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Start Chart: Inspire Students in Your First Lecture

Making a stellar first impression on your students is of utmost importance. Unless students are excited by the topic as you present it in the first 10 minutes, and understand what’s in it for them, they may not stick with the course. Your introduction lecture should also encourage your students to connect with you on a professional and personal level. If your students like and trust you from the beginning, they’ll be more forgiving later on (for example, when you have to narrate that lengthy and tedious software installation). Are you ready to inspire them from the get-go? This article covers how to built your intro lecture for success with your students.



Affirm your students’ learning goals

You should tell your students that they want to learn the topic you’re teaching. This may seem silly, but this affirmation can increase students’ dedication to both the topic and the course. Address the the question, “Why should I care?” by letting your passion for the topic shine through. 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. Convince students they should care about the topic as much as you do. Students don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking to you to tell them what they need to know. Be confident, assertive, and persuasive.

You should also identify your target student so students know they’re in a course that matches their background and experience. To do this, imagine completing the sentence: “I created this course for…”

Describe what value students will get from the course

What is the overarching goal of your course? What can students do or accomplish after learning these knowledge and skills, and how can they apply them to their lives? Make sure that you are focusing your curriculum around the skills your students will learn.

Here are a few examples of how to make you course learning goals student-centric:

  • Demonstrate what students will be able to do at the end of the course with visual examples (“You will build this fun website that does X, Y, and Z”; “You will be able to build complex spreadsheets that calculate X, Y, and Z”).
  • Share a personal transformation story (“I started with no knowledge of programming and am now able to do X, Y, and Z”; “I had no understanding of body language and now I can read people’s emotions upon meeting them for the first time.”)
  • Describe how the the course takes the student from non-mastery to mastery (“Here are the 5 stages we will go through in the course”).

Convince students that it’s all possible

Make your students believe in their abilities! To do this, explain how you’re going to teach them the material.

  • Don’t be unrealistic about the potential time and energy students need to invest, but do underscore that those goals are well within their reach.
  • Clearly articulate how the sections and lectures you’ve created are going to guide your students through the learning process by giving a brief overview of the curriculum.
  • Focus on the skills students will learn rather than the knowledge or theory.

At this point you should also instill students with confidence that you are the right person to take them on this journey, so be sure to describe (again, briefly) your background and expertise in the topic.  Students want to know that you are approachable, so emphasize that However, rather than putting 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. Try and show your face on camera to build that extra level of trust and credibility!

Put it all together

Now that you know what to cover in your introduction lecture to inspire your students it’s time to get started scripting, rehearsing, filming, and editing! Click here for a lecture creation timeline you can apply to each of your individual lectures, and then follow these steps:

  1. Script out your introduction lecture (we’ve created this template to help you).  If you’d like, share your script in the Studio for feedback from the community and from the Instructor Team!
  2. Film your introduction lecture video! This article outlines some considerations and best practices you can employ while filming.
  3. Share your completed video in the Udemy Studio. You can upload it as a test video, to YouTube, or directly to the Facebook group.
  4. Move on to the second phase of the Start Chart: Activating your students!