Promoting your new college course

The new academic year is starting at almost 4,000 colleges and universities around the country. What will make this a special year for many faculty is offering a new course that they have developed.

Typically when you develop a new course, you are excited about exploring and teaching a new topic and sharing a great learning experience with your students. But that excitement can turn to disappointment when you find that only a few students have registered for the course, and your course is cancelled because it doesn’t have the required minimum number of students.

Let me offer some suggestions for promoting your course based on my own experience in creating new courses and from my experience serving on the University of Florida’s General Education Committee and the College of Journalism and Communications Curriculum Committee.

Don’t count on the course to draw students without your active involvement in promoting the course. Even if you have developed a great course, the first time you offer a course, you are likely to have some difficulty attracting students.

Your new course probably isn’t listed in the university’s catalog and may not be included in your college’s advising materials. So students may not be aware of the course.

Even if they learn about your course, the course is competing with the established courses in the curriculum that students are familiar. Your new course is an unknown.

Develop written descriptions to use in promoting the course – from a one-page flyer to a tweet.
Provide specifics about the course that would appeal to the students. List course objectives, assignments, etc. In addition to the course title and number, include the course meeting time so students will know if the course will fit into their class and work schedules. Explain how the course fits into the major or minor – or why it is a great elective. Include a brief bio of you, and explain how students can obtain more information about the course.

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