By Beth Eyres

When we think about Zero Week, it’s something that we usually think of in relation to online classes–it’s that week prior to the start of the semester when we open our classes to our online students, so they can look around and become familiar with a new learning management system and, possibly, a new way of taking a class. The extra few days–before graded assignments start–is a chance for students to ask questions, ease their nerves, and start understanding what will be expected of them.

But could the practice of Zero Week be applied to all students in the Spring of 2021? Rationales and benefits of Zero Week, according to the SCC CTL blog consist of the following:

  • Students can start testing the technology required in the course and start problem solving early,
  • Students can become familiar with the course design and how to navigate the course,
  • Students could engage in an activity where they have to reach out to the instructor in some way, making it easier for them to do when they require support,
  • Research conducted by SCC showed that “For 7 out of the last 8 semesters the percentage of students who did zero week and completed with a passing grade was higher than those who didn’t.”

Would any of these benefits apply to students in a modality other than asynchronous online? They might.

If you want to try some Zero Week practices, here are some suggestions:

  • Publish your course earlier than the start date. Include a welcoming home page, an introduction video from you, and information about what students can do now and when the class officially begins.
  • Send an email to the class welcoming them and introducing yourself. Include information about where they can find their course to get started.
  • Publish the course earlier than the start date and allow students to work on the course orientation.

What do you do for Zero Week? Have you tried something new? How did it work? What questions do you have? Post them here in the comments!

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