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Introduction Video: Why Your Online Course Needs One

Submitted by on August 7, 2013 – 12:00 pm4 Comments

If you’re unsure how to excite new students about your online course, here’s a simple solution to spark learners’ intrigue: create an engaging introduction video that makes students want to learn more. Course introductions are one of the first things students see when they begin your course, and they help set the stage for what students can expect to experience throughout the term. Impactful course introductions have the potential to

  • humanize your presence in a virtual environment.
  • excite students about what they’ll experience in your course.
  • dispel fears or uncertainty among students new to online learning.

Why video?

When you create a course introduction using video, you automatically capture students’ attention through a format that innately engages viewers. Even though creating an introduction video requires more time than a text-based version, it’s well worth the investment. Young woman using webcam

Establish Social Presence

Online instructors should establish a social presence early in the course to foster a sense of community. Impactful course introductions mimic face-to-face interaction with audio and visual media, allowing the instructor to reveal who they are, their excitement about the course subject, and their support for students’ success. In her introduction video below, Michelle Pacasky-Brock warmly welcomes students to her course. The video allows students to better understand her personality and reveals her anticipation for what students will learn.

Michelle Pacansky-Brock; History of Still Photography at Mt. San Jacinto College

Visually Demonstrate Content Relevancy

The more students see how course content relates to their everyday lives, the more likely they’ll remain interested and motivated. Impactful introductions create connections between the student and course content, demonstrating how topics expand beyond the course into the learner’s world. In this introduction video, facilitators of edX course 2.01x Elements of Structures debunk common misconceptions about the course’s relevancy, providing examples of how students apply course concepts to answer questions on interesting topics. Examples include how to figure out a magic trick and how to choose the most appropriately shaped chips for eating guacamole (double points for incorporating humor).

Dr. Simona Socrate and Dr. Alexie M. Kolpak; 2.01x Elements of Structures at MITx

But I’m no filmmaker…

That’s ok–the course introductions above were created with simple tools that require a minimal learning curve and low cost (if any). The first example video above was created with Animoto; the second example video was created with the iPad app ExplainEverything and iMovie (read more info about the 2.01x Elements of Structure introduction video). Extra tips:

Go the Extra Mile

Maintain students’ interest throughout the course by creating introduction videos to kick-off modules or lessons. By continually maintaining a social presence and demonstrating course relevancy, you’ll help keep students engaged and on track for success.

Your Turn!

Do you have other reasons for using a video introduction rather than a text-based introduction? Got a stellar introduction video that excites students about your course? Share it with us in the comments section below. [social-bio]