BitDegree Course Guidelines
Have you decided you want to teach classes online? Great! Now, let’s see what creating a course actually means. Becoming an online teacher can be challenging when you don’t know how to approach it, but worry no more – this guide will take you through all the essential steps.
Choosing the topic: interest and demand
On BitDegree, you can teach digital, business, and workplace skills. The choice is vast, and you are free to find a unique niche or approach a popular topic in a unique way. Most importantly, choose a subject you know really well and enjoy talking about – this will give you confidence when presenting your lectures and keep the students engaged! Experience and first-hand knowledge are much more useful to them than textbook facts. Moreover, the better you know a subject, the easier it will be for you to explain it in simpler terms.
Another aspect to consider when choosing a topic is how useful it will be for your students. Sure, you could think of alphabetizing teas in your office kitchen as a workplace skill, but it surely won’t help anyone climb the career ladder. Think of applicable knowledge that can be used professionally and provide your learners with the tools to succeed!
Before you start: research and development
When you finally have a clear idea of what you would like to teach online courses about, you need to get to know your competition. Don’t be afraid of having some – that’s only a sign you chose a topic with high demand! Look for courses, books, videos, documentaries, or podcasts about it online and try looking at them from the student’s perspective.
See how the subject is usually covered, identify what stands out and what’s missing. This will help you find room for improvement: what can you add that none of the others offer? What irrelevant information can be omitted to save the precious time of your students, and what is absolutely essential? Watching your competitors, you will also understand how to find a unique approach. Find what’s unique about you as a person and use it to teach online courses that are one of a kind! Add humor, music, animation – do what you need to do to convey the message, share the knowledge you have, and keep the students interested. Becoming an online teacher doesn’t mean you need to shy away from your individuality!
Don’t miss the essentials: course checklist
When you teach classes online, there’s a ton of things to think of. Some of them might be optional and depend on your individual goals – for example, a course on using digital design software should definitely include a clear demonstration via screen share, but it’s entirely irrelevant for a class on, say, time management and productivity. However, there are five things that you absolutely must consider prior to becoming an online teacher. Let’s go through this comprehensive course checklist and make sure you don’t miss anything:
- The content you upload cannot infringe on any copyright, trademark, or other laws – it should be original and created by you. It should include a short free introductory lecture, presenting the key points your course will cover so that a student can make an informed decision about purchasing the course. You must add at least five lectures if you want them to appear on BitDegree marketplace, and we recommend that each would last 2–12 minutes and be structured around a single topic. To keep your student engaged, use in-video visuals, lively examples, and storytelling.
- Make sure the course is directed to BitDegree users. When an instructor is offering their courses on multiple platforms, they sometimes forget and mention a certain platform-specific function or the name of one of the platforms they use. This confuses the learner, and you don’t want to do that!
- When delivering the information, use clear, fluent English, and a calm but enthusiastic tone of voice. Pay attention to your pronunciation and use pauses to emphasize important points. Show your confidence: sit or stand comfortably, use relaxed and inviting body language, avoid ‘umms’ and ‘ahhs’. Most importantly – smile: becoming an online teacher allows you to earn by doing what you love most!
- Your video has to be clear and not blurred. Your best bet is HD quality (at least 720p), with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Find or create good lighting – we suggest using a 3-point lighting method (key, fill, and back lights). A static shot or image stabilization is recommended to prevent distractions – a clean and tidy environment with no unnecessary objects in the background helps as well.
- Make sure the sound of your video is clear and synced correctly: there should be no echo, background noises, hums, distracting or sudden sound effects. Don’t forget to check if the sound is streaming in stereo (both earbuds/speakers) as well.
- As you publish the finished course, use all the chances you have to make your course easy to find and understand to potential students. Write a catchy and informative title and subtitle, add a description of at least 300 words, and clearly specify course requirements using relevant keywords. The clearer you define what the course entails and what the students should expect, the more motivated students will get interested in enrolling.
Reaching your audience
Creating a genuine connection with your students is one of the most important parts of becoming an online teacher. To do that, you need to identify your target audience and make sure they know about you, find you reliable and want to learn from you.
When it comes to promoting your course, there’s a lot of free options available. The more you try, the better are your chances of reaching potential students! Here are a few recommendations:
- Start with showing your material to your immediate circle – friends, family, and work colleagues. Not only will they be able to comment on your presentation, but they might also spread the word on your behalf – and word-of-mouth marketing is often seen as the most reliable.
- Speaking of direct recommendations, you should also encourage your students to write reviews and use the best ones to promote yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, but always be friendly and professional about it!
- Make the most out of social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media channels, which can bring in more specific or niche audiences. Using more than one network will help you reach and attract different kinds of students.
- A YouTube channel is probably one of the best marketing channels for people who teach online courses. Why? Because if you already have one up and running, it means you already have an audience of followers who are interested in the topics you speak about and know your style well. Upload a promo video, share some content, provide links to your course, or even offer your subscribers a discount: this will encourage sharing and draw students in.
- If you have a personal website or blog, use it to inform potential students about yourself, your achievements, and your motivation for becoming an online teacher. Provide direct links to your courses on BitDegree, your social media profiles, and your YouTube channel. The more people see you, the better they remember you!
To put it simply, cast a wide net, but do it strategically. There’s no use in promoting yourself to people who are not your target audience, and wasting time (or even money) for that is rarely a smart move.
What has no place on the BitDegree platform
To accomplish the goals of BitDegree and maximize the benefit we provide our instructors and students, we must make the platform not only fun but also safe for everyone. That is why we need to establish some ground rules and follow them! Please stay away from these topics and subjects as you teach classes online:
- Hate speech and content that promotes discrimination or violence in any way
- Unlawful or illegal content, endorsement or promotion of unethical or illegal behavior
- Scammy, fake, dishonest, or misleading content
- Sexually explicit material
- Content infringing upon the rights of a copyright holder
- Content promoting other online education platforms
- Duplicated content
Make sure that your course meets our guidelines and requirements. If you believe your course has been judged unfairly or you’ve noticed any inappropriate content uploaded to the platform by another instructor, please contact us at [email protected]. We would also welcome any suggestions you might have for improving the rules!