The Getting Started Page for Online Courses

What students have said about instructors’ introductions:

“The introduction was great and really helpful. He made it clear that he was readily available to help students and told us about himself briefly.”

“Teachers wrote a lot about themselves and their thoughts which did help make the course more enjoyable. It made the course feel livelier with all the image postings and videos. This helped students stay interested in the class.”

When instructors don’t introduce themselves, some students give feedback like this:

“I felt uncomfortable asking the teacher questions because I didn’t know anything about him besides his name.”

A getting started page is the online equivalent of greeting students in a traditional class on the first day. Its primary purposes are to welcome them, provide an overview of the course, set the tone, and state your expectations in terms of student time and effort. The following elements are recommended:

  • Welcome students to the class. Introduce yourself (or explain that you'll introduce yourself in the discussion board and ask them to do the same). Provide a photo or video of you introducing yourself.
  • Give an overview of the course and describe its context within the discipline.
  • Explain how you will be accessible to students throughout the course and how they can get help when they are stuck or confused.
  • Provide a short list of specific next steps to get started.