Grow Your Program
Unusual Classes To Inspire You To Expand Your Course Offerings
Making your courses to stand out is a challenge for any informal education program. We tend to talk a lot about marketing, but what about your course offerings? The right class can spark interest and get people excited about your program. That’s why many CourseStorm customers offer unusual classes.
When chosen with care, unusual classes can show students you understand their needs and interests. They make your course catalog more robust and set you apart from others offering classes in similar subjects. Plus, they create great entry points for new students to get acquainted with your program and its offerings.
What do we mean by unusual? We’ll show you.
Unusual Classes to Help Inspire You
We’ve gathered a sampling of interesting and unconventional classes offered by CourseStorm customers to give you an idea of what’s possible. Here are eight unusual classes programs are offering to attract new students and re-engage with existing ones. Hopefully, they’ll spark your creative energy to help you add some unusual classes to your program.
Breathe Life into Your Art
AuSable Artisan Village offers art classes and workshops for all ages and skill levels. In “Breathe Life into Your Art,” students are invited to bring in a piece they’ve been struggling with and get individualized instruction to bring their art to life. The class is capped at 5 participants to make sure each student has plenty of time with the instructor.
This class is unusual because it meets students wherever they are in the creative process rather than guiding them through a project from start to finish. The class invites students and their art to come as they are and provides a space for exploration and community.
Soft Plastic Fishing Lure Making
At the Mountain Home campus of Arkansas State University, the Workforce and Community Education program offers classes on a wide range of topics, from leadership to life sciences. In “Soft Plastic Fishing Lure Making,” students learn how to make their own lures using a popular lure material.
This unusual class caters to a defined audience, adults who fish. The class blends the practical element of making your own fishing lures with the social opportunity to spend time in a community of people interested in fishing. Students will walk away having learned a lifelong skill and perhaps having met a new fishing partner.
Preparing for Your College Audition
Coachella Valley Repertory offers drama, theater, music, and voice classes. In “Preparing for Your College Audition,” students prepare to apply to college-level theater or musical theater programs. The two-day intensive course includes a one-on-one Zoom meeting with the instructor to review audition instructions for each student’s potential schools and concludes with a mock audition facilitated by a panel of working theater professionals.
This class is designed for a specific audience that will appreciate expert guidance from professionals who have done hundreds of auditions themselves. It satisfies a niche need and has a clear end result: a confident audition.
Dressing for Illusion
Augusta Adult and Community Education is a member of the Maine Adult Education association that offers high school completion classes, workforce skills training, and enrichment classes for people of all ages. In “Dressing for Illusion,” students learn how to assemble outfits that draw attention to certain parts of the body while camouflaging others. This helps them highlight their best features according to their body shape and personal preferences.
The class has an intriguing name and addresses a common need. It creates a communal space for students to talk about styling strategies and give honest feedback.
Intro to the Music, Art, and Poetry of Joni Mitchell
EdAdvance is located in Litchfield, CT, and offers online and in-person classes. “Intro to the Music, Art, and Poetry of Joni Mitchell” studies the artistic and cultural influence of singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.
Mitchell aficionados will enjoy a class that blends history and cultural studies while examining each of Mitchell’s 21 albums. This class caters to a niche audience, but the students who sign up for it are guaranteed to be enthusiastic and engaged participants.
Orientation to Offshore Wind
Bristol Community College is located in Fall River, MA, where the offshore wind industry is projected to create thousands of jobs along the coastline by 2030. In “Orientation to Offshore Wind,” students learn about wind as an industry and a technical specialty. The course introduces students to the role of wind energy in generating power and the increasing importance of wind farms as the industry develops.
This unusual class takes advantage of its location on the east coast and the industry of clean and renewable energy. By identifying an opportunity for its students to find careers in wind power, Bristol Community College caters to those students’ needs for skills and knowledge that can lead to employment. As a workforce development class, it reaches far beyond the usual.
So You Want to Open an Airbnb
Offering high school completion, business, and enrichment classes, Central Lincoln County Adult Education has a large class catalog. “So You Want to Open an Airbnb” teaches students how to maintain an Airbnb while addressing all the common issues new hosts are likely to face.
This course capitalizes on an increasingly-popular line of business and has a large prospective audience. It’s important that all hosts know the rules and regulations in order to keep themselves and their properties protected, and this course is a lot more engaging than the fine print on the website.
All Behavior Has Meaning
The Carole Robertson Center for Learning offers classes for parents and children, in English and in Spanish. In “All Behavior Has Meaning,” parents learn how to identify and understand their child’s behaviors in order to intervene effectively.
This unusual course puts its philosophy and approach directly in its name. Parents know exactly what they’re signing up for, so students taking the class will have parenting styles that align with its philosophy.
How to Create Your Own Unusual Classes
We hope these unusual classes from the CourseStorm community have sparked your creativity. As you start to think about creative ideas for your own unusual course offerings, keep these best practices in mind:
- Name your class something eye-catching and descriptive. Consider the difference between “Dress to Look Your Best” and Maine Adult Ed’s “Dressing for Illusion.” The first is descriptive but a little dull. The second is unusual but still tells you what the class is about.
- Think about the long-term relationship. You might attract a small group of very enthusiastic students by offering something unique and specific like EdAdvance did with its Joni Mitchell class. But ideally, you have even more to offer those students beyond a single unusual class. Think about how this unique offering fits into your course catalog to keep students coming back.
- Consider geography and local industry needs. Look around at the industries that are growing in your community. Think about how can you help train professionals of the future like Bristol Community College does with their offshore wind classes.
- Solve a specific problem. Courses like “Breathe Life Into Your Art” and “Preparing for Your College Audition” solve a problem that the programs existing students may have. Classes like this show students that you understand their challenges and care about their needs.
In short, unusual classes should be more than a marketing gimmick. They should strengthen and broaden your relationships with learners. Whether your goal is to attract new students or re-engage existing students, unusual classes can help you get there.
Nic is skilled in scaling start-up edtech and education organizations to growth-stage success through innovative marketing. A former journalist and copywriter, Nic holds a postgraduate certificate in digital and print publishing from Columbia University School of Journalism's publishing course.