Distance Learning: How to Teach It and Generate Extra Income

    February 18, 2003

Distance learning continues to grow in popularity because it offers so many advantages to the learner. Here’s how to get started distance teaching.

People are flocking to distance learning in increasing numbers as a way to grow personally and professionally. It is widely used in the corporate and academic worlds. Setting up distance learning courses can be a way for you to help people, teach in your field of expertise, grow your practice, and generate an extra source of passive revenue.

Half of my income comes from the courses I teach. I also have emotional intelligence products available for licensing, which generates income for me.

Here are some things you need to know to get started:

1. Check out the copyright laws. A basic summary: It’s yours the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form so that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Go here to read more: www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html. Attach the copyright to your materials, and respect the copyrights of others.

2. Synchronous means in real time, such as connecting with streaming audio or video or a chat room.

3. Asynchronous means your course is prepackaged and available to the person at any time to be studied at their convenience.

4. My own version — the courses are pre-packaged, but I mail each lesson on Monday morning. It gives a sense of “school” and keeps the students from becoming overwhelmed. If you do this, you may wish to have a code-lock on the site. This is available free through www.bravenet.com, I believe.

5. There are tremendous advantages to distance learning– flexibility for the student, access to the instructor, and a great savings in time and money. You can learn with the privacy and convenience of your own computer.

6. Learning advantages–you can focus on ideas and enrichment. You can reach diverse individuals and accommodate different learning styles. Once established, the courses run themselves. It’s a win-win situation.

7. Because of the above, I recommend that you make the courses interactive. The students reply and interact with you by email, which is under your control, but gives the involvement that people like nowadays. I’ve found it easy enough to manage.

8. Disadvantages are mainly for those students who learn better in a real-time group situation.

9. Here are some resources for you to begin with:

a. “Learning with a Technology Profile Tool,” www.ncrtec.org/capacity/profile/profwww.htm

b. Profiler online collaboration: http://profiler.scrtec.org/

c. Design and learn to teach online at Harvard: http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/home/index.cfm

d. Learn with other DL teachers: http://www.att.com/learning network/teachers Where education and technology merge.

e. “New Teacher Online Survival Course” — http://www.teachers network.org (includes new teacher online hotline)

f. Online resources for distance learning teachers: http://scout.cs.wisc.edu/index.html

g. Try www.cnet.com for online collaboration and technical questions

h. Here’s a “graphic organizer”–http://www.graphic.org

10. What courses to teach? Check out sources like www. blackboard.com and see what courses they offer. Also check on www.teleclasses.com for titles.

11. How to set up your courses? I use a dedicated website and give students the URL each week. I have also used http://www.blackboard.com. Conceivably you could also offer them through an ezine service such as www.roving.com. There are others. Check on the sites listed above for more ideas, and also on a search engine.

12. Additional help–once you’re a success, you’ll need a Virtual Assistant to manage the logistics. I recommend Sunny and you can contact her at vasunny@sbcglobal.net. She manages my online courses for me.

13. Create a certificate for your students at the end of their course. Sunny can do this for you. Be sure and include your name, website, and phone number on the certificate so others can find you!

14. Get a distance learning coach. It will save you a lot of time and mistakes.

15. I especially recommend coaching to establish the tone and level of your courses. Writing for the internet is very different. Remember you have a student sitting in front of a computer, usually alone. How will you motivate? How will you involve?

17. I recommend that the reading of the lesson and the homework /fieldwork take no longer than one hour a week. Today’s discretionary adult learners are eager, but very busy.

18. Teaching gives a wonderful sense of satisfaction. A serendipity is that it’s true–until you’ve taught something, you don’t really know it. You’ll take a quantum leap in your own understanding of the subjects that you teach.

15. Now you’re a teacher! Get yourself a free mousepad: http://www.elftours.com/public/partners/pbs/teacher.asp

Susan Dunn, MA, Marketing Coach,
http://www.webstrategies.cc. Marketing consultation,
implementation, website review, SEO optimization, article
writing and submission, help with ebooks and other
strategies. Susan is the author or How to Write an eBook
and Market It on the Internet. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc
for information and free ezine. Specify Checklist.