We have always been told to make a good first impression because it lasts. Science explains the lasting effect of a first impression is due to the tendency of the brain to remember the first or last item in a series — this is known as the “primacy/recency effect” (Dataworks, 2014). As a course facilitator, it is crucial to develop a positive first impression, or perfect pitch, by creating a memorable, engaging, and inclusive course introductory video.
The course introductory video humanizes the online learning experience for all participants. It is your very first opportunity to make students feel welcome and excited about the learning ahead while establishing relationships and fostering a sense of community. The introductory video doesn’t have to be long; in fact, keeping it short and concise will most likely leave students with a favourable first impression. Some students may experience bandwidth issues, and downloading large files could take them hours.
Ideally, your video will include a short overview of the learning management system and course layout (remember to be in student view when doing the course tour), some important due dates regarding assignments, and your availability and communication expectations.
It is important you leave your students with a clear understanding of the purpose and relevance of the course they are about to study and, if possible, your excitement and passion. Students may also appreciate understanding your positionality — the position from which you view, listen, act, and move within the world (Grain, 2022).
If you need help with creating a compelling course intro video for this fall, consider registering for our one-week FLO MicroCourse: Create Your Course Intro Video, scheduled for late August. We look forward to developing this first innovative first impression with you.
Until then, here are 10 easy tips to record an introductory video for your course:
- Choose a suitable location, and avoid clutter.
- Set up your lighting. Facing a window will light up your whole face.
- Reduce background noise. Close the window, and mute notifications.
- Use a script. Really.
- If you have a tripod, use it or set up your camera in a way that is at least at eye level and stable.
- If using a separate microphone, position it below your mouth, not directly in front, and soften those P and T sounds.
- If you are using your phone, iPad, or some other built-in microphone, try to get it as close to you as possible.
- Practice speaking to the camera. Breathe, slow down, and watch for obvious eye movement if reading.
- Smile (appropriately) and speak with inflections.
- Rehearse. Play back. Edit. Repeat.