Create an Introduction for Your Course

Create an Introduction for Your Course

The week prior to the start of class is the optimal time to check-in with students and reaffirm information you may have already sent via email. In addition to restating information regarding course expectations, technology requirements, etc., set the expectation that students will troubleshoot access to any of the course technologies prior to the official start of the class. Technology issues happen, and by troubleshooting potential issues prior to beginning coursework, students help ensure their own success. 

Week 0: Preview Week

Create a "Prior to the Start of This Course" or "Getting Started" or "Week 0: Introduction" module detailing everything you want the students to read, register for, purchase, review training on, or just test out prior to the official start of the course. This module should be dedicated to learning how to use the course site, along with the additional course requirements detailed in the schedule and syllabus.

Useful elements to include in a Week 0 module include:

Course walkthrough. Create a video overview or tour of the course using a tool such as Kaltura Personal Capture or Screencast-o-matic. Walk the students through the structure of an example course module. Describe their expected learning path, and demonstrate accessing various technologies. 

Third-party tools and training materials. Provide help guides or links to vendor-supplied instructions for tools you will be utilizing in the course. If you will be using Proctorio for online exam proctoring, this would be a good time to have students take the Proctorio practice quiz.

Course Q & A Discussion. Create a discussion forum to capture questions and answers related to the course. Encourage students to post questions to the forum, and monitor it regularly. Keep this forum available throughout the course.

Course Checklist. Create a "Course Checklist" for students. One variation might include everything that a student needs to know or do prior to the official start of the class (sort of like a "preflight" checklist). Another variation identifies all of the course-related tasks for each week of the course. This provides students with a quick reference for key activities, organizes their learning path, and assists them in better managing their time during the course.

Week 0 Quiz. Create a brief quiz that focuses on key takeaways from the syllabus, schedule, and technology requirements. Incentivize the quiz either with bonus points or by making it required to unlock the first module’s content.

TOP TIP: Download the MU Template 2020 course from Canvas Commons. It includes a Week 0: Introduction module that you can modify for your own course.