Online Introduction and Start Up

IMG_1859Online Environment

As an online instructor I found it difficult getting started as the courses began. I quickly realized that many students new to the online environment are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start or seasoned online students just want to get started.  Often times, I discovered students skimmed over or didn’t view introduction posts and other pertinent information, such as the syllabus.  To my amazement many students weren’t aware of the program policies, even though students have been in the program for a year. 

Sparked an Idea

After my courses started I would begin to get email upon email with questions that were easily answered with written material within the online environment or my syllabus.  This sparked an idea!  I began using Camtasia Relay to record an introduction to my courses as well as an overview of Blackboard, how to navigate through Learning Plans, and post assignments.  Another area I reviewed was my syllabus, emphasizing program specific policies and course calendar.  Each semester I update and add information to my introductions, including topics or technology concerns that students may have faced with in the previous semester.  I have found that this simple idea has reduced the number of questions for me to answer at the beginning of each semester as well as students having less anxiety and difficulties getting started.

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