Announcements are a primary means of establishing instructor presence in a course. This is the place where you can bring in your teaching expertise–your personal flair–for the whole class to read. The most successful posts tie the instructor’s personal life or experience with the course material, or draw attention to the latest news on the topic. They circle back to the previous week’s assignments and better explain an exam question that many students got wrong. They summarize a discussion or point out something that the instructor learned from various written assignments. They look to the week ahead, reminding students of upcoming assignments and giving them points to look out for. They explain points of confusion or ask students to look at something from another perspective. In this way, even an instructor who didn’t design a course can make the course their own.
The important thing to remember with announcements is that they be topical and deepen student learning. This article from Faculty Focus, Using Announcements to Give Narrative Shape to your Online Course, contains some great tips for how to create a narrative around your class and help students make meaning.
Keep in mind that if you’re posting an announcement that should really be part of the course (even if another instructor teaches it), or something that the students need to successfully complete their assignments, then contact your instructional designer to discuss embedding that material in the course.