Communication Templates for Online Courses

Last revised on 5/6/22 by kek

Communication is a key part of Managing Your Online Course; this post has announcement and email templates to aid with that communication.

Before the Course Begins

Welcome Letter (Version 1)

Use several weeks or more before the course begins.

Note: eCampus also sends a welcome letter; review this letter to enrolled students to see what information is already provided.

Dear Students,

Welcome to [course] taught during [semester/session]. I am looking forward to learning with you in our online course. I am writing prior to the official semester start to cover a few items.

Course Availability: The online course will be open on [date course will be available, usually set to one week prior to the official start date] in HuskyCT (huskyct.uconn.edu). Please familiarize yourself with HuskyCT, begin the Course Orientation, read the syllabus, and introduce yourself. The first official day of the semester is [date]. I will be available on this date. If you discover technical difficulties before the first official day of the semester, please contact the university Technology Support Center at techsupport@uconn.edu or 860-486-4357.

Syllabus, Schedule, and Required Materials: I have included a tentative course syllabus and schedule [link to or attach syllabus and schedule]. Read the syllabus carefully, as it contains materials you will need to purchase prior to the start of class as well as course expectations. Note: The official syllabus and schedule will be linked in the HuskyCT course site.

Time Commitment: An online course requires discipline, self-motivation, collaboration, and organization. It also requires the same credit hours of work as a face-to-face course. Although there is greater flexibility for “when” you may complete coursework online, there are required due dates. Class participation is required and expected. You should expect to spend between [X and Y] hours per week working and learning in the course. Please plan your time accordingly.

Sincerely,

[name by which you want students to address you]
[signature line]

Welcome Letter (Version 2)

Use several weeks or more before the course begins.

Note: eCampus also sends a welcome letter; review this letter to enrolled students to see what information is already provided.

Dear Students,

This is [your name]. As your instructor, I’d like to welcome you to [course].

I'm looking forward to working with you to explore [your general topics] during this semester. The course will begin on [date]. You will be able to access the course on [this date, date one week prior]. Once the course becomes available, please begin by familiarizing yourself with the syllabus and schedule. Once the course begins, I will be using announcements for reminders, comments, and other course-related communications. Please check the announcement regularly!

If you are new to online courses, it's worth taking the time to also go over the various parts of the course. Course content is delivered in weekly modules that consist of [customize: lectures, readings, activities, and discussions]. Each new module will be released every [day of the week]. You will also find several assignments throughout the course. There are [customize: two exams, a mid-term and a final exam], in this course.

Please note that this course is not self-paced. Your weekly participation is expected. Refer to the Participation Expectation section in the syllabus for further details. It is very important that you set aside time each week to work on your course to keep up. It can be extremely difficult to catch up once you fall behind.

If you ever experience issues with the course site, reach out to university Technology Support Center at techsupport@uconn.edu or 860-486-4357. If you have any questions about the course, please [preferred method of contact].

[name by which you want students to address you]
[signature line]

“Course is Open for Viewing” Announcement

Use one week before the course begins (a.k.a. “Orientation Week”).

Hello and welcome to [course]!

This class will officially begin on [date course begins].

Meanwhile, feel free to familiarize yourself with our HuskyCT course site and the material in our Course Orientation. To get to our course and the Course Orientation area follow the steps below:

  1. Access HuskyCT by navigating to huskyct.uconn.edu, and log in with your NetID and password.
  2. On the left menu, click "Courses;" then select [course name].
  3. On the left Course Menu, click “Course Orientation.”

Again, the course is opened early for your benefit. I will not be available until the official first day of classes. If you have any technical issues navigating HuskyCT, please use “Student Help” in HuskyCT (on the main Course Menu") or contact the Technology Support Center.

See you soon!

[name by which you want students to address you]

During the Course

General Weekly Announcement (Example)

Use general announcements throughout the course, likely on a weekly basis.

From KINS 6425 - Special Topics in Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan
KINS 6425 Module 2 Wrap-up

Hi All, What a terrific discussion last week! Your reflective essays were equally well done. [Provides feedback]  A terrific start to our semester together. [The informal social greetings and use of "our" facilitates instructor presence] Compared to classes in the past, when considering the final list of the top three in the US and the world, low and behold there is really no consensus among you with the exception of the following:

  1. In the US physical activity/the built environment emerged at the top of your list followed by CVD, cancer, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease. The surprise concern on the list for some of you was hypertension both in the US and the world;
  2. Globally, a point of consensus was the list varied depending on the type of country developing or developed. Nonetheless, CVD, diabetes, and nutrition under and over emerged as your top choices.
  3. Last, although not at the top of the list, the future estimates about the prevalence of mental health were eye catching as were your points made about the stigma relating to seeking treatment. [Wraps-up discussion post by highlighting key points]

Classes very relevant to our discussions this week are Module 4: Weight Stigma in Health Care by Dr. Puhl, Module 8: The Exercise Paradox by Dr. Taylor, Module 9: Chronic Emergency by Professor Buckley, and Module 11: Health-Related Issues of Global Warming which maybe the biggest health concern of all that did not make our list.  [Facilitates transition from one topic to the next.] Stay Tuned!!! Dr. P.

During the Last Week of the Course

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) Announcement

Use during the last week of the course.

Hello class,

I hope that you will be able to find about 15 minutes to complete the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) and internal Course Summative Evaluation surveys. We rely upon your anonymous feedback to guide our continuing efforts to make this class worth the time and money you (and in many cases, your employers) invest. Whether your feelings about the class are positive, negative, or mixed, please take a few minutes to let us know.

Thanks,
[name]

Course Wrap-up Announcement

Use on the last day of the course (or soon after).

Hello class,

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of [course]! Its been a pleasure working with you all. [Optional: Include any last reminders for assessments due by the end of the day. Share some highlights from the course, such as a few key takeaways or a quick summary of how far students have come since the beginning of the course.]

If you haven't already, please take about 15 minutes to complete the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) and internal Course Summative Evaluation surveys.

The course will remain available until [date]; be sure to download or print any work you'd like to save before then.

I wish you the best of luck moving forward, and please reach out if I can be of any assistance.

Best,
[name]