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Creating a welcoming online classroom: 4 ways to make a learner feel welcomed
Learn more about how you can ensure a learner who enrolls late into your online classroom feels welcomed!
Welcome Classroom

As teachers on Outschool, it is vital to recognize the importance of establishing an inclusive and inviting online classroom environment for all learners, including those who enroll late. Although it is not solely your responsibility to bring a learner who enrolls late up to speed, it is essential to create an inclusive and welcoming online classroom environment for all learners, regardless of when they enroll in your online classroom. Learners who enroll late may experience uncertainty when joining an ongoing class, but with the right strategies, you can make them feel welcomed and help them integrate smoothly. In this article, we will highlight the significance of prioritizing learner inclusion, offer practical advice to support learners who enroll late, and also highlight the importance of keeping your class content up to date. By implementing these recommendations, we hope that every learner feels valued and empowered to thrive in your online classroom.

1. Provide a warm welcome

Welcoming a learner who enrolls late with open arms sets the tone for their experience. Teachers can introduce the new learner to their classmates via the classroom page or live when the class meets, encouraging existing learners to greet and engage with them. A warm welcome creates a sense of belonging and helps the learner feel instantly included.

2. Share important information

It’s crucial to share pertinent class materials, guidelines, and resources to assist learners who enroll in your class late in getting up to speed. For example, you can provide a brief summary of previous discussions or key points covered in previous sessions. Sharing these resources helps the learner quickly grasp the context and feel more comfortable participating in ongoing class discussions or activities. 

You can do this with a quick message to the learner, guardian, or parent. Note that learners who enroll late will only have access to class content from when their enrollment starts (or from the beginning of the week when the learner enrolled in flex classes). Previously, teachers could allow learners to enroll late during the first week of the class. When this was the case, learners had access to all previous content.

3. Encourage Participation

Active participation is vital for learners who enroll late to integrate into the online classroom. You should actively encourage the learner to participate in ongoing discussions, activities, and assignments. By creating opportunities for engagement, you empower learners to contribute their ideas and perspectives, making them feel involved and valued.

4. Keeping Class Listings Up to Date

To ensure families have accurate expectations, you must keep class listings up-to-date. Clearly communicating the topics, activities, and materials covered in each class session helps families understand what will be covered depending on the week they enroll. This transparency allows learners who enroll late and their families to make informed decisions and feel confident in joining the class when they do. Be sure to review the Changing a Class Listing policy before making any changes to your class listing. 

As an Outschool teacher, you have the opportunity to make a significant impact on learners who enroll late. By providing a warm welcome, sharing important information, encouraging participation, and keeping your class listing up to date, you can create an inclusive environment that fosters the success and integration of learners who enroll late. Remember, every learner deserves a chance to thrive and feel welcomed, regardless of when they join your class. 

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