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10 Unique Ideas for How to Start an Online Class

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If you’re looking for some new and interesting thoughts on how to start an online class, you’ve come to the right place!

Here at the Tutor Resource, we specialize in online teaching and have been online teachers ourselves for years! We know first-hand that online teaching has its own special challenges, including how to start an online class.

When classes convene in person, there is an organic flow that begins when the first student enters until the professor launches into the lesson. The hushed sounds of students grab their materials and talking with peers helps ease them into a mindset for learning.

With the recent shift to online learning, we have had to change the way we begin our classes. Before, in-person, this would happen more organically and without any lulls or awkwardness.

However, now that everything is done remotely over Zoom or other platforms, there can often be slow moments as students join the meeting and get situated. Minds may start to wonder as they open new tabs on their devices waiting for class “officially” start.

But thankfully, there are a few things teachers can do reduce these slower parts of virtual class sessions.

Ideas for Starting an Online Class

In this blog post, we’ll share some fun ideas for how to start an online class that will get your students excited and engaged from the very beginning. Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Let students choose their own username

This is a great way to start an online class because it allows each student to have a say in how they are represented in the online space. Not only that, but it also helps create a sense of community and belonging from the very beginning.

One potential benefit of allowing students to choose their own user names for an online class is that it can help create a more supportive and welcoming community.

By giving students some agency and ownership over their online identities, instructors can foster a sense of inclusion and camaraderie among students, which can help encourage participation and engagement in course activities.

Additionally, student-chosen usernames can offer an opportunity for self-expression and creativity, further underscoring the importance of adapting to the unique needs, interests, and learning styles of each individual student.

Overall, allowing students to choose their own user name is a great way to start an online class as it can promote a positive learning environment and create opportunities for meaningful interaction between instructors and students.

2. Do a “meet and greet”

This is where everyone in the class introduces themselves to the rest of the group. This can be done through a forum post, live chat, or even video conferencing.

Doing a meet and greet at the start of an online class helps create a more personal connection between students and discourages isolation.

There are many different benefits to doing a meet and greet at the start of an online class. One major advantage is that it allows students to get to know their peers and instructor, helping to create a supportive learning environment.

Additionally, meeting face-to-face with other students can help to facilitate collaboration and discussion, which are important aspects of effective learning in an online environment.

Furthermore, a meet and greet can give students an opportunity to ask questions, share experiences, and discuss any challenges they may be facing in the course.

Overall, this type of interaction can help students feel more connected to the course material and motivated to succeed in their studies.

3. Set up study buddies

Another great way to start an online class is by setting up study buddies. This can be done by having students pair up with someone in the class that they don’t know very well and agree to help each other study for upcoming tests or quizzes.

This not only helps create bonds between classmates, but also encourages students to take an active role in their own learning.

In addition to facilitating peer collaboration, setting up study buddies can also help your students stay motivated and focused throughout the duration of your online course.

With the support and guidance of study buddies, your students can feel more confident and enthusiastic about tackling the various challenges and obstacles that may arise in an online class.

So, by establishing study buddies early on in your online course, you can maximize your student’s chances of success in this new learning environment.

4. Play games

Games are always a fun way to break the ice and get people engaged. There are tons of great games that can be played online, so choose one that you think your students will enjoy and watch as they bond with each other over the friendly competition.

Playing games is a great way for instructors to start an online class because it allows students to ease into the course material in a fun, interactive way.

By playing games, students are able to learn course concepts in a low-stakes environment, which can help them build confidence and engagement with the material.

Additionally, games can facilitate collaboration between students and help foster a sense of community within the online learning environment.

All these factors make games an ideal tool for instructors looking to engage their students and set them up for success in an online class.

5. Share interesting facts

This is a great way to start an online class because it allows everyone to get to know each other on a more personal level.

When students share interesting facts about themselves, it helps create a sense of connection and trust which is essential for any successful learning experience.

One reason why having students share facts about themselves is a fun and engaging way for an instructor to start an online class is that it helps students get to know one another.

This can help foster a sense of community within the class, which can encourage collaboration and more active participation in discussions.

In addition, sharing facts about oneself can also be a great way for students to engage with the course material by helping them connect their own experiences with the content being taught.

Overall, by tapping into students’ interests and encouraging interaction and collaboration, instructors are able to create a more dynamic and engaging learning environment for their online classes.

6. Have a discussion

A discussion is a great way to get everyone thinking critically about a topic and can be done easily through forums or live chat sessions.

Having a discussion at the beginning of an online class gets everyone talking and thinking right from the start which sets the tone for future interactions.

This not only helps people feel more connected to each other, but it also allows you as the instructor to get to know your students on a more personal level which can be helpful when tailoring future lessons.

Furthermore, it helps create a sense of community in the online space which is essential for any successful learning experience.

7. Splash Screen

Before you even start class, as students are logging in, have a splash screen posted for them to see. Starting a Zoom class can be confusing for students. If they are waiting for their teacher or classmates to connect, they may stare at a blank screen in silence.

To help ease this transition and make online learning more familiar, consider starting every Zoom session with a welcome message – just as you would in a face-to-face classroom setting.

A splash screen is a great way to welcome students into the class and can include anything from a simple message to an auto-advancing slideshow with announcements, an agenda, or images.

You could also display a thought-provoking quote or poem on the splash screen to get students thinking beyond the course material before class even starts! Then, you can start off class by discussing the screen before you launch into your lesson.

8. Play Music

To start your class on the right foot, play some music for the first few minutes as students join in. This will save you from feeling awkward while trying to fill silent space with conversation, and it also creates a pleasant mood for your students.

The type of music you play can be reflective of your interests or requests from them–whatever makes them feel most comfortable in your ‘ classroom’.

If there’s a connection between what you’re teaching and history or society, use Music relevant to that so you can refer back to it later on in the lesson.

9. Annotation doodles

If you’re comfortable with your students working together, you can let them use a shared annotation screen for doodling. This can be used for entirely unrelated tasks like playing tic tac toe, or it can be related to the content of what they’re currently learning.

If you want to make it more educational, start class with a difficult equation or list of vocabulary words and have them work on it together.

Upload a meme that is popular among your students (like the one shown below). Students will choose the option with which they identify most.

This can be used as an icebreaker to let students connect with each other before class starts. With a tool like this, there are endless possibilities!

10. Brain teasers

Before class, prepare a list of brain teasers or riddles for your students. These can be written on a whiteboard or shared in the chat box.

As students join, they can begin working on them individually or in groups. This is a great way to get their minds thinking and to fill any empty space while you’re waiting for everyone to join.

FAQs: How to Start an Online Class

Do you still have questions about starting an online class? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

How do I set up an online class?

To set up an online class, you will need to create a virtual classroom space. This can be done through Zoom or any other online learning platform. You will also need to decide on the content that you will cover in the class and design activities for your students to engage in.

Finally, you should prepare yourself for teaching an online course by familiarizing yourself with the platform, setting up the classroom environment, and having materials prepared.

How do I start teaching online for beginners?

If you are a beginner to teaching online, it is important to start off slow and comfortable. Begin with the basics by getting familiar with the platform and making sure your students have access to the resources they need.

Establish a good communication system before getting into the content of your class and create a space for students to interact. Finally, plan and structure your lesson in a way that is engaging and meaningful to learners.

How do I start an online language class?

If you are teaching an online language class, it is important to use engaging and interactive activities. This could include speaking or writing tasks, role plays, or other activities that allow students to practice the language in real-life situations.

How do you start a class?

Starting a class can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Start by introducing yourself and creating a space for conversation. Then, warm up the class by playing music or sharing a meme.

Finally, provide some brain teasers to get your students thinking and begin covering the content of the class. Be sure to keep your students engaged and provide them with plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Conclusion: How to Start an Online Class

These are just a few ideas for ways that you can start an online class in order to engage your students from the very beginning.

Of course, there are many other ways to do this as well – so get creative and find what works best for you and your students!

The most important thing is that you make sure everyone feels welcome, safe, and respected so that they can have the best learning experience possible.

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