Most online courses have an “Introduce Yourself” post. I imagine that these posts get pretty boring for online students, so I try to make the intro more related to the class. I’m not a huge fan of “post once reply twice discussions,” but intro discussions do kind of lend themselves to this format. Here are a couple examples.

“Set of Me”

For a math class, we will discuss sets and functions fairly early on. Another very high priority in an online math class is that students immediately learn how to take a picture with their phone and upload it to the LMS (to share work and assignments).

Initial Post:

Take a picture of a collection of objects that defines who you are or things you like to do. Don’t tell us what they are, other students will guess what your hobbies and interests are based on the picture.

Subject line: First Name + where you live or  what you prefer to be called

Example Subject line: Call me Dr A

Example Subject line: Maria from Salt Lake City

Replies:

Reply to at least two students and guess what their hobbies might be (and of course, share if you have the same interest).

Career Journey and Ethics Quandary

This post is for a Business Ethics course. It really sparked a lot of conversation right out of the gate as students grappled with each other’s questions and saw the complicated career paths many of them had taken.

Initial Post

  • What kinds of jobs have you had?
  • What kind of industry do you want to work in? (e.g. healthcare, energy, legal)
  • Pose an ethical question you have encountered on the job or one you think you would encounter in the industry. Don’t answer it!
  • In the subject line, give us your first name and write a brief statement about your ethical question.

Example Subject Line: Maria – Reimbursement for Remote vs On-site Workers

Replies

  • Reply to at least two other people and weigh in with your thoughts about the question they have proposed.
  • Please reply to others in the class if they have areas of interest to you. You are always allowed to participate as much as you’d like to.

Least Favorite Tech Product

This is discussion prompt is for a Masters Education Technology course.

Initial Post:

  • What kinds of jobs have you had?
  • What kind of education job are you hoping to get next? (or what are you hoping to do next?)
  • Write a product review for your least favorite tech product (an ed tech product if you have an example), pretending it is one of those 3-4 sentence reviews you sometimes see online. Analyze the experience – was it hard for you to use? Hard for others to use? Badly designed?
  • Share a link to the product (if it still exists).
  • In the subject line, state your first name and the name of the product.

Example Subject Line: Maria – Starfish

Replies:

  • Reply to at least two students, pretending you are a product manager for the tech they hate. See if you can write a response that addresses their concerns and talks about how the product might change in the future to meet their needs (yes, you’ll be making it up).

The Challenge to You

Write an introduce yourself discussion post where the students might actually learn something relevant while they are meeting each other. I’d love to hear about some of your examples.

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