Best Practices

  1. 3 Steps to Create Community in Online Classes

    Online learning brings students together across time zones and geography. But it can also leave learners feeling isolated. Without casual interactions and face-to-face communication, learners may not get the support they need to thrive. It’s up to instructors and administrators to help students overcome the digital divide and create community in online classes.

    Doing so is easier said than done. Every instructor has tricks for community building in a classroom, but those methods don’t always translate to an online space. Fortunately, in this case, the problem contains its solution. If you start early and act with intention, technology can help you create community in online classes. We’ve curated the advice from online teaching experts to provide a few ways that you can build community in your programs and classes.

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  2. In-Demand Classes for the Workforce in 2021 and Beyond

    Even if workforce training is your primary focus, the latest labor news might seem confusing. That’s because we’ve entered new territory. The pandemic disrupted many of the patterns we’ve come to expect from the labor market and accelerated an evolution that would normally have taken decades. Business and industry have increased their reliance on technology, shifted priorities, and placed new emphasis on soft skills in the workplace.

    For administrators of workforce training programs, making sense of the headlines is a vital task. We’re here to help. We’ve sifted through the latest workforce news to find the workforce training classes and skills that are in demand for 2021 and beyond. Offering the following classes can help you grow enrollment and empower students to meet personal and professional goals.

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  3. What is the Future of In-Person Enrichment Classes?

    For in-person enrichment programs, the pandemic changed everything. Classrooms, theaters, and workshops fell silent when in-person classes were paused. Organizations scrambled to enable online learning and experimented with HyFlex learning models. Through it all, enrichment programs stayed true to their mission of enriching the lives of children and adults through educational opportunities. 

    Now, as we look forward to a post-pandemic world, leaders are applying lessons learned during the crisis to future-proof their programs. We turned to members of the CourseStorm community to gather their insight on what the future of in-person enrichment may look like.

    All agree that in-person enrichment classes are too valuable to lose, but remote learning can help meet student needs as well. Like improv performers, administrators of community education programs have learned to say, “Yes, and…” As in, “Yes, we will have in-person classes again, and asynchronous, hybrid, and HyFlex learning options, too.” 

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  4. 5 Features You Need for Better Online Registration Forms

    Online class registration forms can do more than gather information. They’re often your first direct communication with a student. You can use this opportunity to share details about the class, better understand student needs, and tap into their insight. In short, well-designed class registration forms set the foundation for a positive student experience. 

    The trick is keeping your forms focused and relevant. Too many questions or too much information all at once might discourage students from registering. This post will show you how to use class-specific questions and customizable forms to both gather and provide valuable information. The best registration forms do these five things:

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  5. Easy Marketing Tricks to Help Students Find Your Classes Online

    Students can only register for the classes they know about. To enroll more students, you have to get the word out about your course, but if you’re not a professional marketer, helping students find your classes online might seem like an overwhelming task. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. 

    Terms like algorithm, search engine optimization, and CTR might make your head spin. That’s okay. There’s still plenty you can do to help make your classes more visible online. It starts with thinking like your student. Where do they spend time online? What do they need to know about your course? Which words and images will capture their attention? These tips will help you answer those questions so you can reach your online class registration goals.

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  6. 7 Tips for Conducting Online Classes That Engage Students

    If you’re accustomed to in-person teaching, conducting online classes can feel like entering a foreign country. The language and customs are different, and you’re not sure how to find your way around. And you’re not just a tourist here. Your students are relying on you to be their guide. To create the best student experience possible, you’ll need to get the lay of the land and find new ways to communicate. 

    Think of this post as your guidebook to this new country. We’ll share some of the must-do activities as well as what to look out for along the way. Put these seven tactics into practice, and you’ll soon be managing online classes like a digital native. 

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  7. Using Custom Forms to Communicate with Your Students

    “Do not bring your dog to the first class. The first class is for humans only.”

    Life Enrichment at Laramie County Community College in Wyoming regularly holds a popular dog training class. The instructor noticed that even though she stated in the class information that the first part of the course is for humans, a few folks would inevitably bring their dog. This wasn’t a good experience for the student, instructor, other learners, or the dog during that session. 

    How did they ultimately make sure the humans were properly trained? LCCC used their registration form to inform. A simple checkbox on their registration form confirmed that students understood what part of the class was for dogs and what part of the class was for people. 

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  8. Alternatives to the Traditional Classroom

    Educational programs have done an incredible job of finding new ways to connect with their learning communities, including accelerating online education. But what to do in cases when hands-on lessons are critical to what’s being learned? And what do you do when that’s what your students want? 

    “Our most popular classes are still what we’re going to offer face to face,” says Liesl Dees, Community Learning Center Director at San Juan College, “and that’s what our customers are wanting more of.”  

    One of the ways that programs have accomplished this is by using alternative spaces that meet health guidelines more effectively than traditional classroom spaces. 

    We’re sharing some four of the most interesting —and achievable— types of venues your program could use for in-person classes: outdoor areas, event locations, unused commercial properties, and municipal spaces.

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  9. Strengthening Your Fall Class Catalog

    New student needs are continually surfacing during these rapidly shifting times. Your program can rise to meet many of those needs with a little creativity and a fresh look at your class offerings. 

    You may discover that with a few small adjustments, you’ll be able to lead your students, communities, and organization into a strong fall. Here we offer some points to consider as you serve the ongoing and changing needs of learners.

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  10. Preparing Your Program for a Flexible Fall

    “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

    The first half of 2020 has presented new challenges for educators across the country. Halfway in and we’re still affected by the uncertainties brought about by COVID-19. It feels like everything is staying the same and yet is changing by the minute.

    However, some things haven’t changed — learners still need education, workers still need training, and people always need (perhaps more than ever) opportunities for personal enrichment. While official recommendations are responding to the needs of the moment, organizations still need to plan for the fall. Instructors must be hired, classes posted and promoted, class spaces reserved and all other the usual things, but in unusual times. 

    No matter what your fall format looks like, or where you are, or what the situation may be, here are some ways your program can prepare for the rest of 2020.

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