First Day of Class


The first day can be exciting and challenging. Begin by establishing a rapport with your students, setting the expectations for the class, and enjoying the process. Your passion, expertise and enthusiasm communicate just as much to your students as your lectures and classroom activities. First impressions are important and set the tone for the rest of the semester. Here's our suggested to do list:

  • Communicate with Students

    Ongoing two-way communication is vital to a productive relationship with your students and necessary for them to succeed in your course. Read about best practices and tools for communication: Communication Tools

    Introduce yourself to your students. Go into as much or as little detail as you deem necessary. Begin building a learning community by having your students introduce themselves to a small group of classmates.

  • Discuss the Syllabus

    Remind your students that the syllabus sets the tone and introduces them to the purpose and structure of the course. You reserve the right to alter it to meet the learning needs of the class. Determine how much detail you need to go into during class. (Freshmen students may need more detail than graduate students, for instance.)

    • Post the syllabus in Blackboard Learn so students can always access it
    • Create a learning activity about the syllabus to reinforce important points (e.g. an online quiz in Blackboard or a game or activity during class)
    • Find more ideas: Create a Syllabus That Works for You and Your Students
  • Discuss Course Policies

    Clearly understood course policies help the class run smoothly. Discuss the policies that are most important to you and to the success of the class. Possibilities include:

    • Attendance
    • Late work
    • Plagiarism
    • Drop dates
    • File naming conventions
    • Protocols for using the discussion board
    • Support for students with disabilities

    Note: UAA Academic Policies and Processes

  • Begin Instruction

    After you introduce the instructional technology used in the course, you can cover the first topic of your course or do an assessment to determine your students' prior knowledge of the content.