Your course homepage is the first-page students land on when the course begins. Essentially, it is course creators’ first connection with learners!
Getting the homepage right is very important to ensure students become interested in your topic and feel comfortable and safe to share.
Your homepage should feel warm, inviting and friendly. You can create this feeling through the tone, language, information and images you use.
Here are our three suggestions to achieve the goal of creating an effective welcoming homepage:
- Contains a message and/or tone that would make learners feel welcomed to the course community
- Would attract learners’ attention and interest through use of relevant examples, analogies, anecdotes etc
- Contains an ice-breaker/welcome activity that is relevant to learners, invites them to share, and fosters a sense of rapport and community
In this section, we’ll explain the steps you can take to set up a great homepage:
1. Welcome students with an introductory message
We recommend including a welcome message that excites students about the topic and also outlines some basic course information. It will be the first message that students see in the course.
You can keep the message simple and use a warm and inviting tone to evoke a friendly environment for students inside the course.
Want to make the page look more attractive? You can definitely include an image or videos to introduce your course. Accompanying it with an interesting fact or even a thought-provoking question would be great too.
2. Provide some key course hooks to excite your students
The homepage is a great time to excite your students about the course journey ahead!
You could share the learning outcomes (what they should be able to do by the end of the course) and mention any exciting or interesting projects, activities or experiences students may have during the course.
You don’t need to provide extended course details and information on the homepage (as getting them welcomed, excited and ready for the homepage activity is the homepage aim); give some key details and a hook, and let students know that you will delve into the details in the upcoming pages.
3. Kickstart your course with an engaging icebreaking activity
An ice-breaker activity/introduce yourself activity is a fun and simple first activity (typically in the homepage comments) that gets students sharing straight away into the community.
It helps learners to feel comfortable, valued, get familiar with posting and start to build rapport with their classmates.
The best ice-breakers are fun, relevant to your learner audience and encourage students to interact with each other.
For example, in the Sustainable Thinking course, an ice-breaker activity on the homepage might be:
How to set up your homepage in OpenLearning
You can easily set up your homepage on OpenLearning by conducting the two steps below:
- Use text widgets to write your homepage content
- To change the comment header and placeholder text, go to Settings at the top right-hand corner of the page
How to add your homepage to the Getting Started module
We recommend adding your homepage as the first page in your Getting Started module (or first module), so learners can navigate easily to the next page after they have introduced themselves. Here are the steps:
- Go to Course Setup > Content
- Start typing “homepage” into the first module
- When the homepage appears in the dropdown, select it and voila!
Have you created any interesting ice breaking or welcoming activities to your homepage? Share your experience in the comments section below!