In course introductory videos, instructors can establish a social presence with their students, anchor course content, and point out critical information and expectations for their course.

A good course introduction video, like the one above with Jodi Collova teaching Legal Research, has several elements, but, most importantly, a direct address video helps students connect with you—it informs them about your personality and teaching style and engages them socially.

Tell your students about the course, but also tell them who you are and what your experience, credentials and main area of focus is, so they can trust that you are an adept and knowledgeable guide. Sharing your personal interest in the course content can generate a point of connection with your students and may present a new angle on the content that could pique their interest and further engage them in study.

Video intros should be general to preserve their relevance. Specifics about the course schedule or assignments, for example, are best detailed in the syllabus or within the course modules on Canvas.

Guidelines for an effective video introduction to a course

  • 1-3 minutes in length
  • Direct address–look directly at the camera and speak to your students
  • Follow self-recording guidelines
    (diffuse lighting, quiet location, etc)

Elements to include in your outline or script

  • Welcome students to the course
  • Instructor self intro, mini bio
  • Tell them What will they learn in the class
  • Tell them Why the content should be of interest to them
  • Give specifics on how to be successful in this course, i.e. Instructor Expectations and specific needs or cautions (timely assignments, activities, technology needs, etc.)
  • Repeat instructor contact information, availability, communication preferences and expected response times
  • Wrap-up – Add some enthusiasm and invite them to learn

A video introduction can be viewed prior to a first class and can set student expectations for a course along with generating their readiness to learn. Let students know how this course content is relevant to them; give them a reason to be intellectually present and direct their attention to any specifics that are critical to student success in the course. Essentially, let them know what’s in it for them and what they need to look out for, so they are both motivated and can best prepare for any unique requirements. Emphasizing your availability and providing specifics on your office hours and communication preferences will help set student expectations and let them know how to obtain support when and if they need it.

Course Intro Video Examples

Here are some examples of course introductory videos. Each does not follow every suggestion, but at minimum, they offer socially engaging welcomes and general overviews of course content.

Davis Yee, Tax Law; Course Intro Video
Elizabeth Marlow, Community Based Participatory Research; Course Intro Video
Barbara Sattler, Environmental Health; Course Intro Video

Works Cited

Biard, N., Cojean, S., & Jamet, E. (2017). Effects of segmentation and pacing on procedural learning by video. Computers in Human Behavior. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.002

van Gog, T. (2014). The Signaling (or Cueing) Principle in Multimedia Learning. In The Cambridge handbook of multimedia learning(2nd ed., pp. 263-278). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.


Written by Mishiara Baker with editing and research support by Mickey Smith


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