A self-introduction by the instructor of a fully online course enables learners to quickly identify with the instructor as a person. It serves to humanize the instructor and encourage greater student participation, knowing that a real person is on the other end of the course materials. Online students can feel disconnected from the instructor and from each other; the self-introduction can help reduce that, and also set the tone for the course.
The Quality Matters (1) standard and annotation related to self-introductions offers some guidelines on what you might include to help you make that immediate connection with your students.
The self-introduction by the instructor is appropriate and is available online.
The initial introduction creates a sense of connection between the instructor and the students. It presents the instructor as professional as well as approachable, and includes the essentials, such as the instructor’s name, title, field of expertise, email address, phone number, and times when the instructor is typically online or may be reached by phone.
Expectations of the relationship and communication style between teacher and learner are culturally influenced. Including information about the role of the instructor in the particular course and how to address the instructor is helpful to students from all backgrounds.
The self-introduction helps students get to know the instructor and extends beyond the essentials. It could include:
1. Comments on teaching philosophy
2. A summary of past experience with teaching online courses
3. Personal information such as hobbies, family, travel experiences, etc.
4. A photograph
Blended Courses: The instructor’s self-introduction is available electronically for students who missed early face-to-face meetings.
A video introduction, rather than or in addition to a text greeting, offers the best opportunity for students to connect with you at once. Kaltura Capture is a light-weight video recording tool available to all instructors (and students!) in My Media, under the Canvas Account menu. You can see our How To guide here, or take a look through our video tutorials.
If you’d like to discuss how best to create a self-introduction with one of the Learning and Teaching Technology consultants, you can always reach us at LSATechnologyServices@umich.edu.
Quality Matters is a professional organization of educators that has conducted extensive research on what concrete measures assist in successful online teaching and learning. The QM Rubric is one of the longest standing research-based standards we have for how to create effective online courses.