The First week

  • Students in a classCreate a sense of enthusiasm as soon as you step in the classroom. Planning an engaging start can be vital to enjoyment for the rest of the Semester.
  • The first lecture is an opportunity to place the subject in a wider context. Consider using video, newspaper articles, art or humour to assist students making connections.
  • Expect students to be independent and take responsibility for their learning by asking them to study the Unit of Study outline rather than the lecturer going through it in detail.
  • Consider inviting the teaching team of tutors, associate lecturers and other key staff to the first lecture and introduce them to the students. They may also be helpful roaming in the classroom during activities to answer questions or create enthusiasm.
  • Consider including activities which increase students' understanding of themselves as learners. These create discussion, as sense of discovery and often assist with approaching learning in the Unit of Study.

Why

The tone and feel of the Unit of study is likely to be set in the first 15 minutes of the first lecture.

Giving a Unit of Study a sense of community helps students to feel supported and thus releasing energy for study rather than worry.

Enthusiasm for learning often comes from an understanding of what one can do with the knowledge.

Examples

  • Start the first lecture (or any subsequent on) by asking students to list (in pairs or small groups) everything they know about the subject. Collate answers on a board/document camera. Using rough pre-set categories matching the Unit of Study outline on which to record the suggestions will allow talking about the semester (lecture) ahead using students' words and existing knowledge.
  • Consider asking students generic questions relating to the overall topic. Students may work first individually and then in pairs or small groups. Simultaneously reporting results will generate discussion and provides information to visit later in the unit.
  • Consider allocating time for reading the Unit of Study Outline and setting up a quiz on the key elements for students to answer individually or in small groups. The use of scratchable forms or simultaneous reporting helps to make the process informative and fun.
  • Consider asking tutors to share what they best like about the subject and what they look forward to in the semester.
  • Share with students how learning in this Unit of Study will translate to their future work. Inviting young professionals from the field to explain how they have used the knowledge is powerful. Alternatively, creating a realistic scenario to share with students will also deliver the key message.

Further resources