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Rock the first day!

January 8, 2016
Rock Concert

The Spring semester starts Tuesday at Notre Dame, and instructors are thinking about how they can get off on the right foot. Spending most of the time going through a syllabus is one of the worst ideas — another is excusing students early, as if you can’t think of anything to do.

Work on creating a first impression that reflects what students will be doing during the course. Technology figures into this in several ways; here are a few.

Ahead of time

  • Classroom technology – avoid surprises by making sure you know what is in the room and how to use it.
  • Welcome email – enthusiastically tell students a little about the course,  perhaps including a link to an appropriate video.
  • Online syllabus – posting it on a website means it’s always available. If you have to make changes, any new versions should indicate when they were updated.

During class

  • Presentation – use high-quality images to tell a story embodying a course concept that comes up early. PLEASE don’t fill slides with bullet points!
  • Survey – use Poll Everywhere or another response technology to get a sense of students’ prior knowledge or learn about their expectations for the course.
  • Concept map – ask students to create an image with Google Draw or Slides, illustrating how they (or an expert) would explain a topic or issue.

Here’s some more help – 20 ways to rock the first day!

Image credit: flickr photo by motumboe shared under a Creative Commons license.

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