Teaching an Online Course: The Professional, Stree-Free Approach

The Advantages of Learning Online…

Who hasn’t received email about online learning and thought how wonderful it would be to “attend” lectures, take exams, and interact with instructors and classmates through chat rooms, without driving to some campus? How convenient: work at your own pace from the convenience of your home or office. Most online courses have been degree programs in fields that lend themselves to this approach, like business, technology, health, and law.

How many more people want simply to enrich their lives by delving into something interesting or practical on an ongoing basis? That has been a service community colleges supply, hiring many people with specialized knowledge and experience in a wide variety of fields that appeal to enough citizens to make it worth listing in the catalog.

What About the Advantages of Teaching Online?

When you stop to think about it, most adults accumulate enough knowledge and experience to have something worth sharing with others. Most of them truly love their special field and believe they have a unique slant on it. Only a few, however, apply to teach at their community college and those who are accepted get to share their expertise and passion with only a few dozen people at most per semester. Many knowledgeable and passionate people are intimidated at the thought of designing a course – writing up descriptions, syllabi, outlines, and lecture notes without professional guidance or assistance. Of those who get this far, how many freeze at the thought of standing up in front of a classroom and talking in public?

If this describes you, there is great news. You can now teach what you know and love while “hiding” behind the Internet. Even better, you can get talented professionals to help you create and develop a truly excellent course with all the trimmings. You can get access to tools that let you enroll hundreds of students at once and still manage to encourage them to complete their assignments, pass quizzes, and participate in online discussion groups.

UniversalClass.com – Where Learning and Teaching Come Together…

One such online service is UniversalClass.com. It offers a “Virtual Classroom” in cyberspace. You set up an account quickly and easily, and then concentrate on typing in or uploading specific content for your course through a “wizard,” an automated program that prompts for necessary information and offers hints. Make no mistake, it takes planning and effort on your part, But you are guided through the whole process. Once you’re satisfied with your draft, UniversalClass.com professionals critique it and tell you how to improve it. Once the Course Review Committee approves your course, it is made available online to potentially thousands of learners, who pay whatever course fees you stipulate. You receive sixty percent of these fees. And you’ve paid nothing to set up the course. As you “teach” the class repeatedly, feedback from students and your own evolving insights can be edited in and your course grows in excellence.

What Can I Teach?

It’s time to brainstorm. Start a notebook of ideas. You don’t have to be a “guru” or expert for people at some level to benefit from your insight. Four to six years work or field experience after finishing school may suffice to build a practical course around. Help people learn the “inner workings” of something you do every day effortlessly. Help them avoid trial and error. If you are a skilled craftsperson or hobbyist, you have the makings of a first-rate course. Remember, the Internet lets you incorporate artwork, music, and even movie clips – without you having to know any programming.

What do you enjoy talking, reading, and learning about most? What do you enjoy doing the most? What do you find yourself talking about most with family and friends? What do people most ask your help with? What good and bad life experiences have you been through? How did you cope? What are the biggest problems on the job and how would you fix them? What do you find yourself saying, “I could do that better” about? Or, “If only they’d try such-and-such.” Start here.

People want courses in things like:

  • accounting
  • bookkeeping
  • marketing
  • financing
  • office skills
  • telemarketing
  • entrepreneurship
  • New Age
  • self-improvement
  • holistic healing
  • Yoga
  • fitness
  • birthing
  • dreams
  • self-hypnosis
  • meditation
  • quitting smoking
  • computers at every level of expertise and every specialty
  • cooking (all forms)
  • the visual arts – how to and academic views
  • decorating
  • landscaping
  • genealogy
  • reading music
  • playing instruments
  • the languages of the world
  • law
  • criminology
  • taxation
  • parenting
  • grand-parenting
  • caring for elderly parents
  • caring for pets
  • real estate
  • religion
  • social work…

With a little imagination, your list of ideas can grow to unbelievable heights…