Writing a unit welcome

A welcome message is likely to be the first thing that a student sees after logging into your unit, so is it important to make the right impression and set a positive tone for the unit. The following quick guide will assist you to plan and prepare a welcome video or text announcement for your students.

Use Blackboard Announcements

Use your first announcement as an opportunity to welcome and orientate students to your unit.

Examples

Two example welcome messages are provided below. The first message uses a text format and engages students with the more interesting and topical aspects of the unit. The second example has been produced as a video to provide visual context and illustrate the themes in the unit. How you decide to present your welcome message will depend on your message, the time you have at your disposal and the resources you have available.

Text welcome message

Welcome to Organic Food Systems! This unit introduces you to food systems and systems theory to understand the physical, social and institutional forces that organize and interconnect, both from within and outside the food supply chain. Now I couldn't think of a subject that is as interesting or rich as food for what it reveals about the past and the present. I am a historian who got interested in food about 20 years ago from a background in environmental history. I am the convenor of the Australasian Food Studies Network and editor of Locale: Pacific Journal of Regional Food Studies, which keeps me connected with food scholars from a range of different backgrounds. I was very happy to work on this unit with a great team of designers and my colleagues in the other units in the Graduate Certificate.

Video welcome message

Welcome message script planner

The following template is a guide for introductory information that may be useful to share with your students. Use this template as a starting point and adapt it to suit the needs of your unit.

Name of unit:


Unit code:


Session/Study period:


Unit assessor:


Other staff (tutors etc.):

Welcome message template

Sections

Suggested content

Content to be covered in your unit

Welcome and introductions

  • What is this unit, who are you and what will grab student's attention? 
    e.g. Hello and welcome to __________.  My name is _________ and I’ll be your unit assessor for this unit. Did you know _________?

What is this unit about?

  • Mention the aim of the unit and learning objectives.
  • Connect relevance of the unit to ‘real-world’ examples.
    e.g. This unit focuses on __________. You need to know this because ___________.

How is this unit structured?

  • How many topics/modules?
  • Are there tutorials/readings/workshops each week?
  • What are the key parts of the unit?
  • What are students going to be doing (field trips, discussions, activities, web quests etc.)?

How will this unit be assessed?

  • Type of assessment tasks (keep it brief, e.g. weekly quizzes, discussion boards, portfolios, article critique etc.)
  • Where will students submit assessments?
  • How will feedback be provided?
  • Direct students to the assessment section of the learning site for more details.

What resources will be required?

  • Textbook or other required resources?
  • Where do students access these?

Unit Profile

  • Highlight the importance of the unit profile.
    e.g. The Unit Profile can be accessed via the link under the Study Resources section of this unit’s learning site.  Please ensure you have thoroughly read this document as it contains details about the unit objectives and structure, required resources, and assessment requirements.

Support Information

  • Where do students go to ask questions (e.g. discussion boards, FAQs, email the UA, etc.)?
  • Timeframes for student support (how often you will reply via email, etc.)

Closing statement

  • Provide a direction for students, where to next?
  • End on a positive note

e.g. I look forward to seeing you at our first live lecture, and at tutorials, which will commence in Week 1.


Sharing your message

Once you have finalized your draft unit welcome script you can decide how this will be included in your learning site.

  1. You could post your welcome message in MySCU as an announcement.
  2. Create an item in an Orientation module and paste the welcome message.
  3. Create a Unit Welcome Video and use your welcome script to guide your message. You can use MediaSite to record and stream your video.


(Please note - it's better to refer to the Online version rather than export, as it's always up to date)