There are two key introductions for every online course: your personal intro and an introduction to the course. These can certainly be combined into one, but remember to keep it short (under 3min). Below are some things to think about as you organize and script one of both of these videos for your learners.
Tips for Instructor Introduction Videos
When your students feel connected to you as a person they’re more likely to ask questions and engage in the course. Introducing yourself in the beginning of the term is a great and simple first step in sharing a bit of your personality and passion for the subject matter. You can absolutely do this in text (a discussion board, email, or on the first page of your course), but we love the idea of sharing your personality in a video!
Instructor Introduction Approach
The best introduction is an authentic one! Set yourself up in a comfortable place and wear something comfortable (but appropriate). Maybe you have some school spirit swag to show off or you forgo the hair & makeup to make sure you come across as approachable. Think about how your students might see you if your class were held in person or if they were to run into your around campus. What would you be wearing? What would your level of formality be during one of those run-ins?
For your introductory video be sure to include your professional background and expertise as well as some interests you may enjoy outside of the classroom (these can be hobbies or even sharing about your family). Try to include some enthusiasm for the topic area and your personal connection to it to make your students excited about learning from you.
Tips for Course Introductory Videos
Sometimes the most difficult part of an introductory video is where to begin. Before we list off points from the syllabus, lets focus on what makes your course content exciting! How will your course influence your student’s careers? The goal of an introductory video is to create excitement and interest around the upcoming course, lesson, or assignment.
Course Introduction Approach
Some of our best introductions are formulated around a question. It not only gives the student a look into the main topic, but it also provides the student the opportunity to be excited about the details within the content, and exploring ways to answer the question you presented. For example, “What makes a good leader?” There are infinite ways to answer it, so you might use your introduction video as an opportunity to engage the student in topic before taking a deeper dive.
Another approach is to connect your course content to a real world example within the discipline. Perhaps you have a short story, or a research project that really lends itself to the content?
Finally, you could use the Introduction, Body, and Conclusion model. Like a good story or speech, an effective introductory video has three sections: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
Writing Your Script
There are many benefits to organizing your ideas before you record. Some faculty choose to write a word for word script, while others choose to create a bulleted list of important content they’d like to cover. Below are some tips to keep in mind as you draft your script.
- Write your script as if you were having a conversation your students in a face-to-face setting (informative and friendly)
- Keep it Simple! (The script should be approx. 200-300 words –your video will be 2-3 minutes)
- Avoid time specific statements such as “Last year” or “This month”. These videos will be used for years to come, so statements like this become abstract almost immediately.
- Avoid using course specific statements such as “In week 3” or “Chapters 5 and 6” because the structure of the course could change.
- Consider your audience. Anticipate what your audience may find interesting, or challenging about the content. How much does your audience know about your topic?
- Practice reading your scripts out loud, edit out words that are difficult to pronounce.
Sample Instructor Introduction Outline
Hi everyone! My name is _____ and I will be your instructor for [insert course name]. I am a [insert title] here at [institution name] and have been teaching here for [X] years.
I am excited to be leading this class because [include 1-2 reasons why this relates to your experience, research, or passions].
When I’m not teaching, I enjoy [insert 1-2 personal anecdotes about hobbies, family, ways you unwind/take a break].
I look forward to interacting with you all throughout the semester. Feel free to contact me at [insert preferred method of contact] with any questions or concerns.