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The First Day of Class

For many instructors, the first day of class can be nerve-wracking. Carnegie Mellon University has published a good article highlighting the key objectives that instructors should cover on the first day. Excerpt:

The first class meeting should serve at least two basic purposes:

  • To clarify all reasonable questions students might have relative to the course objectives, as well as your expectations for their performance in class. As students leave the first meeting, they should believe in your competence to teach the course, be able to predict the nature of your instruction, and know what you will require of them.
  • To give you an understanding of who is taking your course and what their expectations are.

These two basic purposes expand into a set of eight concrete objectives:

  1. Orchestrate positive first impressions
  2. Introduce yourself effectively
  3. Clarify learning objectives and expectations
  4. Help students learn about each other
  5. Set the tone for the course
  6. Collect baseline data on students’ knowledge and motivation
  7. Whet students’ appetite for course content
  8. Inform students of course requirements

Read the full article at http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/firstday.html

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