A course introduction message is a powerful and engaging way to welcome students to a course. Instructors can summarize the core course topics and learning objectives while also building excitement and anticipation for the educational journey they are about to embark on.
Tell a Story
A common pitfall is to reread the course syllabus because it shares a similar introductory function in the course, but the introduction message should also excite and inspire students. A way to do this is to incorporate anecdotes into your message. What stories can you tell that will not only inform students of the course topics and objectives but also get them excited to dive into the course? Whether the goal is to educate, persuade, or encourage action, telling stories is an effective way to improve student engagement in a course.
Sample Outline and Talking Points
Use this sample outline as a starting point for crafting your message.
- Welcome and Introductory Statement
- Your name
- Course Subject Matter
- What are the core course topics?
- What are the core course learning objectives?
- Why is the subject matter important? If it is a part of an overall program, why is it a part of the curriculum? How does it connect to the bigger program picture?
- How will students be able to apply their knowledge to other courses?
- How will students be able to apply their knowledge in their careers and personal lives?
- How can you connect the course to the real world?
- Encourage students and wish them good luck.
- Say thanks and goodbye.
Make It Evergreen
Course introduction messages should focus on the course. Your message should still work even if another instructor facilitates the course. Additionally, your message should focus on the fundamental pillars of the course and not the structural details. Center your message on course topics and objectives and not on things like grading rubrics, course schedules/calendars, the number of quizzes, or assignment specifics. Below are some example statements to avoid. Following these guidelines will keep your message flexible and ensure it stands the test of time.
- Don’t frame yourself as the facilitating instructor
- “I am excited to be your instructor for this course”
- “We will be working together throughout the semester”
- Avoid detailed course scaffolding statements
- “There are 3 exams, 10 quizzes, and 10 assignments”
- “Quizzes are worth 10 points each”
- “Your first assignment is a group assignment”
- “This course spans 14 weeks”
- Avoid statements that date your message
- “This is the first semester that this course is being offered”
- “This fall semester….”
- “As we start off the new year…”
- Avoid referencing specific tools or resources
- “Our main text will be (insert text name)”
- “You’ll use Bongo in the second exercise”
Your message should be succinct. An ideal length is about 2-5 minutes.
You can deliver your course introduction messages in a multitude of formats. Below are the most common. Whichever you choose is up to you! If you don’t have a preference, however, and your course development schedule allows it, we recommend recording a video in our studio.
Video (studio recording)
Recorded in our studio in Madison, WI. Faculty write a script and read from a teleprompter.
Faculty record their video on their own. Resources and training are provided if needed!
A slide deck with text, visuals, and audio narration.
Just a voice recording. Similar to a podcast.
Written format added to a page in the course. This is the default format for course introduction messages that are created when a course is in maintenance.
Published on July 05, 2022 at 8:57:20 am CDT. Last modified on March 13, 2023 at 9:37:39 am CDT.