You’ve spent weeks teaching a course, and the final week is here. You figure your students are busy preparing for their final project or exam, and the last thing they want is one more announcement from you, right?
Not quite. We recommend having a few more points of contact with your students before the course closes. Wrapping up a course can help make the content stick more firmly in their brains, and can increase their good feelings about the course, the instructor, and even the school or online program.
What would a course wrap-up announcement or email look like? Here are some ideas. You wouldn’t want to include all of these or it would be too long. Think about your audience and determine what would be most effective for them.
- Remind them of remaining due dates and projects. Making sure everyone is on the same page at the end of the term can really save you some trouble—and a few emails. Yes, that information would be in the calendar, but remember: if it’s worth saying once, say it twice.
- Reaffirm the core concepts of the course. Tell students that if they remember nothing else, remember X, Y, and Z. This is a good way to bring them back from the ideas swirling in their heads to your learning objectives.
- Summarize the course. If you want to go more in depth than a simple list, you may want to summarize the journey students took through the course, guiding them through what they learned in each unit. Such a summary may remind them of something they may have forgotten and give them a chance to see how far they’ve come since day 1. This is especially effective if the final assignments are cumulative and ask them to recall all that knowledge.
- Remind them of some “best of” comments. If your course had some good discussions, you may like to post some of your favorite comments: those that were insightful, thought-provoking, or even just funny.
- Guide them on their journey. Particularly for graduate students, give them a direction to extend the influence of this course over their professional career and develop habits that may help them with their professional life. Perhaps you want to encourage them to read a certain journal or join a professional organization on the topic the course covered. Perhaps you know of another course in the program that is a continuation of your course.
- Share your takeaways. Your students may be very interested in learning what you learned from them.
- Encourage reflection. Ask them what their most meaningful insights from the course are. What are their takeaways? What will they remember more than anything else? Which assignment was especially meaningful? If you want to encourage them to share their answers, rather than simply have a moment for private reflection, include these questions and others (What are they doing next? What other courses are they signed up for?) in a discussion topic in Ask the Class/Raise your Hand. Students in our graduate level courses tend to make connections from course to course, and they may be interested in their colleagues’ thoughts. You may want to post an announcement that directs them to that topic and encourages participation, otherwise they may miss it.
- Say goodbye and good luck. If nothing else seems appropriate, you may simply post a simple farewell/until next time.