Send students an introductory email message before the course begins

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Many faculty members begin their online courses by contacting students in advance of the course start date or during the first week of classes with an introductory email message (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson and Blackwell, 2005; and Mensch and Ali, 2007). The purpose of this communication is to welcome the students, establish a comfortable class environment, introduce the class syllabus, schedule, protocols, and to establish a weekly routine. This strategy begins the course interaction, helps to establish “swift trust” and jump-starts the learning processes. It also signifies the start of meaningful instructor-to-student interaction.

Link to example artifact(s)

Sample Welcome Letter to Students in an Online Course from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Introduction Letter – English 101 from Los Angeles Valley College instructor Jessica Mintz

Link to scholarly reference(s)

Bellafiore, A. (2007). Best practices for online course design [at] bristol community college.

Gibson, J. and Blackwell, C. (2005). Heading for cyberspace: Planning a strategy for success with online classes. Journal of College Teaching & Learning, 2(10), 7-12. Available online

Mensch, S. and Ali, A. (2007). Transactional distance theory and communication in online courses – A case study. Issues in Information Systems, 8(2), 224-228. Available online


Kelvin Thompson and Baiyun Chen (2013). Send students an introductory email message before the course begins. In Chen, B., deNoyelles, A., & Thompson, K. (Eds.), Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Center for Distributed Learning. Retrieved June 15, 2019 from

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