Students not uncommonly describe feeling intimidated, confused, and nervous the first time they access an online course. Overwhelmed, they may consider dropping the course before it has even begun. What, as instructors, can we do in response? How can we alleviate their anxiety, clarify confusion, begin building a community of learners, and identify those students in need our immediate intervention? This presentation will offer practical strategies aligned with the OEI Course Design Rubric for designing a more welcoming, inclusive “onboarding” experience for our students by focusing on the weeks immediately preceding and following the first day of a new semester. We will consider how free, easy-to-use tools like Apple Clips (video), Populr.me (“liquid” syllabus), Padlet (digital “canvas”), Zoom (video conferencing), Harmonize (discussion platform for recording audio and video) and Google Forms (for student surveys) can be deployed within and in concert with the Canvas LMS to get your course off to a solid start and prepare your students for success over the 16 weeks that follow the first day of a new semester.
• Use Google Forms to survey students.
• Use Padlet to present survey information to new students.
• Use Apple Clips to create a simple welcome video.