Forging a Connection with your Students

As we move into the first weeks of the semester, organization, flexibility and an open mind will be your keys to a smooth start-up. These quick tips will help build your student connections right away:

“Sunshine Emails”

Send your students an email before the start of classes to:

  • welcome them
  • introduce yourself, and
  • tell them a bit about the fun and amazing things they are going to be exploring and learning with you.

They will come into class with less apprehension, more excitement, and feeling like they already know who you are.

Introduce yourself in a lighthearted & fun way

Take some time on the first day of class to let the students know who you are. Tell them:

  • where you like to travel
  • what your favourite band or movie is
  • what animal you identify with and why, or
  • something that they might find surprising.

Students will likely find something that they share with you, or are able to relate to, which will create a bond through commonalities.

Let them know your classroom is a community of learning & investigation

You want your students to feel comfortable asking questions, offering an answer, attempting a connection or application – taking academic risk.

The greatest learning comes from trying and perhaps not getting it right the first time, by not giving up, and by reflecting, revising and trying again.

If you model this from the start, you will build a connection with your students by not only showing them that it’s okay to take an academic risk, to be wrong and learn through productive failure. After all, an error is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it!

Set your students up for successful communication with you

  • How would you like your students to address you?
  • What are your pronouns?
  • Do you want them to email you through Outlook or through DC Connect?
  • Will you be available for them to call or message you on Teams?
  • Will you have a specific location and hours where they can find you, either remotely or in person?

Setting and managing these expectations will reduce any sense of disconnectedness your students may feel and help you all to communicate effectively and efficiently.

DC Connect Tool Recommendation / Video Note

Looking for an easy way to introduce yourself to your students? Check out the Video Note tool in DC Connect. You can capture your own video, have it auto captioned, and inserted on a course page, announcement, or assignment with the click of a button!

Questions about Video Note?

Connect with the DC Connect support team and email:


Contact Amanda Makynik, director, Educational Development with your teaching and learning questions!