Leading the First Day of Class

In this module, faculty learn how to plan for a successful first day, start building a community of learners, and implement active learning strategies that help students understand course expectations.

To satisfy the module requirements, practicing faculty must apply at least one technique, such as creating an outline for the first class session, using an icebreaker, or assigning a syllabus activity.

This module is one of seven modules under ACUE’s unit on Establishing a Productive Learning Environment.

Advising Subject Matter Expert

Linda Nilson
Founding Director, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation
Clemson University

Module References

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Bain, K. (2004). What the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Davis, B. G. (2009). Tools for teaching (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Foster, D. A., & Hermann, A. D. (2011). Linking the first week of class to end-of-term satisfaction: Using a reciprocal interview activity to create an active and comfortable classroom. College Teaching, 59, 111–116.

Howard, J. R. (2015). Discussion in the college classroom: Getting your students engaged and participating in person and online. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lang, J. M. (2008). On course: A week-by-week guide to your first semester of college teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Laws, E. L., Apperson, J. M., Buchert, S., & Bregman, N. J. (2010). Student evaluations of instruction: When are enduring first impressions formed? North American Journal of Psychology, 12, 81–92.

McKeachie, W. J., & Hofer, B. K. (2002). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Nilson, L. B. (2010). Teaching at its best: A research-based resource for college instructors (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Wieman, C. (2014). First day of class – recommendations for instructors. Retrieved from the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia website: http://www.cwsei.ubc.ca/

Wilson, J. H., & Wilson, S. B. (2007). The first day of class affects student motivation: An experimental study. Teaching of Psychology, 34, 226–230.