Welcome Your Students Before Classes Start

This year, more than ever, it’s important to reach out to your students prior to the start of the semester. Let them know how the class will be meeting:

  • if in person or blended, which days to they come to campus? And how do they connect to class on the other days? Is there a Zoom link they will use?
  • If hybrid remote instruction, how do they connect to class? Is there a Zoom link they will use?
  • If online, it’s always best practice to welcome your students in advance.

We recommend that you have your students download the Zoom app and log in through New York Tech. This allows you to enable the “only authenticated users can join” meeting option, minimizes the chance of “Zoom Bombing,” and lets you create pre-assigned breakout groups. (Note: for an introduction to how to use Zoom with Canvas, we strongly recommend this video walk-through.)

You may want to have your students set up their Zoom accounts before the semester starts, so you don’t run into technical issues the first week of classes. Their accounts will be created automatically when they log in, but they will have to go their New York Tech email and activate the account. There are several steps involved – visiting nyit.zoom.us and signing in, going into their email and activating their account, downloading the app, and signing in.

To simplify the process, here is an “assignment” you can share with your students that walks them through the process of setting up Zoom. It includes screenshots showing them what they’ll need to do at each stage. The assignment also asks students to upload a profile picture. That way, if a student turns off her camera, you see her image instead of an empty box.

If you use Canvas, import the activity from the Canvas Commons into your courses. Here’s a video to show you how. If you use Blackboard, either link to our Google Doc, or make a copy of it and customize it to suit your needs.

Once you’ve imported the assignment into your learning management system of choice, remember to publish your course (Canvas) or make your course available (Blackboard). Then, use the announcements feature to send an email to the students, and include a link to the assignment. Here’s how you can create an announcement in Canvas, and how to create an announcement in Blackboard.