The initial meeting of each class is, perhaps, the most important meeting of the semester. It sets the tone for the course. Because most of you have never taught at Tufts before, students have very little information to use when deciding about you and your course. In the first class you should give them a syllabus which includes an overview of the course, your goals and learning objectives, and the kinds of assignments (projects, papers, exams) you will ask them to complete. By including your phone number or email address, you will show you are available as a resource and are willing to help them if they have any questions.
But you shouldn’t stop there! This is your chance to get students excited about the course. Be prepared to get them involved with the material right away. A brainstorming session about what they know and don’t know, a short video clip that illuminates some aspect of the course content, or a brief in-class writing exercise can serve to whet their appetites and solidify their desire to enroll. Since there are only 13 weeks to the semester, plan to teach a full class the first week, but allow for adjustments based upon the enrollment.