EXAMPLE: Course Welcome

Hi.  My name is Pat Reilly and I'll be your instructor this semester as we explore some interesting aspects of international business.
Welcome to the course, and if this is your first experience with on-line education, welcome to what I hope will be an interesting, challenging, and rewarding experience.  If you've taken on-line courses before, welcome back.  I'm glad to see that the experience was such that you have chosen to return.
While I've taught this course before in the classroom, this is my first "on-line" teaching experience, so I understand the slight disorientation and mild uncertainty some of you newcomers are probably experiencing. My experience to date suggests that if you just keep at it and have faith in your ability (and the ability of our excellent support staff) all will be fine and you will be surprised how quickly you become comfortable and confident in this Web  environment.  The key is to keep at it and to seek help when needed.         
You'll find syllabus-like information in a number of documents below in the "Course Information" section of your CourseMap. I suggest that you read all the documents in this section in order and ask any questions you might have along the way by clicking on the "Ask a question" box at the bottom of each document. You may want to print some of the documents if you take comfort from hard copy.        
Our textbook, International Business, by Ball and McCulloch (hereafter Ball and McCulloch) does a pretty good job presenting the course content in a clear and straightforward manner. I expect you to read the assigned chapters with understanding, but I also expect each of you to actively participate in an intelligent, on-going discussion of the course content. If you have questions, ask them. If you think something is especially interesting, important, or even stupid; say so.
I have posted a brief "lecture" for each chapter, in which I've attempted to highlight the especially interesting, important, or difficult material. I've also asked a question or two to start you thinking and get the discussion rolling.  Once we get going, I hope to function as just one among many intelligent people involved in an interesting discussion. We'll all get very bored very quickly if I do all the talking.
In addition to our text-based discussion, we'll be discussing cases, current events, and some of the important environmental forces at play in specific foreign  countries of your choosing.
I hope you're getting the idea that your active participation in these discussions will become the heart of this course.  I'm guessing that this is the best way to teach you something about international business while at the same time giving you continuing opportunities to practice both thinking and communicating.
I'm done for now.
What should you do next?  I suggest the following: (1) work through the rest of the Course Information documents before moving on to the course modules, (2) complete the Student Orientation found in the COMMONS, (3) read chapters 1 and 2 in Ball and McCulloch, and (4) begin to think about which foreign country you would like to learn more about.       

Good luck in your studies and remember, I am here for you. -- Pat Professor

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