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Using a welcome video to create a positive connection with students

Armin Alimardani Headshot

Dr Armin Alimardani 

Criminal Law and Procedure A: LLB1130 

Faculty of Business and Law

It's important for the subject coordinator to establish a positive and approachable image, especially if many students will only see them through online communication. A welcome video can be an effective way to break the ice and create a more relaxed atmosphere, which may make it easier for students to approach you with questions or concerns. It can also encourage honesty and openness when asking for student feedback. 


Below is the subject welcome video to Criminal Law and Procedure A. 


Armin Alimardani: Hello and welcome to one of the coolest subjects ever Criminal Law and Procedure A. Before I tell you about the subject, I want to break the ice and tell you a little bit about me. My name is Armin and I'm the coordinator for this subject. One of my favourite activities is watching eSports and TV shows and to exercise I play Beat Saber with my PlayStation Virtual Reality. And as you can see, I'm a big fan of collecting action figures. I will linger on this image so you can see my awards back there.

Students usually ask me if we own any pets. We have three pets; Specks, the Great Dane, Marceline, the Cat and Miko the Dachshund. Remember Miko's face cause he's the one who will draft your exam questions.

A little bit about my academic background, I was offered a scholarship at UNSW to do my PhD on neuroscience and criminal law. So I studied crime and the brain. For example, I studied how we use MRI brain imaging in Australian courts to prove that there is something wrong with the offender's brain. Why they were violent at the time of crime? And how should we punish them?

In terms of my research interest in general, anything is cool. Anything is recent, anything is fun. Anything is nerdy? I'm in. Overall, I love the intersection between science, technology, criminology, and law. So I've done some research on law and biosocial sciences, big data gambling and domestic violence. And in a project funded by DFAT, we developed a course on foundations of ethics, law, and artificial intelligence.

All right, enough about me. Let's talk about Criminal Law and Procedure A. So what is this subject about? You know, we tend to have some ideas of criminal offences by watching TV shows, but in this subject, we are gonna take a close look at the real-world legalities of the most serious criminal offences that we deal with in courts such as murder, manslaughter, assault, and domestic violence.

In this course, we'll discuss the elements of these offences. Say you are a prosecutor in a murder trial, would you need to prove that the accused person had the intention to kill? Or would it be enough to prove that they intended to cause them serious physical harm? Lots of us assume that the laws that we have right now are the laws we always had, but criminal law is an area of law that changes a lot. So we wanna know how the offences in this subject came to be offences. How they were changed? What's their story? How the culture, norms, politicians, high profile incidents from them? And do they still make sense to us today or reform is needed? This subject is also about the criminal process. How criminal law is carried out in practice. For instance, we'll talk about the powers that the police have.

Imagine you are walking home from a hard day of studying criminal law and process at uni. Does a police officer have the right to stop and search you simply because you look suspicious? And if you resist, do the police have the power to arrest you? Also remember that as first-year students, it's totally normal to feel lost. Just make sure you don't hit the panic button. If you did, please abort the mission. Remember that we are here to help you, me and the teaching staff. That we are on your side and let us know if there is any problem. Stay safe. See you later.

In this video, Armin shares information about himself and the subject matter, providing his students with an opportunity to get to know their teacher as a person and to deepen their relationship with him. By doing so, he enhances his ability to establish teacher presence; a concept that refers to the ways in which teachers establish themselves as an active and engaged participant in the teaching and learning process (Anderson et al. 2001). Research has shown that teaching presence is a crucial factor in determining student satisfaction, perceived learning, and sense of community (e.g., Garrison, 2007). 


In creating a welcome video for LLB1130, Armin had several key decisions to make about; the aims of the video, what to include, and what to exclude. Armin outlines his process below:


  1. Outline the objectives/aims of the video.

    I found that challenging. I made sure that everything that I include is consistent with the objectives of creating a welcome video:
    1. To introduce myself in a way that is appealing to a young individual. So, I had to investigate a little bit about what they would find interesting. I wrote down my ideas, e.g., talking about our pets, my hobbies, etc. and then excluded things such as my interest in public speaking because I thought they wouldn't be interested in that fact.

    2. I thought that introducing myself in an engaging way might result in losing my academic authority as the subject coordinator. So, I added some information about my academic background to make sure students could trust me regarding academic matters.
    3. Introducing the subject. But instead of discussing the different topics in the subject, I put them in context.
      For example, instead of saying we will discuss police powers, I said something like: "Imagine after university, you are going home and some police officers approach you because they are suspicious you are carrying an illegal drug. Can the police search your pockets?"

  2. Outline the potential information that I wanted to include in the video.

  3. Decide what to include and what to exclude (considering the objectives of the video).

  4. Decide on the order of presenting the information.

  5. Determine how to present each piece of information in an engaging way.
    This included using images, gifs, memes, and pop culture.

  6. Record the video.
    After recording each part, I watched it and re-recorded it if I wasn't happy with how it came out.

  7. Edit the video.
    I used iMovie to remove all the silent moments and the "ummm" and "mmmh” sounds. I also had to decide which of my multiple takes was the best and exclude the others.

  8. Adding royalty-free music.
    After testing several pieces to find the one that suited the video the best, sourced from https://pixabay.com/music/search/

  9. Export the video.
    I reduce the size of the video (using Handbrake) prior to uploading it to Moodle

  10. Upload the video to Moodle.


Note: There are several options for uploading videos to Moodle. Uploading via Echo360 is recommended and allows the ability to embed the video in context and capture student analytics data on viewership.

Reflection & Impact


Armin: After evaluating the use of my welcome video, I decided to make some changes to make it more effective. First, I shortened the video because I felt it was too long for students with short attention spans. I removed some parts that contained information that we would discuss in our seminars, so students wouldn't have to deal with the same information again and removed other information that I no longer felt was relevant.

These changes helped make the video more engaging and effective for students (at least, that’s what I think). I’ll reuse the same welcome video again.


Advice for colleagues

Armin: It may take some time to create a good welcome video, but it can be worth it in terms of engaging and connecting with students. Once you create a good welcome video that you’re happy with, you can simply reuse it every year.

Avoid references to specific dates or events, for example, “Welcome to 2022 Criminal Law”. Instead of reading out the names of the teaching team, use an image with their names on it. This way, you only need to update the image each year instead of re-recording the entire video.

Use royalty-free music and other multimedia elements as they take your welcome video to the next level.

Overall, creating a well-planned and engaging welcome video can be a valuable tool for connecting with students and creating a positive learning environment.


"Armin, thanks for a really refreshing take to start the semester! Looking forward to seeing you in the seminar this coming week :) "
- LLB130 Student
"I don't think there are many academics who manage to have such a consistently good atmosphere while still being very detail-oriented towards the work and I think you're overcoming the challenges of online well.”
- LLB1130 student



Anderson, T., Liam, R., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5 (2).

Garrison, D. R. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: Social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72.

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