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Promoting Your Courses: Take Charge of Your Course Enrollments

Mon Nov 13, 2023 at 07:30 AM

With changing enrollment trends, you may want to consider going the extra step to fill your courses by actually promoting them to students. Even though efforts at the college and department levels are key, you can be more proactive at the individual level to inform students which courses you will teach in upcoming semesters. Piquing their interest using a variety of channels may boost or maintain student enrollment in your sections. 

Promoting your classes, especially new courses, can give you a chance to engage with students and explain what your courses will cover and why they will be invaluable in helping students accrue knowledge and build skills. I have had many students enroll in more than one of my courses after receiving my upcoming course lists and/or hearing me discuss my courses.

Strategies to Promote Your Classes 

Although the methods below are not exhaustive, they do have one characteristic in common: taking active steps as a course instructor to inform students about your upcoming courses.

  • Announce a list of your upcoming courses: I send a Moodle announcement to my students every semester to let them know which Gen Eds and electives I will offer in upcoming semesters. The list provides the following information for each course: title and CRN, course modality, meeting times, Gen Ed attributes (if any), and a catchy description of the course. 
  • Use a follow-up discussion to highlight your upcoming courses in class: After I send a list of upcoming Gen Eds and electives, I take a few minutes in class to discuss the courses, how they differ from the course(s) students are currently taking with me, and why I think they are worth taking. 
  • Mention relevant upcoming courses to individual students: I chat with each of my students individually after class through an activity I call Chat With Your Professor. During these chats, students typically tell me about their academic interests. If the conversation reveals that a student has interests that align with material in one of my upcoming Gen Eds or electives, I suggest the student take it, and I explain why it would be beneficial. Students are then aware that my course is a suitable option for them, and it is on their radar screen when they register for courses.
  • Suggest other courses if your course is canceled: Many of us have had Gen Eds and electives canceled due to low enrollments. I view the students in those courses as a potential audience for other courses I am offering that semester. I contact each student in the canceled course and let them know what other Gen Eds and electives I am teaching that semester. I send each student the same information about the courses that I had in my upcoming course list.
  • Advertise your courses with a banner at the Oakland Center: We’ve all seen the colorful banners at the Oakland Center advertising activities at the university. You can also use these banners to advertise your courses. You will need to design the banner and have it printed. For information, see Advertising: Banners and A-Frames at the Office for Student Involvement (OSI) website. 
  • Post fliers for your courses on bulletin boards around campus: You can take the same design that you use for a banner and print it out as a flier to post around campus on OSI-approved bulletin boards. Note that fliers must be approved and stamped. See Bulletin Board Postings at the OSI website for information.

Related Teaching Tips

Chat with Your Professor
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About the Author

Helena Riha teaches Linguistics and International Studies. She has taught over 3,400 students at OU in 17 different courses. Helena is the 2023 winner of the OU Online Teaching Excellence Award and the 2016 winner of the OU Excellence in Teaching Award. This is her fifteenth teaching tip. Outside of the classroom, Helena enjoys supporting her middle schooler in Scouts BSA activities.

Edited by Rachel Smydra, Faculty Fellow for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Image by Fabio Bracht. Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC.

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