I strongly feel that a lot of what makes a course interesting to learners is that their teacher is interested in them. If your students know you’re paying attention to them and their work, they’re more likely to stay engaged.
A simple way to create a personal connection with your learners early in the course is to send a personal message to each one of them during the first couple of weeks. It doesn’t have to be more than a few simple sentences.
Share your eagerness to learn what they have to share in the course. If they have a private question or comment during the term that they may not want to share with the rest of the group in a discussion, encourage them to send you a private message.
You’ll get bonus points if you can add a comment about something unique to each student, such as something they shared during an introductions activity or a response to an early assignment.
Here’s an example:
I’m just checking in to see how the term is going for you so far. Thank you for sharing your personal memories about Mrs. Bryant. She is such an inspiration! Although I encourage you to post course-related questions in our public discussions, if you have any needs or concerns that you feel are more appropriate to be shared in private, please don’t hesitate to contact me to talk about it. I look forward to learning more of what you have to share with us!
Here’s the Canvas Guides tutorial for creating and sending a new message.