Part I: Scripting Your Intro Lecture
Whether you’re creating an introduction for your first course or revamping an introduction for your tenth, follow the instructions below to ensure that your students have an engaging learning experience. We’ve also included steps at the very bottom of this article to create your own sample script.
Step 1: Know what your students want
Put yourself in your students’ shoes. If you’ve ever taken a course before, it’s probably pretty easy for you to relate to the questions students are asking when they start your course:
- Is this the right course for me?
- Is it covering the right stuff?
- Is this the right instructor?
- Am I going to be bored?
Even if you have a promo video, you’ll want to address these concerns again in your intro lecture, ideally in this order. In the next 2 steps we’ll go over exactly how to address these concerns as well as how to craft your intro video script for success.
Step 2: Address each question
Now that you know the questions your students are wondering about after they’ve enrolled, let’s talk through how to address each concern.
Question #1: Is this the right course for me?
How will your student know that your course is the right course for them? As an instructor you want to reassure your students that they’ve made the correct choice in enrolling in your course. To do this, imagine completing the sentence: “I built this course for…” Think about the target student you had in mind when you created your course. The intro lecture is the place to describe that student.
Question #2: Is this course covering the right stuff?
Students don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking to you to tell them what they need to know. Students need a plausible explanation of how the material you cover in your course is going to help them achieve their goals. You don’t have to make a case like a lawyer (unless your course is on becoming a lawyer!), but you do have to articulate how the sections and lectures you’ve created are going to step your students through the knowledge and skills they are looking to acquire.
To achieve this in your intro lecture, state your course goals, describe where your course fits in with your target students’ larger goals, and give a brief overview or walkthrough of the curriculum to demonstrate that it covers all the needed material. Focus on the most important things your students will do in the course and how what they learn is relevant to their lives.
Question #3: Are you the right instructor to learn from?
Students need to know that they can trust you. If they can’t trust you, they can’t learn from you. But this doesn’t mean they want to hear your whole life story or be told about every qualification on your resume. Instead of justifying why your students should listen to you, show them you can listen to them.
Your intro lecture is the best place for you to demonstrate that you understand your students, their frustrations, and their aspirations. Don’t put distance between you and your students by describing all of the accomplishments you’ve made that they haven’t. Instead, demonstrate that you remember what it was like to grapple with the concepts you’re now teaching, and that you know how to help them learn effectively. This will earn you all the credibility you need.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you can make them laugh a little in the process, so you don’t have to be too serious here, just relatable.
Question #4: Am I going to be bored?
Let’s face it, sometimes learning feels boring. But it doesn’t have to be! That’s where you come in.
After addressing the 3 questions above, it’s time to inspire your students. One of the easiest ways to inspire students is to share your enthusiasm for what they are learning. You don’t have to sing and dance (unless your course is on singing and dancing!), but you can’t drone on. Find the joy you have for the topic you chose to make a course on, and share it with your students. If you find something puzzling, express your curiosity. If you think something is particularly noteworthy, make a big deal about it and share your perspective on why. If nothing else, remember one key fact:
If you enjoy teaching, your students are far more likely to enjoy learning.
So have fun! And your students will too. Are you ready? Let’s put it all together and…
Step 3: Write your script
By now you know that your intro video is important. And while you don’t want to just read from a script (see #4, above!), you do want to have one written down to make sure you’re covering all the questions above. Making a script first will also give you a sense of timing. Are you spending too much time on establishing your credibility? Too little time on addressing student/course fit? Writing the intro script is a great way to make sure you cover all the key questions above, and it’s a way for you to remind yourself just how cool your course really is!
The other reason why you should write an intro script is because you want to make a live action video for your introduction. Establishing credibility and trust is really hard if students never get to see your face. Nothing says: “I believe in this course” like putting your face on screen and describing why, so let’s get started!
Part II: Filming Your Intro Lecture
In this section we’ll cover how to take your introduction lecture script and turn it into a fully formed video. Whether you’re creating your very first course or optimizing the introduction of your tenth, follow the instructions below to make sure you are providing a world-class introduction to your expertise.
Step 1: Decide How you Want to Film
You already know from scripting out your course that you’re going to appear on camera in your introduction lecture. After all, nothing says that you believe in your material than putting yourself in front of the camera for your students to see! However, there are several other things to also consider when planning out your introduction lecture to set the correct tone for your course to come. For example, do you want to appear relaxed to put your students at ease? Or would it be better to appear energized and eager to get started?
The background you choose for your shot, the lighting, the activities you’re engaged in — all these can all help establish the right tone for your course. Or they can set the wrong one if you’re not careful. For example, if your course is for professional skydivers trying to learn some new techniques, you may want to record your intro video in the middle of a dive. But, if you are teaching beginners how to overcome their fear of the first jump, you may find it preferable to record your intro video while sipping coffee on the flight deck to demonstrate your calm approach to going up for a dive.
Other things to consider when preparing to record include:
- Time management: Can you say everything you need to say in 3 minutes or less?
- Props: Do you need anything besides yourself and the camera, lights, and microphone?
- Background: What will help you make a good impression? (For example, don’t use a blank wall when a homey bookshelf would work better, and vice versa).
- Other people: Do you need anyone else to help you record or to interact with you on camera?
Of all the videos in your course, this is likely to be the most viewed, so be deliberate about it. Take your time and…
Step 2: Get it Right!
After filming and editing your introduction, look at it with a critical eye. Is it something you feel great about? If not, consider reshooting your intro a few more times until you feel really happy with your take. Here are some things to keep in mind when evaluating your intro video with a critic’s eye:
- Do you feel like your timing was slightly off? Were you rushed or too slow?
- Was your lighting not perfect? Any shadows, or glare on your face?
- Was the sound a bit off? Was there loud traffic in the middle of the shot, or a loud appliance’s fan?
- Did you seem a bit…timid or boring? High energy and a personable instructor are incredibly important for your intro. It can sometimes be hard to gauge your own energy levels until seeing yourself on the screen!
If you think you could improve in any of these areas, consider reshooting your video (and uploading another test video, which we’ll get to in the next step). Just a reminder that you can always reshoot your intro video after you’ve created the rest of your course videos, or even after you’ve published and started receiving feedback from students! Once you feel good about your video, you can move onto…
What About Course Creation Camp?
Now that you’ve finished filming your introduction lecture, it’s time to earn those #SummerCamp points! Here’s how:
- To share your intro video in the Udemy Studio, upload it as a test video and post the link – be sure to use the hashtag #SummerCamp.
- To share your intro video in the How To course discussion board, upload it to Youtube and then share the link in a new discussion board post – don’t forget to use the hashtag #SummerCamp.
- Your post will earn you 15 points (+5 bonus points for a talking head video) and you’ll receive feedback from the community and Udemy’s Instructor Team!