Become an Innovative Online Nurse Educator

Orienting Students to Your Online Course - 3 Part Series - Part 3: Creating a Welcome Module

Dec 24, 2019
So far we have discussed the importance of having an Orientation video, and a Syllabus Overview when orienting your students to your online class. Now we will discuss the importance of having a Welcome-Start Here Module. First, imagine yourself as a first time online student who is used to having face to face classes where the instructor is available throughout the entire class time and can easily answer any questions you have. The only thing you have to know is the room your class meets in and the time class starts and you can attend class to have all your questions answered. But now, in this online course, you open up the course and have no idea where to begin! How does a discussion board work? When are assignments do? When is the first day of classes? These are just a few of the more basic questions students have when beginning an online course. In addition to having an Orientation video, and a Syllabus Overview, creating a Welcome-Start Here Module is another thing you can do to ensure your students start off on the right foot in your online course. 
What exactly is a Welcome-Start Here Module? It is a starting point for brand new students so that they have a clear and distinct place to begin the course. What type of information goes in a Welcome-Start Here Module? Think about the information any new student would like to know about a course.This typically will include information such as course objectives, course rules and expectations, a brief overview of assignments, a link to the course Syllabus, etc. If you have any introductory ice breaker assignments, this might also be a good place to out them. Let me give you a brief overview of the things I include in my Welcome Module:
  • Welcome letter: I create a brief letter welcoming students to the course, sharing the course text book information, information about course assignments such as how to use Voicethread and Discussion boards. I indicate the time commitment for the course and how students can best reach me, including the times of my Office Hours
  • Course Textbook: I include the course text information, a small picture of the book, as well as links to the e-text version and renting options.
  • Orientation Video: I have a link to the orientation video (see blog post HERE about how to create an orientation video)
  • Office Hours: I have information about my scheduled Office Hours and a link that can be used to access the online Office Hours.
  • One-on-on meeting: I set-up a link for students to make arrangements to meet with me for about 20 minutes (learn more about the One-on-One meeting HERE)
  • Introductory Activity: I include a link to a VoiceThread activity where students can introduce themselves and share interesting facts about themselves: Link to that VoiceThread Intro activity HERE)
These are just a few suggestions of some of the tings you might include in a Welcome-Start Here Module but feel free to add any items that you think would be helpful to students, or perhaps remove a few that may not suit your course. Best of luck and post in the Online Educator group about your experience creating and implementing this Module.

Hey just before you go, did you know that we have a Facebook Group! We would love for you to be a part of our growing family. Also, as a treat don’t forget to GRAB YOUR FREE GUIDE to the 3 Secrets to Teaching Online Successfully.

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