The first day of class will be more crucial than ever both for your students and for you, amid the challenges of Covid-19.

On the first day of a new semester, students are forming a lasting impression not just of you as a teacher but of your course, too. Their early, thin-slice judgments are powerful enough to condition their attitudes toward the entire course, the effort they are willing to put into it, and the relationship they will have with you and their peers throughout the semester.

So that first class meeting is a big deal — and maybe even more so now as we continue to deal with a global pandemic. In a virtual classroom, you face particular challenges in fostering relationships among students in the course, and between you and your students.

Quick videos and discussion boards offer you great opportunities to build community. Some options:

  • Introduce yourself through a brief opening video and describe yourself more formally in a “Meet the Instructor” page included in your course pages. Present your formal credentials and intellectual journey on the page, and speak more informally in the video.
  • Invite students to ask you questions about yourself.
  • Have students introduce themselves to one another in a discussion post, either in writing or in a video. Post a comment or question in response to each student, just to let them know that you are present for them and interested in their learning.

Continue reading:How to Teach a Good First Day of Class,” by James M. Lang

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