Avatars and other introductions
Having students introduce themselves to you and their classmates during the early days of a college class is important. It helps you start to learn names and get to know the students. Since they often don’t know each other, this can be the first step in building mutual trust for group collaboration. With a little creativity you can even weave course material into this kind of icebreaker.
On the first day of my multimedia class the students create an avatar. As I was developing the assignment I created the avatar you see here. I do have gray hair and wear glasses, but in most ways it’s an “aspirational” image …
Here are the instructions from the course website:
- Choose one of these websites:
- Create an avatar – something you might use as a profile image later on.
It doesn’t have to look like you but should tell something about who you are.
- Download the picture
- Submit a JPG or PDF file
This may seem like a trivial task, but in the process of doing the exercise the students see examples of interactive multimedia, capture a screen and crop it in PhotoShop, submit an assignment online, and work their creative chops. As I walk around the lab and watch the students, I begin get a sense of how they perceive themselves and whether some might be technically challenged by the course. The image also becomes a topic of conversation during our one-on-one meetings the following week.
More Ideas for Introductions
Several other projects described in this blog can be used for introductions. The first two include personal examples that tell you a little more about me.
- I am from poetry and machines – write and record a “Where I’m from” poem
- Creating seriously good comics online – create a comic about yourself
- Best tools and practices for concept mapping – map your interests and show how they connect
[Credits – original image, made with Create Your Own Superhero]