Rebecca Johnson—You’ve just spent a semester building an online course or preparing for a face-to-face course. After all of your hard work, you sit back and wait to see whether students will enroll. Whether they actually do so is largely beyond your control, but here are a few things to consider.
Engaging the Potential Student
Much of the same advice you’d get about how to engage students in your current class applies to writing a good course description to attract potential students.
What gets you excited to teach this class? Is it a critical question that you’ll tackle with students? Do you help students figure out new ways of solving problems or making sense of the world? Will students pick up particular skills? Keep it simple and descriptive, but spell these out.
A good course description is particularly important if you’re teaching a class that fulfills a requirement for graduation. For example, if a student can satisfy a General Education Elective, Perspective or Science credit by taking your course, you have a chance to describe for students what it means to think like a philosopher, or an art historian, or a political scientist, or a biologist.
Increasing Course Visibility
Recently, RIT’s Department of Criminal Justice asked a number of faculty to develop online courses that could be offered during the summer. They created a flyer to let students know about this new set of classes, and posted it where they knew students would see it. Click the image to view a larger version in a new browser window.
The description of each course is simply a set of critical questions for that course. The course name and code are clearly visible. In fact, Tony Smith and Judy Porter appear on this flyer teaching the same course, but emphasizing their approach to the material. If you plan on making a flyer and your course qualifies for a Gen Ed credit, be sure to emphasize that visually by placing that information near the course title and in a font size similar to the course title.