It’s Quality Matters day! Each week, we highlight a Quality Matters standard and review its importance in an online course and how we evaluate this standard.
Today, we are reviewing Quality Matters Standards 1.8
General Standard 1 addresses the course overview and introduction.
Standard 1.8 addresses the inclusion of a self-introduction from the instructor.
- As a rule of thumb, a balanced online course will always include consistent, ongoing interaction between the learners, the content and the instructor. Frequently, instructors will place a good deal of effort facilitating interaction between their students and the content, but forget to place themselves into the mix! One of the easiest, but overlooked techniques for establishing an online connection between you and your students is to include a self-introduction. A common shortcoming in courses, even those with great content, is making students feel as though they’re consuming information in a digital vacuum, without establishing any of the
personal connections they would experience in a face-to-face classroom. Self-introductions help humanize the online experience, and can be the first step towards re-establishing the needed balance between all the participants in the course.
- What is a self-introduction? QM goes out of their way to make a distinction between an initial introduction and a self-introduction. Most instructors rarely forget to include an initial introduction to their class. Per QM, this includes things such your name, title, field of experience, phone number, and your availability to answer student inquiries. While all of these things are important, QM asks instructors to go the extra mile with a self-introduction. Self-introductions are more personalized, and include information such as your teaching philosophy, a summary of past experience with teaching online courses, personal information such as hobbies, family, travel experiences, etc. In addition, it should include a photograph or a brief biographic video. Here’s three easy tips as you consider beefing-up your introduction for your students:
Create a Video: A brief biographic video is a great way to introduce yourself to students in a personalized way. A good intro video allows you to simultaneously share beyond-the-basics information about yourself as well as put a face with a name. If creating a video seems intimidating, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be lengthy (3-5 min.), or have polished production values. In fact, filming yourself in a relaxed, natural environment, like your home or office, can help you seem more relatable to students. Now days, there are an abundance of means for producing video yourself including smartphones, webcams and other readily available electronic devices, all of which can be added directly into your Learning Management System. If you’re unsure where to start, ask a tech savvy colleague, an Instructional Designer or an IT staff member at your institution for help.
Add a Welcome Letter: You may be the type of person that cringes when they see themselves on video, and that’s okay. Creating a well-crafted welcome letter for your students can an equally effective way of making a great first impression. This can be a single document containing information appropriate for an initial/self-introduction, along with a picture of your choice. If you don’t feel like taking a brand-new picture, grab one from your faculty bio page, or a social media site you’re subscribed to.
Introduce Yourself Early– Naturally, you’ll want to include your self-introduction early on in the course. As with the other standards in QM General Standard 1, this information is intended to be displayed in an easily accessible place that contains the introductory information we’ve covered in other standards so far. A ‘Start Here’ page, the syllabus, or an introductory learning module are ideal spaces for adding your video, letter or welcome message.
AP Guidance: Don’t underestimate the importance of first-impressions, even online. Keep your course interaction balanced and personal by adding a quality self-introduction for your students!
Click here to access Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace. The Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace is a free, searchable database built to serve the broad QM community with an easy-to-use eLearning product/service directory organized within the 8 general standards of the rubric as well as by user and product categories.
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