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Welcome Announcement: Paving a Path for Students’ First Steps toward Success

Submitted by on July 19, 2013 – 12:00 pmNo Comment

Your online course should challenge learners; however, this challenge should lie in the learning process where knowledge and skill sets expand, not in the access to that learning.

A small but impactful step towards easing this access is to create a welcome announcement that clearly communicates how to get started and how to navigate through your course. While this information may be obvious to you (the course designer), it’s not always as obvious to students. Without this information, learning may be hindered before students begin to work through course content.

walking on path

How to Create a Welcome Announcement

The welcome announcement should be the first thing students see when they enter the course, and it should capture the two elements outlined in Quality Matters Standard 1.1:

Quality Matters Standard 1.1: Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.

See the sample below. This welcome announcement is impactful because

  • it’s simple and straightforward.
  • it combines a brief instructor welcome and a clear explanation of where components are located within the course.
  • it directs students toward the “Start Here” section of the course so that they know where to begin.

For more tips and examples on creating welcome announcements, see Helpful Strategies and Tips: Welcome Letter.

Sample Announcement

Welcome to English Composition! I’m very excited to be your instructor this semester, and I can’t wait to get started and get to know each of you better!

The following information will help you start getting around in our course:

  • Start Here! This is the first place to go for the course. It has all the information you need to walk you through the course and get you ready to start the first Module.
  • Announcements: This is where I will post notifications that grades are ready, reminders, and other important information.
  • Staff Information: This area contains information about me, including contact information.
  • Syllabus and Course Information: This area contains a printable copy of the course syllabus and a course calendar showing due dates and other important schedule information. Please print both of these out for your records. Information on policies and other guidelines for the course are also found here.
  • Modules: This is the area where you will find your readings, assignments, and activities for the course.
  • Discussion Board: This is a link to the discussion area for the class. This is where you will share ideas and information with everyone else in the course.
  • Where to Get Help: This area has helpful links and information such as how to get technical help, or contact the library and writing center. There is a printable version of this page that you can print out and keep handy in case of technological glitches!

To get started in our course, please click START HERE on the menu and follow the instructions.  I look forward to working with all of you this semester!

Your Turn!

How do you get students off to a good start in your course? How does your welcome announcement look different than the sample above? Share your ideas with us so we can learn from you!

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