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3 Easy Ideas for Student Introduction Assignments

Submitted by on June 17, 2013 – 2:06 pmNo Comment

young girl waving hi_2By asking students to introduce themselves at the beginning of a course, you promote social interaction and communication between students that helps pave the way for increased participation and engagement later in the course.

Although you can create introduction assignments using various methods, we’ve captured three ideas that are easy to implement and sure to get your students talking.

Basic Method

Provide students with a list of questions you would like them to respond to in their introductory post. For example:

For your introductory post, please provide the following information:

1. Tell us your name and, if you have a nickname, let us know what you like to go by.
2. Tell us what your major is, or what areas of study you are interested in pursuing.
3. If you feel comfortable, tell us a little about where you are from and any hobbies that you enjoy.
4. Tell us what you hope yo get out of this class and how you hope it will help you in your future college courses.

Once you have created your post, respond to at least two of your classmates. See if there are others who have the same interests as you or who have posted something that you find interesting. Let’s all talk a little as we get started!

A Little More Creative: Two Lies and a Truth

For this activity, ask students to introduce themselves and provide three statements—two of which are lies, one of which is true. The other students try to guess which statements are true and which are lies. This introduction idea can make for some lively conversation!

Even More Creative: Stranded on a Desert Island

This one can be done various ways, but we recommend the method captured in 8 Icebreakers Adapted for Online Student Communities, Part 1:

“If you knew you would be stranded on a desert island for 1 year, which 5 objects would you bring with you? Keep in mind there is NO electricity on the island! Choose your objects carefully then explain your choices in a short paragraph. Once you have completed your selections and posted your explanation, read and respond to at least 3 peers.”

Prevent Student Conversations from Going Flat

To keep student conversations lively and on point, clearly outline assignment expectations:

  • Provide detailed instructions for what you want students to do.
  • Include instructions describing how students should interact with their peers.

For more great ideas about how to use icebreakers in your class, check out How to Get Started with Collaborative Learning (which provides an inspiring sample assignment).

Also see 147 Practical Tips for Using Icebreakers with College Students.

Your Turn!

What icebreakers and student introduction techniques have you successfully used in your course? Share with us in the comments section!

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