Most instructors know that making a connection with their students is essential for them to get the most out of a course. Benefiting from the course not only means retaining the information taught, but reflecting on the learning experience as a whole and growing as a student.
Usually, that reflection period comes when completion is near. At this time, the student will look back on their expectations and outcomes and, ideally, conclude that their experience was worth the effort. While this feeling of accomplishment is satisfying, it is by no means lasting (especially for a course taken from home) – and soon the student is focusing their intellectual energy elsewhere. As an unintended result of this, we forget not only the course, but some of the coursework itself. It’s always smart to give students a physical take-away from the course to remind them of their hard work.
In order to make online courses more impactful on students, instructors have been turning to handwritten thank you cards. There’s no better way to say thank you than with something that is written by hand.Say Thanks to Your Online Course Students with Handwritten Cards @ThanksterCards #teachonline Click To Tweet
Why handwritten thank you cards are so effective:
Part of the reason handwritten cards make sense for instructors is that online courses are often perceived as less personable than in-person courses. Students no longer have to come into the classroom everyday. Thanks to platforms such as Thinkific, students can complete an entire course without ever meeting their instructor in person. Even their assignments and quizzes can be submitted to their instructors via the web.
At the end of these courses, students often crave something tangible to verify their sense of accomplishment. Instead, online courses are often left with a thank you email. While saying thank you to your students via email is usually recommended, it doesn’t create a lasting impression.
Custom cards addressed to students bring that lasting feeling of accomplishment and appreciation. Everyone enjoys opening something addressed to them. It makes them feel special. For the student, the course has likely been a worthwhile challenge. They dedicated part of their time to take part in a course that would help grow their knowledge-base.
A physical card serves as a reminder of their hard work. It’s something that they can pick up and feel. That physical reminder of the course can be held onto for years and even make the student want to take more courses. It not uncommon for people to save all the handwritten cards they receive to reflect on. Plus, showing your students that you care is a great way to turn them into raving fans for your business and repeat buyers for your future courses.
The downside of sending handwritten thank you cards
Although sending handwritten thank you cards to your students is great, unfortunately, it is also oftentimes difficult to implement as the number of students enrolled in your courses increases. If you have several hundred, or even several thousand students, for example, sending handwritten thank you cards to each and every one of them is a daunting task.
Writing out cards by hand every time a student completes a course is time-consuming and tiring. For most of us, our hands get tired after handwriting anything for more than a few minutes. And then there’s the trouble of packing, sealing, stamping, and mailing every single card.
Luckily, technology can not only replicate handwriting but automate the whole process of sending students cards so that every message is tailored to the recipient. Programmed character and spacing variations, for example, enable a computer to simulate the way a human writes.
When this technology is applied to handwritten notes it becomes possible to create that small classroom feel, even when your students are numerous is size. It is even possible to replicate your own handwriting so that cards will be sent with your unique handwriting look. All this leads to happier students and more engagement with the instructor.
Tips for sending handwritten cards to your students using Thankster:
1. It’s best to keep the message short and sweet.
It’s not necessary to write a lot. Most of the time, the note will be under 6 lines of text. Telling a joke or recalling a moment from the course is also great. Be sure to congratulate the student and recognize all their hard work.
Here is an example of a message you could send to a student after they complete your course:
I wanted to congratulate you on completing my course – you’ve worked very hard over the past several months! Well done! If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks again! I look forward to possibly collaborating again some day.
Here is another example:
Thanks so much for taking part in our course. And a big congrats to you for completing it! I hope it was just as much of a wonderful experience for you as it was for me. Feel free to check out some of our newest courses here: Examplelink.com. Thanks Chris!
2. Use merge tags
Merge tags are variables in your template that get populated with contact data. This makes the message personalized towards that particular student.
3. Include your contact info
Put your contact info on the card and suggest other courses that the student could take. It a nice way of letting the students know that they can reach out if they need to.
4. Automate the entire process
It finally, it’s always best to get integrated to make the process entirely automatic. Thinkific now integrates with Thankster via Zapier. Zapier is an automation tool that can connect apps. This allows customized cards be sent to students every time they complete a course in Thinkific. With Thankster, you can create your own handwriting, custom cover, and message.
Here’s how to set this up:
Step 1: Create your project in Thankster
Step 2: Sign up for Zapier (its free)
Step 3: Connect your Thinkific account to Thankster via Zapier. Select Course Completed as your trigger and Send Cards as your action.
After the integration is set up, cards will be sent out to your students automatically. Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free set up or more info.Say Thanks to Your Online Course Students with Handwritten Cards @ThanksterCards #teachonline Click To Tweet
Jeff Latimer is the Director of Partnerships at Thankster. He works to integrate Thankster’s handwriting technology with a wide range of platforms. Click here to visit their website and start sending handwritten Thank You cards to your students today!