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First and Last Days
Pattern number within this pattern set:297
All courses have beginnings and endings. Usually these first and last days are atypical. The first days include orientation to the course and the subject and may also include team building activities. In the last days/sessions of a course, both learners and instructors know their time together is ending and need to deal with (or ignore, a type of dealing with) the practical concerns (tests,grades, incompletes, further study) and the affective consequences of the ending of the fragile community which has come together. Students who arrive several days into the semester present one challenge, as they and the teacher have their first days on a non-agreed upon schedule.
Teachers (and learners) ignore these special days and moments at their own peril. In addition to setting tone and expectations, a signifcant amount of modeling goes in on the first sessions of a course (both brick and mortar and electronic). Discourse timing is also established. Both explicit and implicit reference to the beginnings of courses "work".
Teachers develop strategies for beginnings and endings of courses that are easy to implement and easy to replicate (if desired).