CTN’s Director of Professional Development, Allegra Villarreal, conducted the final one-hour virtual seminar for the Foundational Seminar Series on August 14th. The session was titled “Starting Online Courses Strong” Strategies for Day One.” Participants explored inclusive teaching strategies for their online courses and adapted icebreakers which can help build community in their cohorts from the first day of class.  

The session began with the topic of guiding intentions. Participants answered five questions such as “What must I do to embrace fully the greatest intentions for this class?” After volunteers shared their answers, Villarreal commented that “this was a good place to start and to begin to build fodder for the upcoming discussion about building a syllabus.”

In the discussion regarding syllabus, participants were shown ways to use their syllabus as a tool for accountability, equity and inclusion. Next, Allegra presented information and ideas regarding syllabus design and content.

The next segment of the training covered possible icebreakers for the first day. These included a gallery walk titled “Getting to Know You” using Padlet, Loteria breakout groups, direct message “Get to Know You,” and a mindfulness practice called “The Rose, the Thorn and the Bud” which can be used as a community share activity. Villarreal also shared apps such as FlipGrid and VoiceThread that could be used for prerecorded videos.

The seminar ended with two guiding questions from Alice Bandy’s book, “What are we teaching?” and “What are we learning?” Villarreal also shared a teacher statement as a way to end your first day of class, which ends

“May the window of this classroom inspire us to connect our learning to the world beyond these walls. And may this classroom be, for all who enter, a doorway to growth and purpose. Welcome!

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