The idea of eLearning was already growing before the Coronavirus pandemic. But, since COVID-19 hit and more than 90% of the world’s students couldn’t go to school in person, online education has been thrust into the spotlight.
That has created an increased demand for teachers and educators that can instruct students in a variety of subjects online. Whether you were/are a teacher or you have the degree for it, teaching online courses is a great way to either earn passive income or to start your own business from home, if you choose to do it full time.
You may actually be able to make quite a bit of extra income teaching online if you create a strategy for yourself. But, if you’ve never considered it before and want to give it a try, it’s important to know some tips and tricks that can help your online courses to be successful.
With that in mind, let’s cover a few of those tips that you can use to help you get started in the world of online teaching.
1. Learn About Learning
Before you dive into the world of eLearning head first, it’s important to learn as much as you can about what it really covers. Teaching online courses is different from teaching in person. First, you will likely need to know about Learning Management Systems (LMS). These are programs that allow you to track, report, and automate your courses. Some Learning Management Systems even serve as platforms to let you interact with your students, so you can manage all of your work in one place.
If you’re not sure which LMS is right for you, consider talking to Learning Management System consultants to find a software program that fits your needs.
It’s also important to understand whether you need a teaching degree or not for the online coursework you’re considering. In some instances, you may not! For example, you can teach English online through several different organizations/companies without having a teaching degree.
Simply put, educate yourself on the subject of online education and eLearning before you take the plunge. The truth is, it isn’t right for everyone. But, if you can make it work for you and you have the passion to learn and grow while sharing your gift of teaching with others, you can be successful.
2. Create a Schedule and Share It
Once you have your class ready to go, create a schedule and share it with your students (and their parents, if you’re teaching young children). One of the challenges of eLearning is helping students to find the motivation for it. Much like remote working, it takes dedication and commitment in order to get things done.
If you provide a schedule, you can make the idea of online coursework much easier for your students. It helps to break things down in a manageable way and gives them the confidence to get things done, while still doing it on their own time and at a reasonable pace. The more you can teach your students about time-management and how to self-regulate, the more you will set them up for success within the course itself.
3. Make Time to Interact With Each Student
One reason some people are hesitant to take online courses is because they’re worried about the lack of face-to-face interaction. But, one of the reasons online classes are becoming so popular is because technology has finally given people a way to connect while learning.
If you really want to go above and beyond with your students, schedule time for each of them on a weekly basis. This can include anything from talking on the phone to holding a Zoom meeting, or even talking on FaceTime. Even just 10 minutes of “face-to-face” interaction can make a big difference in their comfort levels when it comes to the class.
Regular interaction will help your students to stay engaged. It will also make it easier for you to recognize which students might need your extra help or support. Checking in with them regularly can help you to make sure they’re staying on track. It will also give you the opportunity to open up the door if they need help but might be afraid to ask for it.
4. Record Your Lectures and Keep Them Short
This is a benefit for both you and your students that can save you valuable time and energy. Many online teachers benefit from using video lectures. But, instead of doing them live, record them and post them onto your portal. That way, your students can watch them whenever they would like, and re-watch as needed. Everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Giving students the option to go back and take extra notes on the things you said is important.
Additionally, recording your lectures can help you to prioritize your time. If you’re just teaching on the side for passive income, you may not be able to squeeze live lectures into your schedule. So, when you do have free time, try to record several in a row that you can post on a staggered schedule.
It’s also a good idea to keep your lectures short. In this digital age of YouTube, Snap, and TikTok, long videos don’t always go over well. You’re more likely to keep your students engaged with lectures that are 15 minutes or less.
5. Show Yourself in Your Lectures
In addition to keeping your videos short, be sure to show your face as often as possible. There is nothing wrong with using slides and presentations in your lectures, but they shouldn’t always be the main focus.
Showing your face in your videos will help your students to stay engaged and feel more connected with you. It’s a great way to provide an “in-person” feel no matter where all of your students are from.
6. Set Reasonable Expectations for Yourself and Your Students
When you’re just getting into online learning, make sure the goals and expectations you have for yourself are realistic, not only for yourself, but for your students. For example, you don’t want to overload your students with a ton of research, reading, and homework. Not only can that be hard on them, but it will put a lot of pressure on you as well.
You should also make sure your students have the resources needed to succeed. For example, if you send out a quiz that your students need to complete, make sure the answers are easy to find with a little bit of research, whether that means they need to look at your notes, lectures, or do research of their own. You won’t prove anything by making assignments or tests difficult. While you don’t need to hand people good grades for nothing, you also need to keep in mind that this is a business. If your classes seem unfair or impossible, it’s less likely that people will keep signing up.
It’s okay to challenge your students (and yourself). But, do it realistically and creatively. Be fair with everything you do, and your students will understand and appreciate that.
7. Take Time for Yourself
Whether you’ve decided to try online teaching as a way to make passive income or you’re doing it full-time, don’t forget to put yourself first.
So many people fall into negative habits when they start working remotely or doing any kind of work from home. It can easily throw off your work-life balance, which can affect your mental health, your relationships, and your productivity.
In order to take care of yourself and make the most of this experience, there are a few tips you can keep in mind, including:
- Having a routine each day
- Going to sleep/waking up at the same time each day
- Creating a to-do list
- Having a specific office space within your home
- Only working certain hours of the day
Additionally, make sure you’re spending time doing things you enjoy outside of work, and keep yourself healthy. You cannot pour from an empty cup. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself first before giving what you have to other people, including your family, friends, and your online students.
When you’re able to establish a healthy work-life balance, you’re more likely to enjoy the work you do and find it fulfilling. That will reflect in your personality with your students and in the teaching you provide.
Whether you have a teaching degree or you’ve always been interested in education, there has never been a more perfect time to dip your toe into the world of eLearning. Some children may not be able to go back to a physical school for a while, while others may have parents who are choosing to keep them home to reduce their overall health risk. You can take advantage of that.
Don’t be afraid to do your research about the passive income you could be making by teaching online courses. If you really want to dedicate yourself, you could even turn it into a full-time career and your own at-home business.
This is a contributed post
Featured image: Pixabay