Introduce Yourself- Discussion

One of the most important aspects of an online course is the interaction between learners. Have the learners review the course syllabus, write and post a self-introduction. Different instructors have different student self-introductions. I have used the following:

1. Write and post your self-introduction including mention of your educational and science background related to the topics of this course. Also include a response to ALL of the following:

  • Draft one or two specific goals you want to accomplish by the end of the course.
  • Consider and describe how this course can contribute to your career goals.
  • Discuss your excitement, challenges, or apprehensions as you begin this course.

This discussion provides an excellent opportunity for you and your fellow learners to get to know each other. Please make sure that your post is well-written, grammatically correct, and informative.

Respond to other learner’s posting with thoughtful, insightful, and helpful responses.

Currently, I have found marking the discussion area to be time-consuming, and there I have the students copy and paste their discussion posts into one MS Word document. This document is submitted into the appropriate course dropbox.

Conrad and Donaldson (2012) suggested using icebreakers, individual introductions, and discussions concerning community issues such as how they’ll conduct critiques.

2. One of my colleagues uses “Students Phone Home” activity:


Bender (2012) has the following suggestions for student introductions:

3. Ask students to discuss relevant experience in their personal introduction.

4. Completing a sentence. Such as “I was riding the subway today when I…” or “The weirdest gift I received…”

5. Students interview and introduce each other.

6. Playing a game. “The instructor gives detailed descriptions of nineteen passengers by age, occupation, family status, income level, state of health, and so on, and with an added flourish says the twentieth passenger is you! The challenge is to determine who should be allowed on the lifeboat” (p. 83).

7. Asking students to write short descriptive stories about themselves.

Bender (2012) indicates that the first discussion topic should be enticing, intriguing and marvelous — so that the students do not want to miss out.


I find the subject line is very important in attracting readers. Make sure the students do NOT write “about me” in the subject line. What other topics or suggestions do you have?


Bender, T. (2012). Discussion-based online teaching to enhance student learning Theory, practice, and assessment (2 ed.). Sterling, Virginia: Stylus Publishing LLC.

Conrad, R.-M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2012). Continuing to engage the online learner: More activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.




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