Writerpreneur: Teaching Online

October 2007 Family Fun Magazine By Gregory A. Kompes

Teaching online is the perfect way to help others and increase your income. One of the great advantages of teaching online is that you can do it from anywhere, whether you’re in your office or traveling on assignment.

If you want to offer courses through an accredited institution, they’ll probably require an advanced degree or teaching certification. If this is a direction you’d like to explore, check out Make Money Teaching Online by Danielle Babb and Jim Mirabella (Wiley 2007).

If you offer courses privately you need to be a topic expert with a desire to teach. As you develop a niche writing market, you’re also expanding your topic expertise. Just as you turn that knowledge into a workshop or seminar, you can use your experience and materials to create an online course.

The three basic types of online courses to consider offering are self-paced, correspondence, and interactive.

Self-paced courses allow learners to travel through a series of lectures and other course topic information at their own pace. Materials for these types of online courses might include written word, pictures, sound, and video. An excellent tool for building self-paced courses is Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com). There usually aren’t assignments in self-paced courses, but quizzes and tests–which can be immediately graded by the software you’re using–are common.

Correspondence courses have been around even longer than mail delivery services. Learners and instructors are able to interact with each other via email and phone. Correspondence courses often have set start and end dates and include assignments and teacher critiques along with the learning materials. You might already be familiar with Christina Katz’s online courses (http://www.writersontherise.com/classes.html) offered and delivered using these methods.

From continuing education to advanced degrees, interactive online learning is a recent trend in online learning, especially for adult learners. While every offering is different, most interactive courses are provided through a Course Management System (CMS). Some of the more popular are BlackBoard, ATutor, and Moodle. Interactive online classes have set start and end dates and the courses are highly interactive, with discussions and assignments posted within the classroom setting. Learners and facilitators all interact within the online classroom and not only learn from the materials presented, but also from each other in the online discussions.

To learn more about all aspects of online teaching, I recommend The Handbook of Online Learning edited by Kjell Erik Rudestam and Judith Schoenholtz (Sage Publications 2002).

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Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Websiteby Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.
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