The First Lecture

It is interesting to observe that research shows students form an opinion of a class in the first 10 minutes, and more importantly that their opinion changes very little through the end of the semester.  And “end of semester survey” at the end of the first lecture is often indistinguishable from the actual end of semester survey.

So use those first few minutes of your first class well.  Don't start your interactions with the students by going through a detailed and “boring” syllabus, and other logistics. Instead, sell the class and sell yourself as the instructor!

  • Why is this class important within their field or future career?
  • How will the course stretch their thinking and ability to function as future engineers?
  • Why are you the right person to teach this course, and show how much you're looking forward to teaching the course
  • What unique and challenging things will the students be doing for the course?

Then you can follow with key information from the syllabus followed by launching into actual content.

And of course, check the classroom and its technology and/or boards before the first lecture.  Bring adapters for your computer; some rooms are HDMI only, others are VGA only, and some have everything.  And maybe even bring your own chalk and/or whiteboard markers.