Day 1: Countdown to the Start of Your Interactive Online Course

Welcome to this 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses. Each week day for the next few weeks, you will receive in your inbox tips and tricks for teaching online. The tips will be organized to guide you through the first few critical weeks of your course, providing support to ensure the success of you and your students in this online journey.

Last Minute Checkup

We start today with a check-up. Your course starts in just a couple days. Let’s do a last minute review to ensure everything is in order.

1. Your Introduction

Is your course home page welcoming to students? Have you included your picture and some welcoming, friendly text? Can students see easily how to contact you? Here’s an example of how I like to put the intro in my classes:

2. First Email to Students

Have you emailed your students a welcome yet? Here are some details you may wish to include:

      • Some tantalizing information to motivate them to get started learning
      • How to login to the class (web address, login info, and tech help)
      • How to order textbook(s), if applicable
      • What to do first when they login (i.e. post an introduction in the first forum)
      • A suggested schedule for the first week
      • How to contact you (email & phone)

3. Your Home Page

Take a critical look at your course home page. Imagine yourself in the student’s shoes. Or get some feedback from a non-techie / non-academic person. Ask yourself some questions from the student’s point of view. Are the answers easy to find?

    • What should I do first?
    • Where is the schedule of assignments?
    • How do I contact my instructor?
    • Who else is in the class?
    • What are the requirements of this course?
    • When is the first assignment due?

Make any desired adjustments. Now, take a deep breath. Relax. You’re ready to go! Congratulations on starting this learning journey!

Your Turn

Reflect. What do you check the week before a face-to-face class? What else would you include in a last-minute check-up list? Do you agree with this list? Feel free to disagree/comment/discuss using the comment link below.

2 replies on “Day 1: Countdown to the Start of Your Interactive Online Course”

  1. This is a great idea. I put together last night and send it to my class. It also was helpful to me to remember all that I had to do this week and let students know everything up front. I have a friend who takes online classes as part of her Master’s Degree and she is always happiest when professors communicate before the first day of class. It puts her at ease. After years of hearing her stories I thought I should send out a detailed welcome email (also letting student’s know that this was only for the first week…everything is online on Moodle for them to see and be responsible for). I also realized last night that everything is EST,so if you students are not in that time zone I think it is important to let them know for due dates of dropbox assignments.

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