How To’s

  1. Getting Started with SMS: Marketing Your Educational Program via Text Messages

    Educational programs used to using paper catalogs are experiencing extra challenges this year. Concerns over changing classes, postponements, cancellations, and the loss of public reading spaces like libraries and waiting rooms have presented a new marketing challenge. How can programs get their catalogs designed, printed, shipped, and in front of the learning community in a time like this?

    Now imagine sending your whole class catalog to someone for just five cents, and then knowing almost instantly if they’d looked at it. Seems almost impossible! Yet there’s a simple, accessible, and affordable way to get your community to your digital catalog — and you’ve probably already used it several times today: text messaging.

    Using text messages, your program can connect to students easily right where they are. And research indicates that it’s a preferred communication method for most mobile phone owners, who typically check their mobile phones 47 times a day! If you want to motivate an audience to check out your new class catalog or register for a new class, sending a text is a great way to elicit a response. 

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  2. Three Ways to Use Your Recorded Classes to Increase Enrollment

    If your program has been holding classes online, chances are that you’ve recorded at least some of your class content. Most likely, you’ve provided it to students who missed a class or created the recorded sessions so some students can learn asynchronously.

    But did you know that your class videos may be able to do even more for you, providing you with content that you can use to increase engagement with your program and boost enrollments?

    We’ll cover three things that you can do to make the most of your recorded classes, including create an eLearning video course, edit into microlearning modules, and improve your program’s marketing.

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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Seven Tips for Teaching Tech to Older Learners

    It used to be that the biggest barrier for an adult learner was finding the class. As many programs move online, new challenges have arisen for some learners, including using new technology to access education and community. 

    We recently received the following question, “We cater to many senior citizens who have trouble with the whole concept of online classes. They can’t sign on…what can we do to enable them to partake in all that we are offering?”  Given the value in both the educational content and the ability to connect with other people, it’s worth going the distance to help less tech-savvy older learners have successful online experiences. 

    CourseStorm’s Chris Suggs, who taught basic computing to older adults as an AmeriCorps volunteer, helped identify seven things your program can do to get senior learners who aren’t comfortable with technology connected.

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  7.  Just Released: Our COVID-19 Recovery Guide

    Here at CourseStorm, we’ve been carefully watching how lifelong education programs are being affected by this unprecedented situation brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak. 

    We know it’s hard to find answers to the big question that nobody expected to ask, “How do I manage my educational program during a pandemic?” 

    We’ve been working hard to provide resources and materials to CourseStorm customers as they’ve responded to the needs of their students. We know that every lifelong learning program has been working to adapt to closures.

    We listened to our customers’ questions and we’ve done the research. We know that every lifelong learning program has been working to adapt to closures and social distancing during this unprecedented situation. It’s a challenge, and we’re meeting it together. 

    And so we’ve created a resource to help, the COVID-19 Recovery Guide: How to manage your educational program during a pandemic. This guide contains advice on how to manage your education program in this troubled time —from transitioning to online classes to finding financial assistance— so that you’re well-positioned to come out the other side stronger than ever.

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  8. Clear Expectations: The Importance of a Good Refund Policy

    Do I really need a refund policy?

    Well-written refund policies are vital for any business providing services to the public. A refund policy establishes expectations for both your business and customers and can protect you from potential financial losses and liability. Your policy lets registrants know what to expect should they need to cancel a registration. A signed or virtually acknowledged refund policy is also one of the best tools you can use to win a disputed credit card purchase known as a “chargeback.” 

    If you don’t have a refund policy now, it’s worth the time to create one, and it’s not a difficult process and it can have a serious, positive impact on your bottom line.

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  9. 8 Ways to Stage a Low Enrollment Intervention

    It’s an all-too-familiar story: you are offering a great class. The instructor is excellent. The material is solid, interesting, and useful. You’ve set it all up perfectly…but the class enrollment is still low. 

    It doesn’t matter what you’re offering, whether welding or watercolors, and a low turnout can be a stressful experience for anyone running an education program. 

    There are some tried-and-true ways to help maximize your outreach to get those classes full enough to run, and we’re sharing our own great eight with you. 

    Here are a few ways to boost your class registrations so you can run that class!

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  10. Feedback: What, How, and Whom Do I Ask

    What, How, and Whom Do I Ask to Get the Feedback I Need?

    (This article is the third in our feedback series. In our first, we talked about how feedback can help improve your program in, “Why Your Program Can Benefit from Feedback (and How to Get It).” In our second, we covered “Where Does Feedback Come From?”)

    Choosing Your Feedback Method

    There are many ways to get feedback, and each method is better for some kinds of information and data gathering than others.

    However, of equal import are the questions you ask and the way you ask them, which is what this article covers!
    In an ideal situation, we want to be sure we understand what participants expect, who to ask for feedback, and who invites that feedback. When we’ve defined those, we can plan out the ideal way to ask, the best method to use, and even who will manage that feedback.

    Thinking the process through will help create a better experience for everyone involved.

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