The first thing that your students will see when they sign onto LaunchPad is the "Welcome Page." The default settings automatically include a couple widgets: an RSS feed from Scientific American and a list of upcoming assignments that are due. However, there are many ways that you can customize this page to fit your teaching style.
In this post, I am hoping to show you how I have used the "Welcome Page" in my courses. This demonstration will aid you in both learning about ways to customize LaunchPad as well as give you some pedagogical tips that could be incorporated into your own teaching style and LaunchPad courses.
You will notice, below, that when you are in instructor view you have the ability to edit the "Welcome Page." Following the yellow arrow and clicking on the "Edit Page" button will bring up the edit screen.
The edit screen, featured in the screen capture below, lets you do several things. For example, you can rearrange the different widgets to different spaces on the page, you can add a new widget, and you can delete a widget. You may also notice that the two widgets that are enabled by default are an RSS feed for Scientific American and a list of the upcoming assignments that are due.
Let's say that we want to add a new widget. To do this, you would click on one of the empty yellow boxes or where it says add new widget.
Once you do this, the following gray box will appear - I have circled it in yellow. You have a few options here of what you can do. You can, of course, add or re-add an RSS feed from Scientific America, add your own custom RSS feed, add or re-add the upcoming assignment widget, and, finally, you can create your own.
As a tip, in the past, I have had students use the Scientific America RSS feed to write a one page article that summarize some of the current research coming out of the psychology field. As an educator, I think it is important to stay as up-to-date as possible on the current literature and latest developments within the field. And, as a result, having this continually updated feed on the home page is a nice resource to utilize if you want to have students engage with current research in this manner.
To give you a concrete example, let's click on "Create Your Own."
This will bring up a dialogue box that looks similar to an HTML page you can create within the module and chapter system of LaunchPad. This is great because it allows you to edit and customize the widget pretty extensively.
Below is an example of how I have used this to create my own widget on the "Welcome Page." A lot of time, I have found it helpful, especially when teaching a fully online course, to post a class wide, at least weekly, update about the upcoming material that may also include technical and logistical notes. You can do this on the "Welcome Page" and students will see this every time they sign onto LaunchPad.
Posting a weekly update on the "Welcome Page" is one way I have used this LaunchPad feature in my courses. Also, as I have indicated, the Scientific American RSS feed is great if you are trying to help students stay on top of the most recent research and literature coming out of your discipline.
Overall, I hope that I have been able to give you some ideas about ways to customize the "Welcome Page" in LaunchPad and, in addition, given you some ideas about how to incorporate it into your own teaching style.