In the System Administrators community, we've had Show us your course template! and Show us your semester kick off announcement! We can't let them have all the fun, so I'd like to see how members of the teaching and learning community introduce their courses at the start of the semester.
In addition to being my college's instructional designer and Blackboard administrator, I also teach three online courses. I start each course with a welcome video, going over the content of the course, the work required, and how to succeed in the course. It's a brief overview of what is contained in the course syllabus and outline, and designed to hit the high points of those documents. I embed it in the first announcement of the semester, so it is the first thing they see when they log in.
Here is the video from my Descriptive Astronomy course:
How do you set the stage for your course? What do you think students need to know at the very beginning? How do you get them engaged from the start?