Preparing for the First Day of Class on Zoom

“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.