When creating an online course it’s not just about the idea, it’s about creating valuable content. Think about it, is your online course going to consist of photos, videos, PDFs, or audio recordings? Maybe you will include a mix? Either way, you need to make sure your content is presented in a way that your students can understand and stay engaged with.
The are three primary elements for creating content for your online course:
We all know a photo is worth a thousand words. So make sure your photos are clear, utilize good lighting, and do not have any distracting backgrounds. Really, lighting and focus are key here! Be sure to take several shots so you have options. You can use simple editing programs on your smartphone such as the built-in photo editor (the one that comes standard on most smartphones), SnapSeed (a free photo editing app) or even use those popular filters and editing options from Instagram.
Video and audio
Unless you have never been online before this very moment you know that video is king!
Live broadcasting (Facebook Live and Periscope) is exploding and video is everywhere you look. Similar to photography, filming must utilize good lighting, audio, and a steady hand. Lighting and audio are what will make or break each short 5-minute or less video for your online course.
When filming, you can use your smartphone, just make sure you have a steady grip on it. Use a tripod if you need to. Make sure the camera lens is on your left side so that it looks like you are directly looking into the lens – this makes it look like you are talking directly to the viewers.
Be sure to eliminate background noise as much as possible and use a mic to get the best possible audio. You can have an amazing video but if the audio fails you’ve lost everything. Also, know that you can kill two birds with one stone here and pull audio clips for lessons where you just want audio. While a video is preferred, this is an option. If you want to easily record your desktop/computer screen then check out Loom as it’s super easy to use and makes training a breeze!
As for editing your videos you can use built-in editing programs generally found on most smartphones as well as computer programs such as iMovie (also available on iPhone) a Mac. Remember, you don’t need anything too fancy here. You just need a quick video teaching the lesson to your students.
Everyone loves handouts and providing your students with worksheets and checklists will be an added bonus. They can take these PDF’s and use them online and offline. For those who might not know, PDFs can be Word documents that are saved and exported as a PDF. A document that is basically a template meaning others can not change what’s on the page.
No matter what type of content you add to your online course, make sure you always run a few test shots to ensure that everything is working properly.