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Engage Them from Day 1 - Easy Tech Tools

Page history last edited by mary.mcglasson@... 13 years, 3 months ago

You know, getting (and keeping) their attention doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be super-adept at technology; sometimes it just means taking advantage of technologies that they love . . .


Jeff Stahler


To get started today, please use your cell phone to answer the following question:




Small Group Discussion: What do you think you need to do in the first few days of class to ensure student success this semester?


When your group has come up with a master list of your best ideas, have your group recorder go to http://poll4.com, then enter 41473 and your group's response(s).  Then watch the chart on the right, as the responses update live:




What do the "experts" recommend?

The experts (resources from Honolulu CC Faculty Development Teaching Tips Index) say:

  • Student introductions
  • Convey sense of enthusiasm for course
  • Conduct an ice-breaker
  • Give your own introduction
  • Establish course expectations 
  • Introduction to course materials/textbook/syllabus
  • Encourage student questions
  • Get student feedback at the end of class (reflections of first day)
  • Involve students quickly
  • Identify the value and importance of the subject
  • Set expectations
  • Establish rapport
  • Reveal something about yourself
  • Establish your own credibility
  • Establish the climate for the class
  • Provide administrative information
  • Introduce the subject matter
  • Do on the first day what you want class to do the rest of the semester


More tips for your first week, courtesy of Dr. Lisa Young at Scottsdale Community College:

For All Delivery Methods

  • Review the syllabus and stress its importance
  • Provide your contact information and office hours
  • Let students know that you are there to help them
  • Provide information on how much time students should spend on task
  • Discuss fears that your students and you have about the course
  • Discuss how the subject matter is relevant/can be applied to their lives
  • Advise students of support services available
  • Have class create some of the rules
  • Set clear expectations
  • Ask students what their expectations/goals are
  • Be approachable
  • Use a form or index card to gather students' personal information 


For face-to-face

  • Learn student names
  • Call students who did not attend class
  • Use the full class time on the first day - this sets the tone for the semester


For online

  • Send emails to make sure that students are able to log in and access course materials
  • Check statistics to see who has not logged in to Blackboard
  • Call students who have not logged in

For hybrid

  • Be sure to explain the concept of hybrid
  • Provide clear instructions on when students will meet in person


What techniques do you use to make your students feel comfortable and excited for the new semester?

  • Have someone come into the class to show technology
  • Name tents
  • Introduce and share a bit of information related to the subject - intro activity and icebreaker
  • Syllabus quiz
  • Have students send an email from gmail with personal information that they would like to share and what 5 year goals are and how the class applies


Examples of technologies that facilitate these objectives?


  • Ask about student expectations
  • Let students suggest some of the rules
  • Ice breaker
  • Student questions
  • Student feedback (includes expressing concerns about the course)


Need resources to get started?





Give a short set of instructions (used SnagIt to create the screenshot images)

Introductions/learn students' names (just passed digital camera around, and used file folders for tent cards)

What to expect this semester (created the flyers using Word)


Need resources to get started?





Here's an example of using VoiceThread for class introductions - it's an interesting alternative to a discussion board.


With VoiceThread,  the seed post can be an image or a video, and the people who add comments can do so either by recording an audio comment, a video comment, or by adding text. Click here for an overview of voicethread, including links to video tutorials showing:

  • 5 ways to comment
  • Images, docs, and videos
  • Doodling
  • Embedding
  • Exporting
  • Moderation
  • Identities
  • Sharing & groups

Here are two excellent reference sheets for VoiceThread, created by Michelle Pacansky-Brock (check out her blog, http://mpbreflections.blogspot.com):

  1. VoiceThread Educator's Guide (8 pages)
  2. VoiceThread Intro for Students (3 pages)

Need some ideas on how to use VoiceThread in the classroom?  Visit this wiki!





Blackboard has several tools to view student activity and the last time of login to your course.  The tools are accessible under Evaluation in the Control Panel.


Grade Center

In Grade Center, there is a column named "Last Access."  This shows the last date the student logged in to your course.

Performance Dashboard


Like the Grade Center, the Performance Dashboard shows the last date of login, but also included is the time of the last login, along with several other statistics.
Tracking Reports Tracking Reports provide information about student activity with respect to Accesses by Content Area, Accesses by Forum, Accesses by Group, and Overall Summary of Usage.



Click here to complete the workshop evaluation survey!




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