or introduce where course materials are located, and how to navigate through the learning management system to access learning content, activities, assignments, assessments, and communication tools. 

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

  • Create a course introduction video introducing learners to the course topic and learning content. Add your insight and expertise by contextualizing the learning activities alongside course and module learning objectives.
  • Provide a detailed instruction sheet or quick reference guide on how to get started and what to do first in the course. Post this on the course home page or send it out to learners via mail or course announcements.
  • Create a course introduction video that highlights your achievements in the field, and relate that knowledge and experience back to what the learners will learn in the course.
  • Create a course introduction tour via video, audio, or illustrated document, that welcomes learners to your online course and explains how and where to get started.
  • Create a FAQ that addresses important course navigation or participation issues.
  • Create a quiz or scavenger hunt that encourages learners to navigate through the course and respond to your welcome message.
  • Hold a virtual meeting session to welcome learners and explore how and where to get started in the course.

Be sure to include a script for any videos that you create in compliance with disability and accessibility laws and guidelines.

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

This Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explores the purpose and benefits of creating a course orientation module for your online course, including links to example artifacts and scholarly references:

Course Orientation Module
A Course Orientation Module serves as the orientation to an online course. Creating an Orientation Module is very similar to the events that can occur in first night of a face-to-face class. (Read more ...)

Explore Related Resources

How to Make the Most of a Video Introduction for an Online Course
From an instructor's perspective, there is a great deal of thought that goes into the creation of a new course in Moodle — everything from the template and color scheme to the best way to relay contact information, and whether to use weeks or topics to separate time. One of the most important considerations, however, might also be one of the most overlooked: How do you greet the students?

Student Perceptions of the Use of Instructor-Made Videos in Online and Face-to-Face Classes This article describes results from a study conducted to examine students’ perceptions about the use of instructor-made videos that provided explanations of course assignments, syllabus requirements, discussed weekly topics, reviewed for exams, and answered student questions in video format in both a 100% online course and in several face-to-face courses. 

Dulaney, E. (2013). Does the Credibility of the Presenter Influence Acceptance of Content in the Classroom. American International Journal of Social Science, 2(4), 14-20.

Taylor, J. M., Dunn, M., & Winn, S. K. (2015). Innovative Orientation Leads to Improved Success in Online Courses. Online Learning, 19(4), 112-120.


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