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.
Here are 4 ways to get contributions from this valuable resource.
Creating marketing content can feel like a never-ending task, especially if you have a small team. Marketing your classes with fresh and relevant content takes all of your resources. Yet there’s one valuable resource you might be overlooking—your instructors. They might not be marketing professionals, but they do have insight and knowledge that can help improve your marketing content.
We’ve talked before about how instructors can help attract students by sending emails, making announcements, sharing on social media, and leveraging community connections. Instructors can also offer a unique perspective to help you create marketing content that feels personal and relevant. Here are four ways instructors can help make marketing content that boosts enrollment.
Your students are busy people. They have jobs to go to, errands to run, and maybe kids, pets, or aging parents to care for. Even if they’re really excited about taking your class, getting them from interested to enrolled isn’t always easy. If you want to move class registration to the top of their to-do list, you need a motivator. Take a page from the retailer’s playbook and start cultivating the FOMO.
This cutesy acronym stands for a powerful marketing tool—the Fear of Missing Out. It’s the realization that if they don’t act now, they might miss their chance. A few simple adjustments to your marketing messages can put FOMO to work for your class.
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.
When your program has an important announcement to make, it’s helpful to have an advance plan for getting the word out. (For example, the launch of a new, easy-to-use class registration process!)
Because we all love saving time, this list uses the same basic information in many different ways. This efficient plan uses elements of your core content to suit each use, letting you get the word out in lots of different ways — and without lots of extra work.
You’ll start by writing down the basics including what you want people to know (your key message) and any details that will help your audiences. Explain why it’s important, who is affected, and how someone can learn more. You can add details like quotes, benefits, and descriptions for different versions.
Once you have that, here are 10 ways you can get that news out to the public!
Ever notice how software sometimes seems to make everything move just a little faster?
You check your calendar and invite someone to a meeting via email with the click of a button. You visit a website and pay for something online with no waiting. You check your fitness tracker results in an easy-to-read chart in an app. You log into your credit card website to pay a bill and see your credit rating. You support a cause and seconds later invite your social media followers to do the same —without even leaving the thank you screen.
If you’ve ever observed perceived how smoothly these applications work together, you can probably thank an integration. If you’re noticing it more often, it’s likely because we’re surrounded by software applications which we use for everything from online meetings to records management to getting takeout delivered. And if you’ve never really thought about it, well, that, for an integration, is a job well done.
In fact, while on your way to this article you probably used several software integrations, some without even knowing!
If you’ve been offering classes for any length of time, you may have considered whether it’s time to offer your students payment plans. We’ve considered this too, and our answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
Over the years, we’ve seen classes ranging from very inexpensive —$5 to $50— to substantial —hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. These “big ticket” courses are wide-ranging: professional credentials, certifications, camps, trips, and longer-term or specialized personal enrichment opportunities. However, these “big ticket” classes can also be financially challenging to students, even if they may be more valuable.
More expensive classes don’t have to decrease your enrollments! You can still fill your classes at the rate you’ve set by offering payment plans to your students.
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.
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.
“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.