Setting the right tone at the start of session can make all the difference for students in your unit. If students feel that you are approachable and helpful, it’ll help them stay on track and do better in your unit.

There are many things you can do, but the following 3 strategies seem to work particularly well.

Strategy 1: Welcome video

Making a short welcome video can really ‘humanise’ the unit, and make the students feel welcome.

The real power of a welcome video is interpersonal, so spare the details about the content or assignments (it’s best to include them in text for easier reference). Instead, focus on setting the inclusive tone and encouraging your students to seek help if needed.

How to do it?

The easiest way is to record the video via Zoom.

  1. Create a meeting with a title ‘Welcome to [name of your unit]’, as this title will display in the recording.
  2. Start a Zoom meeting and click ‘Record to the cloud’.
  3. Talk to the camera and smile. Remember that the goal is interpersonal, not informational.
  4. Go to your Echo library, locate the recording, click share and ‘Add link’. Copy the embed code and paste in your iLearn unit. The video below shows you how to do it.

Strategy 2: Pre-session or early-session ‘getting to know you’ survey

Why use it?

  • It can help you to learn about individual students’ circumstances and concerns, and plan accordingly.
  • If aggregate (anonymous) results are shared, it can normalise the student experience, and contribute to a positive learning environment. 

How to use it?

Step 1: Run the survey

  • Option 1: Reuse or adapt this example survey. Feel free to add/remove any questions as you see fit.
  • Option 2: Run a shorter version in your first class by asking students to anonymously write about their concerns and/or backgrounds and collect the papers.

Step 2: Share aggregate results with students to normalise student experiences and generate discussion(s) about support and resources.

Strategy 3: Staying on track annoucements and Q&A

Help students stay on track by clearly formulating what they need to have done by this week and what they need to be doing.

For example, by this week, most of you would have watched the lecture and completed associated tasks. It’s now time to post your responses in the forum (add a link to the forum). Please ask your questions in the forum and support others by responding if you can.

How? You can use an announcements feature in iLearn. If time allows, consider repeating these annoucements in your weekly lectures/sessions to allow for Q&A.

Any questions or comments?

We are only an email away, and happy to chat about any things learning and teaching! Feel free to get in touch! Email


  • For help in creating announcements in iLearn, visit the iLearn Forums and Communications help website
  • For tips on presenting your best self on camera, access this video series about teaching in front of the camera.

Banner image credit: Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

Posted by Olga Kozar

I'm a 'long-term' Mq girl. I did my PhD here and taught on different courses, ranging from 1st year to PhD students. I now work in Learning and Teaching, which I love. I have 2 young kids and a dog, and I love meeting other Mq people, so give me a shout if you'd like to talk 'learning and teaching' or would like to brainstorm together.

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