Provide quality orientation
Be sure all students hear and understand the expectation for your online classroom.
Ensure everyone can log on and navigate the course.
Show students how to submit their work.
Show students how to communicate with you online.
Get to know your students
Make posting a detailed student introduction a mandatory first assignment and then personally respond to each student. Suggestions include asking for details like the students future goals, what they need to do as a student to help start achieving those goals. Ask students to share one thing they wish others knew (or understood) about them.
Start out by creating a safe, comfortable learning environment. Avoid intimidating the students from the start. In other words, lose the harshness and negative instructions. Lay out the ground rules, but do so in a manner that does not cause students to cringe at the thought of needing to send you a question.
Additionally, it is important for students to get to know you as well. Be sure to include your background info and answer the same questions you are asking of your students.
Download The Definitive Guide to Building a Great Blended Learning Program for more tips and tricks.