“While there’s no one right way to start the first day of class on Zoom, as this depends on the course level, size, and discipline, I believe the overall purpose of the first day is to establish a positive connection,” writes Crystal O. Wong, EdD, a composition instructor and Faculty Fellow on Reflective Practices in the Center for Equity and Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CEETL) at San Francisco State, in a recent Faculty Focus article.
In the article, Wong lays out a four-step plan for having a successful first day of class on Zoom. Step one is creating a good impression, or posting your bio before the first day of class and asking students to do the same, greeting students with a smile, having them select “gallery view,” and then engaging in community building activities online.
Step two is spotlighting the course. Instructors can do so by using a visual rather than a syllabus to outline the course structure, design, and assignments.
Step three is generating guidelines by creating alone or with students a list of expectations for Zoom classes.
Finally, step four is ending the first class on a positive note by sharing work from previous courses, explaining goals, and soliciting students’ feedback. “Like first impressions, endings also matter. If students leave with a smile on their face, they’re more likely to come back for more,” Wong writes in the article.