Welcoming students back

Welcoming students back
A teacher records a message for their students while sitting in front a camera

The first week back from any break – especially a long one – is always a time of adjustment, but all it takes to help our students get back into the swing of things is a quick message preparing them for the term ahead.

The term ahead

A short, ‘welcome-back’ message might include key events, live classes, upcoming assessments, LCC degree show dates, and anything that helps put the first week back into perspective.

We at LCC Digital Learning have some suggested ways of getting your message out.

Making the most of a Moodle announcement

Every Moodle site has an announcement tool usually at the top of page (Fig. 1). The announcement tool can be used to contact the whole cohort or, if set up to do so, specific groups of students.

Announcements are sent directly to your students’ UAL email inbox, making them ideal for short, timely messages.

The speech bubble icons are used to represent the Moolde announcement area.
Fig. 1 Moodle announcement tool

Formatting your message

  • Keep it relatively short.
    • Most students only scan their course emails. Keep your message brief with simple formatting and link to more information, downloads, or resources.
  • Simple is best.
    • Avoid embedding images or using tables to organise text. Instead, use the headings feature in the text editor to break up your message into different sections (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2 how to add headings to your Moodle announcements

Recording a ‘Welcome Back’ message

A recorded ‘welcome-back’ video not only feels more personal but it’s very easy to do.

The first option is to use the Moodle Record button. This is a quick and easy way to produce a maximum 2 minute video that embeds directly in the body of your message (Fig. 3).

Fig 3 select the Moodle record button to open a recording window.

The second option is to use the Panopto button. Panopto is ideal if you want to upload or share an existing recording or if you want to record longer than 2 minutes (Fig. 4). View our 1-4 minute videos on uploading, sharing, and recording with Panopto.

Fig. 4 Select the Panopto button to open up a window with options to share, upload, or record a video.

Once you’ve posted your message to the announcements forum students will receive an email with a thumbnail link to the recording (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5 a welcome back video recorded in Panopto and shared through a Moodle announcement

Tips for video quality and length

  • Good audio is more important than good video.
    • If you can, use a separate microphone from the one built into your computer. You might own earbuds or headphones that include a microphone.
  • Use plenty of light and a clean background.
    • Lighting makes a huge difference to a video’s quality and a clean background helps prevent distractions. Use lighting you can control and if possible avoid over-relying on natural light.
  • Keep your video short and sweet.
    • The optimal recording is approximately no longer than 6 minutes (Guo et al 2014, Future Learn) after which engagement tends of drop.

Help others get started

Want to help others compose their message? Share a draft of your welcome back message in the comments below and any suggestions you may have.

Want help recording and sharing a message using Panopto? Get in touch with our team at lccdigitallearning@lcc.arts.ac.uk.

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