Introductory activities

Asynchronous & Synchronous Introductions

For students to share multiple dimensions of themselves, synchronously or asynchronously.

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Asynchronous & Synchronous Introductions
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Video conferencing
Duration: Variable

Activity purpose

For students to share multiple dimensions of themselves, synchronously or asynchronously.

Useful for

First week of class introductions, and to help the teacher and students remember things about each other beyond the moment of introductions. Teachers and students can go back to this throughout the semester to remember some details about each other.




  1. ALTCV - ask students to create an introduction to themselves that is not like a regular CV, but is an alternative CV, both in terms of what they share about themselves (what they value, not what is expected) and how they present it (they can get creative with video, visuals, etc.). You can reuse or adapt the prompt used here. Students can upload/link their ALTCV on their blogs, or in a discussion forum space on the LMS or a Padlet or such.
  2. Video/picture introductions shared in one space, such as FlipGrid, Padlet, Google doc, or LMS discussion board. Ask students to record a brief video introducing themselves (can be voice over if they don’t like to use their actual face) or use a photo/image (does not need to be a personal photo, can be photo(s) representing something about themselves) and post it to a shared space where all students can see each others’ introductions.
  3. Collaborative introductions. This is a synchronous activity where each person says one or two things about themselves, and if others have the same thing in common, they raise their hand or type in the chat.


  1. ALTCV - this can be an early low-stakes assignment. Give students a few days to a week to do it.
  2. Video/Picture introductions - this can be an early low-stakes assignment. Give students a few days to a week to do it.
  3. Collaborative introductions: this depends on the size of your class.

Adaptations and examples

Collaborative introductions adaptations:

  • Instead of raising hands or typing in chat, people who share the same thing turn their cameras on for a moment while others keep their cameras off (this adaptation works well if your students are comfortable turning cameras on, and if you use “hide non-video participants” within Zoom so that there is a focus on the people who turn their cameras on).
  • Instead of raising hands, you can use the whiteboard on Zoom and ask people to write one thing about themselves on it, and others can annotate on the Whiteboard or use the highlighter arrows and move it there if they share the same thing.
  • Instead of doing this synchronously, you can do it asynchronously, or text-based synchronously, where students post on a Google doc in a table different things about themselves, and others who share the same thing can type their names into a second column.
  • Instead of whole-class, you can do it in breakout rooms, which would take less time per breakout room.

Technical requirements

No specific tech requirements for the asynchronous options. For the collaborative introductions, any video conferencing tool could work.

Useful resources

More 'Introductory activities' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Language Portrait
Reflect on language experiences with your students and share biographical information.
Francesca Helm
Equity Unbound Activity
What kind of animal are you?
Fun introductory or warm-up activity.
Irene Maweu
Equity Unbound Activity
Tour of Where You Are
The purpose here is to build community through students sharing where they are studying from.
Patrice Prusko

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