Faculty Guide: First Day of Class

The first day of a remote or hybrid class will often be different than a traditional face-to-face class, as there are many variables to consider. This faculty guide offers suggestions and considerations for the first day of your remote and hybrid classes.

this page for a “Faculty Checklist: Preparation Before the Start of Semester”. 

Time of arrival

  • You may want to plan on arriving to class 5-10 minutes in advance to set up. 
  • We recommend coordinating the time of arrival with your moderator (if you have one) to discuss the plan for the day.

Set up

  • DL&I has a comprehensive classroom technology checklist you may consult. In addition, this page by LETS  reviews instructions for setting up the computer and projector in your class in case you need a refresher. This series of What to Expect videos produced by DL&I and the Educational Technology Team also highlight set-up options on the Charles River Campus. For BUMC’s set-up instructions, visit their Learn from Anywhere Resources page.
  • We recommend starting your Zoom session, and testing the settings. For certain activities, you may find that you would need to toggle between your different microphones. For better sound quality during lectures, we recommend using your personal computer’s microphone, and switching to the in-class microphones for whole-class discussions. You may find that each classroom may require different settings depending on classroom location, size of class, etc. 

Student arrival

  • We recommend you review the guidelines for student compliance with masks and wellness badges in case questions come up during class.
  • You may want to ask your in-person students to log into the Zoom session as well while students are coming in or joining your class online. This will especially save time if you are planning on having the two student cohorts interact with one another. 
  • We recommend you regularly engage with both student cohorts if you have time before the official start of class, and as students are logging in. Acknowledging some names as students join online or telling the in-person students you will be starting shortly are some ways you can ensure all students are included in the first few minutes prior to the beginning of class.

Recording If recording your sessions, review your rationale for recording prior to beginning your session.

Instructor introduction/ plan for the day Provide an introduction and overview for the day’s plan. 

Moderator introduction Review the moderator’s role, and emphasize that they are not there to address content-related questions. 

Classroom Technology Experimentation We recommend you set aside a few minutes to test the technology you may use in class with the students. For example, you may want to have both student cohorts speak up, and test the audio/microphones. Test these settings in different modalities: discussion, whole-class lecture, etc.

Student Introductions/Ice-breakers This is a nice opportunity to pair up some of the in-person and online students with one another. You may want to remind your in-person students to use a headset for the cross-cohort team-work to avoid audio feedback.

Review of course Below are a few suggestions for topics that may need your review during the first class: 

  • (N)etiquette guidelines for different modalities 
  • Course expectations, especially information pertaining to attendance, synchronous and asynchronous work
  • Course materials: you may want to remind students about book formats (e.g. hard copy vs. e-book). If adopting a textbook, we recommend you consider e-books if possible, and that you also be mindful of international students’ access to ebooks as not all websites may work overseas. We recommend encouraging students to reach out to you if they cannot access course materials. 
  • The LMS (Blackboard or Sakai), class materials/location, and all communication channels 
  • The technology students need in your class (hardware and software): You may want to explain the rationale behind asking the in-person students to have their laptops, cables, headphones and optional portable chargers. 
  • Office hours: You may want to review the modality of your office hours, and any guidelines and rules you have. 
  • Q&A: Given it’s the first day, and a new modality, students may not be comfortable speaking up and asking questions. You may want to give them an opportunity to ask questions on the Zoom chat as well.

Possible “Exit ticket” activity for the first day You may find that asking the following two questions would be helpful in planning the details of your course:

  1. What do you hope to gain from your experience in this course? 
  2. Is there anything I should know that may impact your performance in the course? 

Think about how students could share the more personal information with you in a private manner (e.g. email, Qualtrics form). 


Design and Teach a Course (Carnegie Mellon University, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence)

Visit CTL’s Pedagogical Partnerships Blackboard site for additional faculty resources.

Download a pdf version of this guide here.