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Why Online Courses? Why Not?

WORK

August 12, 2019

I first began teaching online in 2003. Fresh out of my master’s program, I was looking for a way to earn some extra money, and I landed an adjunct faculty position with a university that was on the cutting-edge of learning technology. I absolutely loved the flexibility, as well as the interaction with my students. Sixteen years later, I’ve taught (and still teach) for a variety of institutions.

I launched Courses for Communicators not to compete with colleges or universities; rather, I found that there was an insatiable need in the marketplace: professional communicators were thirsty for skill-specific learning. Not many had the time or money for another degree, but they did have very specific skills they wanted and/or needed to learn…yesterday.

Around the same time, I stumbled upon Amy Porterfield’s podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, and I was hooked. During the 2+ hours I spent in the car each workday, I binged episodes…I loved her voice, her advice and the way she was able to take advanced topics and unpack them for a general audience. When she opened up one of her classes (on using webinars as a lead generator), I jumped at the chance to take it. I later took her Digital Course Academy to help me create and launch my first course.

But what do I have to contribute?!

Although I have a Doctor of Education and have taught a dozen or so college courses, I didn’t think I had anything more to contribute to potential students that they haven’t already seen yet. But what I found was SO much more: students in positions ranging from entry-level to senior executives from countries I’ve never heard of, wanting to learn more about topics I figured everyone in my industry had already mastered.

Sometimes, the skills we have, we take for granted, and when it comes to online learning, the sky’s the limit. I’ve seen filled-to-the-max classes on how to train your new puppy, how to decorate a cake with a specific type of tip and even, how to take great prop photos for Instagram. Trust me: there is enough room on this planet for just about any type of course!

Micro-learning

The concept of micro-learning isn’t new: years ago, when taking an education class on a college campus, we had to teach our small group a special skill or talent we had (I can’t even remember what I taught, but I’m forever grateful to my classmate who taught me how and where to plant hostas in my garden!). But now, this online course phenomenon means we don’t even have to leave the house to learn. 

What it also means is that we all have the opportunity to share our talents and passions with others. I’ve always said that to teach is to further deepen our understanding of a topic, and you’d be hard-pressed to beat the feeling you get when someone expresses their gratitude for the help and guidance you provided them through your teachings.

Working from home? Check. On my own time? Check. Doing what I want? Double-check!

One of the best parts of my new gig? The flexibility. Working from home means I can get my daughter on and off the bus every day, volunteer in my kids’ classrooms and work from anywhere in the world. And as much as I love speaking at conferences, my youngest is NOT happy about me ever leaving…so by teaching online, I can reach just as many people (and maybe more) without having to leave the house. 

Interested in checking out some of my courses? Visit Courses for Communicators here and let me know below, in the comments, what types of classes you’d like to see in the future.

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