Become a global teacher with online courses

Everyone is an expert in some subject. Whether this subject pertains to your career or your personal hobby, you may not know that there is growing demand from thousands to learn from you.

Online courses provide the perfect opportunity in a win/win situation for both teachers and students. The main advantage is just how accessible online courses are and the ease of enrolling. Students can access and listen to lessons virtually anywhere and at any time.

For instance, the simple addition of subtitles or captions on course videos opens the learning to those from foreign-speaking counties (especially when captioned translations appear) and even those that are hearing impaired.

Teachers and organizations can easily monetize these lessons via payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe, whereby once the student pays, the courses are unlocked. The payment structure can also include different forms, from one-time payments to pay per lesson (in what is called Drip payments) to monthly subscription fees that keep students enrolled.

This is why many individuals, professionals with years of experience, and reputable Universities are adopting online learning, also known as e-learning. There still remains an interesting debate on the merits of online courses versus live face-to-face learning, where many claim that one cannot replace the other.

Especially for the K to grade 12 youth who require social interaction and the ability to debate or ask questions.

The most popular platforms that facilitate e-learning are Udemy, Skillshare, and Masterclass, although there are many others available. Often those wishing to build an online course lack the technical skills or knowledge to set up a website and so rely on these platforms to quickly and effortlessly get them up and running.

There is also the edge in marketing as these platforms have thousands of e-students browsing daily and looking for specific courses. If a teacher builds a professional-looking, well-organized, and quality course, their course can quickly rise the ranks to appear at the top of search results where many students flock to enroll.

In the instance of Masterclass courses, those enrolled have the opportunity to learn from celebrities.

From famous actors like Samuel L Jackson and Helen Mirren to Directors like Ron Howard to novelists like Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

This gives the exclusive opportunity for many to learn each artist’s process and what ingredients go into their success.

E-courses also have a very user-friendly interface, whereby students can skip to any appropriate part they desire or close their browser to then return later on to the exact time in the lesson where they left off. Unlike live lectures, if anything is unclear, the student can simply return to that part and re-watch or pause to think about a point.

Some lessons even include pdf downloads for notes, quizzes, or mp3 uploads to hear via audio. At the end of the course, students that have finished may also be awarded a certificate which can be used as a value in resumes or as proof of skill.

E-courses are also user-friendly in that they are mobile-compatible, allowing students to learn anywhere. This is similar to mobile games that save the player’s progress on a smartphone.

For teachers, however, the main drawback of creating a course through a platform like Udemy or Skillshare is the limitations.

These include the inability to customize their site, certain payment fees (such as a certain percentage of profit going to the platform), and no control over policies. For example, Udemy recently banned any course on sword fighting including all those currently available.

It takes a lot of effort to build a course, from writing and organizing the content to filming each lesson and including the settings. Imagine the frustration when all the time and effort is jeopardized in a blink of an eye and having no control or say.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives for those willing to be more independent in designing their own online course. And there is also a wealth of support for getting a unique site up and running.

For this purpose, many teachers turn to WordPress or WordPress+Woocommerce.

All that is required is to register a domain and select a hosting platform such as SiteGround. The next step is to download a Learn Management System (LMS) software, which comes at a cost but is necessary for the convenience of uploading courses online.

A great LMS is LearnDash, although there are many others on the market. Once WordPress and an LMS of your choice are installed, there are a number of themes and plug-ins available to upload.

Based on different plans and features, teachers with an online course can also view on their dashboard how many students are enrolled and their current progress in the lessons. This is a great tool for tracking what needs to be improved and any other necessary changes.

One attractive strategy for beginner teachers is to start on Udemy with a basic class and, once comfortable, graduate to an LMS-built website that is more extensive and in-depth.

Undoubtedly, designing an online course takes a lot of work and with much of the market flooded, there is no guarantee to stand out successfully. However, it is the teacher’s personality and how the students engage with the material that ultimately determines results.

Unlike a live course, the very nature of going online means that there can be an unlimited number of seats in your lecture hall.