Documenting Pre-Course Contact in Your Online Class

Documenting Pre-Course Contact in Your Online Class

The first step in Regular Effective Contact, according to the OEI Course Design Rubric, is Pre-Course Contact.  For those of you with late-starting classes, this tip is for you!

B1: Pre-Course Contact.  

Aligned: Instructor initiates contact prior to or at the beginning of course. 

Exemplary: Instructor provides multiple resources to help students successfully start the course. 

This should be an easy part of the rubric to fulfill as the majority of instructors are already sending out “welcome letters” or pre-course emails to their students, letting them know important information about the upcoming class. 

But how do reviewers and accreditation teams see this contact? 

An easy way to document this is by copying your pre-course contact message into  your Canvas course shell.  This allows students to refer back to it as needed and shows reviewers that you are completing this important first step of Regular Effective Contact. 

You can post your pre-course welcome message to:

    • An Announcement at the start of your course.
    • A Page to be included in your introductory (“getting started”) module.
    • A .pdf file stored in the Files tool with a hyperlink to it on the Homepage or introductory module.

Just be sure to make the document easy to locate for both students and reviewers! 

Tips to make your pre-course contact Exemplary!

    • Include a link to Canvas, login instructions, and help desk info.
    • Include links to important student services, such as Counseling, DSPS, Library and Tutoring Services, Delta’s Health & Wellness page, and the Food Pantry.
    • The best way to contact you if they can’t log into Canvas.
    • A link to the Bookstore with info about required materials and first steps.

You may already include all this info in your Syllabus, but it helps to put it in a welcome email, too, if students are having trouble logging into Canvas on the first day.

Your Tech Tip Team,

-Lynn Hawley and Jenn Azzaro