The online classroom is not the traditional classroom. Just as a novel must to be adapted to the screen, online courses have to be adapted or developed to work effectively with the realities of virtual spaces. Case in point: student engagement. Students are on their phones or computers in their homes or offices, usually alone, so isolation is a significant risk. How do you keep them engaged with you as the teacher? And with each other? And how do you keep them engaged over the duration of the course?
A well designed course can be lively and stimulating every session and it can proceed on a path that keep students interested from from the first to last session, but it takes conscious intent and careful planning. You are the expert in what you want to teach but I can help you organize you curriculum and choose course technologies and support systems that will allow your work to shine in a virtual learning space.
You undoubtedly have a target audience in mind for your work, and you may have your own email list and Facebook followers. But you want to reach a larger audience. Where do you find them? Why would they be interested in your work? What are the themes and messaging that will best resonate with them? What marketing styles will work best for your target audience? What marketing styles should you avoid? If you have successfully marketed in-person courses in the past, in what ways does the marketing for your online course need to be different?
These are some of the questions you have to consider in launching your online course. I help you create a marketing strategy and then build a marketing campaign to reach the right audience with the right message. If your needs are specialized or if your programs are large, I work with marketing consultants who can more in-depth strategy and campaign support on a project basis.
All online courses needs structure, including all or most of the following:
- Email marketing systems
- Affiliate marketing systems
- Registration and payment systems
- Web design and development for both marketing and course support
- Online community platforms for student engagement
- Student support platforms (“help desk”)
- Video and audio systems for course content delivery
- Video/audio editing, and transcription services
- Project management applications
Turnkey learning management systems (LMS) are geared to traditional learning or corporate training and development and typically aren’t suitable (or are too costly) for transformational learning. One of the biggest values I bring is helping to create infrastructure that will work efficiently for you. I help you select and set up the technologies and systems and integrate them into a coherent workflow, and I can even help recruit specialized talent that’s needed.
One of the biggest decisions you have to make is how to delivery the content of your course. Do you want to teach live or pre-record the teachings? Do you want to include Q&A for students? How kind of student engagement do you want to have within course sessions? Do you want to use audio or video (which is quickly becoming the standard) or both? Do you want to make recordings available to students? What are the costs of the various options and what technical skills are required?
I guide you through a process for reviewing and evaluating the choices so you can choose the content delivery process and technologies that will best present your work.
In transformational learning students are not so much acquiring new knowledge and skills as they are going through through a developmental process. They are trying to change themselves to move through problems and activate their deeper potential. It’s very personal work that requires students to be vulnerable and sometimes work with difficult issues. I help you create an environment for your course in which students are held in a “container” of safety and support, including:
- Building the infrastructure for the course with safety as an explicit goal
- Creating systems for individual student support by email and other channels
- Training the team who will support students
Creating and running online courses requires many skill sets, including:
- Curriculum development
- Marketing strategy and campaign management
- Web design
- Web development
- Shopping carts and payment processors
- Audio engineering and editing
- Video production and editing
- Transcription services
- General technical support
- Student support
- Project management
You may have some of these skills yourself or in your support team, but most likely you will need talent, especially if there will be new systems in the workflow. I have a network of talent in all of the areas above and can help bring in the right talent to support your course.