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Harvest Time: Course Strategy

GOAL: Create a course by the end of the month. Are you in? If so, we’re here to help! For those that haven’t registered and would still like to join, please fill out this form.

If you’ve opted for a partner, that’s excellent! This is a great way to keep each other accountable, and you get the added bonus of having someone cheer you on as you work.

That’s an important word here: work. This isn’t going to be an easy challenge, but it will be worth it. If you’ve found yourself wishing you could get your course off the ground but have been procrastinating, this is a challenge you’ll find formidable, but rewarding.

First thing’s first: Let’s start with your course strategy. If you’ve already done this step, great! Share your preliminary research on your potential student with your partner and assess each other with this rubric. If not, please read on! Check out this worksheet as well so you can keep track of your work.

Research: Topics

Here’s a list of the current “hot topics” that students are looking for in the marketplace. Now, please keep in mind that this is a list of things that we’re currently missing. In no way should you feel limited to these topics! Think of your student as you decide what to teach. Above all else, teach what you know. Students want to learn from experts, and if you’re an astrophysicist with no background or understanding of music…you may want to stick to teaching astrophysics and leave the music courses to the musicians. And, of course, this is after confirming there is actually a market for online astrophysics courses.

Whether your course is on the hot topic list or you have something you’re really passionate about teaching, add this to your research phase so you know what already exists in the market:

  • Go to Udemy and search for your course topic.
    • Task: Identify 3-4 similar courses.
    • Goal: Identify what students may already have access to and where you can uniquely add value.
  • Go to Google and do a quick search on your topic.
    • Task: Gauge — is there nothing? Is there a lot? If there’s nothing, this might not be the right topic to teach. If there’s a lot, you’ll have to really think about how you’ll differentiate yourself from what’s already there.
    • Goal: Understand what already exists on your topic.

Research: Audience

  • Identify the online communities and groups that exist on your course topic.
  • How many members are in these communities, approximately?
  • How many of those members are actively engaged in conversations?
    • Takeaway: Finding groups that have a few hundred members or more is generally a good sign that there is a decent amount of demand for your topic.

Course Goals

Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to start thinking about your Course Goals.

  • By the end of your course, what should your students be able to do with their newfound knowledge?
  • Who should take this course? Who should not?
  • What will students need to know or do before starting this course?

Goal Check

By the end of this exercise, you should be able to:

  • Define your target student
  • Define your learning objectives
  • Be prepared to create an outline

Post for Points!

You’ll want to post this back in the Studio so you can get feedback. Follow these steps!

  1. Fill in your answers to the questions above using this form.
  2. Tag your post with #HarvestTime in the Studio.
  3. If you have a partner, tag your them in your post so they can check out your work and give you feedback. Be sure to give them feedback when they tag you. (If you can’t find them, consider adding them as a friend on Facebook if you haven’t yet, even if it’s just for this exercise!)
  4. Use this rubric to grade your partner’s work (you can also use it to grade your own work). Please try to do this within a few days so your partner can benefit from your thoughts!
  5. Post your Course Strategy by October 4th to earn 10 points!

Your next steps will be to create an outline of your course. Keep a copy of your course strategy work closeby — it will help you build your student-centric course! Start thinking about the activities you’ll want your students to take part in as well!

Once you’re ready for the next step, click here to read up on good Outlining practices.