I. Course Design Principles > D. Interactivity

I.D.1 Students are requested to introduce themselves to the class.

Values Supported



Meeting the other students creates a personal connection among the students, which has been demonstrated to positively impact participation and retention in distance learning courses.

This element supports Co-presence, because sharing introductions makes students more familiar with each other; Technology, because such introductions help overcome some of the isolation students may feel when working online; and Responsibility, because students choose for themselves how they want to present themselves to each other.


Students can post an introduction in the discussion board, create a personal web page with or without a photo, send e-mail to the class mailing list, engage in an online chat, or use any other communication technology at their disposal. It is a good idea to start the course with an assignment asking students to introduce themselves, and to tell the class something about themselves. Be sure to require students to comment on each others’ posts. Not only is this a good way for them to start getting to know each other, it is also good practice with using a discussion board, as well as exposing them to the different ways their fellow students may be working with course content.

The instructor should also introduce himself/herself. When an instructor offers such an introduction, it adds a personal dimension to the more visible professional dimension; this personal dimension may be more important for encouraging student engagement with online courses.


Respecting people of diverse talents and ways of learning is one of Chickering and Gamson’s seven principles: