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Welcome Letter

What should I include in my welcome to the students?

Following are examples of topics to cover in a welcome letter for an individual start class and a group start class.

Sample Welcome Letter for Individual Start Class

"Hello, (student's name). I'm pleased that you have enrolled in (course name) and I look forward to working with you. I encourage you to begin working on the course right away.

To start, please be sure to complete and submit the Student Information Form included on your course syllabus. If you complete the form online, it will be sent directly to me. You can also print it out and fax or mail it to me with your first assignment. You'll find my contact information at the bottom of this e-mail. I look forward to finding out about your interests in (subject matter)."

Setting and Sticking to Your Completion Schedule

"In addition to the questions on the Student Information Form, please give me an approximate schedule of your plans for completing each assignment and examination for this course. This will let me know when to expect your work. I will make every effort to help you meet any deadlines you may have for completing this course, but I cannot promise to grade numerous assignments at once to help you meet those deadlines if you should fall behind schedule. You need to set a schedule and stick to it. Do not submit more than (number) assignments at once without my permission. My feedback to your work is an essential part of the learning process."

Asking Questions

"You are welcome to contact me with questions about the course content. If it is a question critical for your completion of an assignment, please note that in the subject heading of your e-mail message so I can get back to you immediately. Remember, questions regarding scheduling and taking your examinations can be answered in your online Student Handbook, or by UW Educational Outreach Academic Program Support at onlinelearning@extn.washington.edu."

How to Submit Assignments

Your instructions for submitting assignments will be included on your instructor biography, but you may want to reiterate them in your letter. Here are some sample instructions:

(Include the following section if you can accept assignments as attachments to e-mail messages.)

Assignments as E-mail Attachments

"Please send your assignments as an e-mail attachment. I can accept assignments no longer than (number) pages in an e-mail message, and I can only download assignments into (name of word processing software).

If your assignment is more than (number) computer screens long, I will have to print the document to evaluate it. In this case, please send me a supply of self-addressed, stamped envelopes if you wish the entire assignment back. Otherwise, I will send you a summary evaluation via e-mail."

Include the following section if you do not wish to receive assignments as attachments to e-mail messages, but can receive assignments as regular e-mail messages.

Assignments in the body of an E-mail

"I cannot accept assignments that are sent as e-mail attachments. If you wish to send an assignment by e-mail, you must include the assignment in the body of the e-mail as a plain text file, not a formatted word processing file. I can accept assignments no longer than (number) pages. If you need help in learning how to paste assignments directly into the body of an e-mail message, rather than as an attachment, please contact dltechsupp@extn.washington.edu.

If your assignment is more than (number) computer screens long, I will have to print the document to evaluate it. In this case, please send me a supply of self-addressed, stamped envelopes if you wish the entire assignment back. Otherwise, I will send you a summary evaluation via e-mail."

How to Receive Feedback on Your Assignments

"I'm happy to return your assignments by e-mail, (fax, if available) or postal service. Remember that if you submit your assignment by postal mail and want it returned by mail, you must also submit a self-address, stamped envelope. If you want to receive your grade and my comments by fax or e-mail, you must put your fax number or e-mail address on the assignment you mail."

If fax is available

"If you prefer to fax assignments to me and have them returned by postal service, you'll need to send me a supply of self-addressed, stamped envelopes with adequate postage. "

Insert your signature with fax, e-mail, postal address, and any planned vacation information.

Sample Welcome Letter for Group Start Class

Use the sample welcome letter for individual start classes above, with these exceptions

Instead of "To start, please be sure to complete and submit the Student Information Form included on your course syllabus. If you complete it online, it will be sent directly to me," use, "To start, please be sure to post your autobiography in the Student Autobiographies discussion forum. You'll find a link to this forum on your syllabus."

Instead of "Please give me an approximate schedule of your plans for completing each assignment and examination for this course," use "Please note the due dates for assignments on the calendar. You'll find a link to the calendar on your syllabus."

Submitting assignments:Leave this section out of your welcome letter. Many group start classes use an online tool for assignment submission. The Distance Learning Design Department at UW Educational Outreach will be in touch with you about how assignments are to be submitted for your class.

Asking questions: Instead of "You are welcome to contact me with questions about the course content," use "If you have questions about lessons or assignments, please post them in the discussion forum. Please do not e-mail me directly with your questions, as I will post all responses to questions on the forum as a resource for other students. I have set up the forum so that I receive an e-mail as soon as anyone posts to the discussion forum, so my response will be timely.

It's not that I don't want to hear from you—on the contrary, I want to hear what you have to say/ask, and I want all of your co-students to hear it as well! You will find your fellow students to be a great source of help and ideas, too! I encourage you to post both technical and conceptual questions in the forums.

Of course, you may e-mail me if you have a particular issue unsuitable for public posting."



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