First Day of Classes

The first day of class is critical in setting students’ perceptions and expectations for the course.  Putting effort into getting THIS day right, will have large payoffs.  Here is a great 2-page set of recommendations, highlighted below:

  1. Establish Motivation.  Why should students want to take YOUR class?  How will it serve or change them?
  2. Personalize the Learning Experience. Welcome students.  Introduce yourself and what you do.  Find out who the students are and what interests them.
  3. Establish Expectations.  Describe the learning goals of the class.  Explain why you are teaching the way you are.  Emphasize that you want students to learn, and that they all CAN succeed if they put in the effort.
Don’t do the following things:
  • Go over minutia of the course’s logistics (textbooks, midterm date, etc.)  Provide this information online, and ask (or require with a quiz) students to read it.
  • Talk about academic integrity issues (and never bring it up again).  Save this discussion and INTEGRATE it where appropriate in the course.
  • Tell students that many students find the course difficult or don’t like it.
  • Talk the entire class time (have students engage).