Today’s reflection is on how I welcome students. I’ve
always sent out fairly lengthy welcome letters which include a biography,
details on tutorials and forums, and how to stay in contact. These are
necessarily sent addressed to ‘student’ not individually named students as I
use the university group mail system to send emails to nearly 100 students. I
also send out individually named emails to disabled students,
enquiring about their needs and offering support. This can be time consuming as
up to a third of my students might have a disability but I think it is
worthwhile as establishing early positive contact is good for relationship
building and addressing any challenges early is beneficial. I wanted to build
on my general welcome messaging this year and decided a welcome message in Adobe
Connect might be the way to go so that students might be able to hear and see
me at the beginning of the module. So I planned and delivered 10 minute welcome
videos for my K219 and K220 groups (KE322 have a welcome tutorial
already timetabled in). The videos included an overview of the module and
website, staying mentally healthy during studies and study skills tips.
I found the process strangely anxiety-inducing, considering I am an experienced online lecturer, but I guess that is my bipolar talking as it dislikes new experiences. I needed 2 takes of my first video due to not enabling my mic (a hazard of presenting by yourself without an audience). What I did discover in that first take is that I hated the webcam and found it distracting; I am an animated speaker and my head bobbing around was not helpful. But once I got rid of the webcam all went well, though I stumbled over a few words at the beginning. I think it was a worthwhile addition to my ‘welcome’ - and I have already had some positive feedback. It also won’t be too time consuming to repeat in future presentations. I really didn’t like the webcam though and didn’t find it helpful.
Going forward, I will be repeating the video on future presentations as I think it is an easy thing to incorporate into my ‘welcome’ and beneficial for relationship building. I now have a greater idea of what works for me and that means no webcam. On some of my tutorials I have a photo of me on one of my introductory slides and in future presentations I will add this to my 'welcome' slides.