The initial introduction is an important step in building your online community. This will set the tone for communication and shapes the preliminary relationship between you and your students. Of course you will want to provide the “essential” contact information, such as your name, title, phone number(s), and email address, as well as preferred method of communication. You may even provide the time when you are typically online, or specify “online office hours”. Background specifics regarding education and experience will establish your professional profile and expertise in the field of study. You may also want to include a statement regarding your teaching philosophy.
You should also consider including information about hobbies, pets, travel, or even your family. This often provides “common ground” and will help make you seem more “approachable.” Posting a photograph of yourself will provide a tangible image and a sense of connection to a real, “living” person. Candid pictures of you in your office or classroom can also lend a sense of authenticity. If you work from a home office, then post a picture of yourself in your home office. In other words, make it real. Today’s savvy students want to connect and collaborate – with each other and their instructor.
Regards, Dr. Jill
Jonnie “Jill” Phipps, Ph.D.