In addition to the Course Syllabus, which outlines many aspects of the course including topics, grading criteria, contact information, book information, policies, etc. it is an excellent practice to include some form of a course introduction as a starting point, which welcomes students into the course and provides them with a bit of information to get started in the course before diving into the course content. An online course introduction might include the following:
- Welcome note of introduction by Professor (and/or audio/video), including statement about online learning environment
- Statement about how often it is expected students will log into the course and how much time per day they should expect to spend on the course
- Statement about new online students completing the Vancko Hall Student Orientation (with hypertext link) https://vanckohall.delhi.edu/course/view.php?id=1096 and/or request students to send in copy of certificate of completion of the orientation course.
- Statement about how students can receive technical help using the Get Technical Help link ( https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/BoDKBQ ) and "How-to's for students" https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/AoCPAg
- Statement about how to best contact the instructor - using Quickmail block, Messages block, Webmail, IM, phone, Skype, a specfic discussion forum or other...
- Statement about how to use any extra forums, such as Q&A forums, introductions forums at the top of the course
- Statement about any particular software needed for course which goes above and beyond the standard software (Powerpoint viewer, a/v, Quicktime, Windows Media, specific Microsoft products, etc.)
- Statement about textbook requirements and how to obtain the textbook
- Specifics about course expectations that are not in the syllabus: weekly due dates, discussion (n)etiquette, grading rubrics, etc.
- Statement about types of files that are acceptable to turn in for assignments (rtf? doc vs. docx? wps?, jpg vs. bmp, ppt vs. pptx, pdf, etc.)
- If course contains quizzes, include link to information about taking quizzes and reporting issues during quizzes: https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/GwDDBw
- If students upload images or presentations including images, information about resizing images https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/UgDOC and compressing files https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/QADOC prior to uploading.
- Statement about the next steps to take in the course: (Read this intro, read the syllabus (with link), introduce yourself in the forum (link), take the brief course intro and syllabus self-check quiz, proceed to week 1, etc.)
Another practice to help ensure that students read the introduction and course syllabus thoroughly is to followup the introduction and syllabus with a low stakes brief quiz activity or self-check and/or include a statement within the course introduction requiring students to send the instructor some sort of "I've read and agree to..." statement.
Example Course Introduction Template
Welcome to _______, a fully online course that takes place here in Vancko Hall. (Personal instructor note...)
Although the course is online and we won't see each other face-to-face, there are some important aspects of learning online I should point out. While learning online can be quite convenient for many, it is still demanding and requires keen time management and motivation to make sure you log in and complete the work regularly.The expectation in this course is that you will log in (daily) and you should expect to spend about (15 hours) working on the course per week.
If this is your first time taking a course in Vancko Hall, I (highly recommend, require, etc.) you complete the Vancko Hall Student Orientation at https://vanckohall.delhi.edu/course/view.php?id=1096 (or request/require students to email or upload a copy of certificate of completion of the orientation course.) This will help ensure you can navigate this course, complete discussion forum posts, (take quizzes), and upload papers and assignments with ease.
GETTING TECHNICAL HELP
If you need technical assistance throughout this course, please use the Get Technical Help link, which is in the right column throughout Vancko Hall (see image https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/BoDKBQ ) or go directly to http://tinyURL.com/doehelp . Here are also so "How-to's for students" https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/AoCPAg
For questions specific to you or your grade,
My contact information is: (include email address, phone #, and instant messaging/Skype name if you desire, as well as office hours!)
I prefer you contact me by... and will return calls or emails within 24 hours.
For general questions that others in the course may have, please use the (Q&A Forum).
There will also be forums for each specific topic/unit which you can use for questions and help.
Vancko Hall does not work well with the Chrome or Safari browsers. Be sure to use Mozilla Firefox as your browser for the best VH experience. It is freely available from http://firefox.com
(This course also features videos which require the Flash plugin, MicroSoft Word 20xx, PowerPoint, etc. etc.)
The text book for this course is listed in the course syllabus and is available through the Delhi bookstore.
WEEKLY DUE DATES
While this course offers much flexibility, there are deadlines to meet.
(Discussion posts are due by 23:59 each ....) etc...
Acceptable file formats for turning in assignments are: MicroSoft Word 97-2003 (.DOC), MS Word 2008-10 (.DOCX), Rich Text Format (.RTF), PPT, PPTX, etc.. Please note that .WPS, or WordPerfect type documents are NOT acceptable.
Since this course includes quizzes, please note the following directions for taking quizzes and getting technical help if you should have an issue: https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/GwDDBw
PRESENTATION FILE SIZES
Since you'll be uploading a presentation with several images, please refer to the following on how to resize images https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/UgDOC and compressing the presentation prior to uploading for quicker upload times: https://confluence.delhi.edu/x/QADOC
(After you have read this intro, please read the syllabus (with link), introduce yourself in the introductions forum (link), an then take the brief course intro and syllabus self-check quiz, proceed to week 1, etc.)