The first two weeks of your online course offer a unique opportunity to create a learning space that feels welcoming and coherent for students. Sending out a warm and informative welcoming message can set the tone for the course.

The Announcements activity in eLearn allows you to send out a message that will appear both in the course and in an email to all enrolled students. Here are some things to include:

  • Introduce yourself and your connection to the course subject.
  • Communicate your excitement about working with them.
  • Tell them about the technologies you’ll be using in the course and encourage them to set them up and try them out.
  • Give a broad outline of the course and any major projects coming up.
  • Let them know about the resources available to them to help set themselves up for success as online learners.

Here are some examples for inspiration: 

Text Welcome Message

Courtesy of Laurie Prange-Martin, School of Business

Greetings to all my future students in BADM460 and BADM466 Spring 2021! Hello!!! You’re receiving this email because you’ve signed up to learn with me next semester. Thank you so much for signing up to learn with me next semester. I can’t wait to meet all of you!! 😄 Let me update you on some things most students like to know in advance! 🙂

    1. Spring 2021 starts January 11th, not Jan. 4th
      1. The semester will now start a week later in support of everyone’s health and well-being
      2. For more details, go here: https://www.capilanou.ca/about-capu/get-to-know-us/news/2020/title-1214877-en.php 
    2. eLearn course site
      1. The course site will be available mid-December for you to preview the semester
      2. Yes, it will be detailed because I’m a keen user of this tool to maximize your learning success
      3. The best feature for students is the calendar block (see image below), so take time to learn it, okay?
      4. Before classes start, please download the CapU eLearn app https://www.capilanou.ca/mycapu/it-services/employees/elearn/the-capu-elearn-app/
    3. Textbook
      1. Mandatory textbooks, readings, and videos are all available for free from the CapU Library through arrangements I’ve made
      2. That’s right, there’s nothing to buy for my courses
    4. [insert information on Major Project, Teaching Philosophy, Office Hours]
    5. MS Teams, not Zoom
      1. I teach our weekly class meetings in MS Teams because, for cost reasons, more businesses use it than Zoom
      2. Yes, attendance is mandatory, but not graded. Simply keep me informed on your absences because we’re in a pandemic and I’ll worry. Thanks!
      3. If you haven’t had your weekly class meetings yet in MS Teams, you will want to seek support from the Student Digital Ambassadors.
      4. Ambassadors are available virtually Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. via Microsoft Teams.

    If you have any questions, please let me know 😄 Kind regards, Laurie

    Video Welcome

    You can also record a short video introducing yourself and the course and add it to the Announcement message. This is a great way to establish a teaching presence in the course. You can encourage students to do the same (if they feel comfortable) in an opening icebreaker activity.

    Courtesy of Heather Chappells, School of Social Sciences 

    Welcome to Our Course

    Remember that the production values for these welcome messages don’t have to be high. Just make sure that you have a light in front of you and that your voice is audible. You can embed a video from your Kaltura media list directly into your Announcement.

    The beginning of term is a busy time for everyone but setting aside time to welcome students into your course with warmth and enthusiasm as well as the resources they need will help set the stage for a positive experience.