How To Teach Ceramics Online


a person making a piece of ceramic with clay

You may think you can’t possibly teach ceramics online but many people already do.  This article will walk you through what you will need to know and the software and hardware you will need to do just that.

If you want to teach ceramics online here is what you need to know:

  • Your Course Outline
    • SEO Title
    • Target Audience
    • Learning Outcomes
    • Topics
    • Equipment And Tools
    • Pricing Model
    • Marketing
  • Creating Ceramics Training Content
    • Hardware
    • Software
  • Hosting Your Content
    • LMS (Learning Management System)
    • Third-Party Teaching Platform

So let’s jump in and have a look at all of these topics to get you up and running as quick as possible.

Your Course Outline

When you are creating any training the first step is always to decide on how much you want to teach and the topics you will want to deliver.  You will also need to take into account your audience and whether it will be paid training or not.  You will also need to decide if the course will be public or not and how you will attract customers.

Optimized Title 

The title is the first thing that your students will notice about your course. The name is critical  when it comes to marketing your online ceramics course.  If the course is open to the public then you have to think of a catchy title that will hook your audience and that uses good search engine optimisation practices (SEO). 

There are five key characteristics of an excellent course title:

  • Less than 60 characters – google only shows this many in search results.
  • Audience Focused – think of the level of your students.
  • Specific – narrow down the niche
  • Entice the Students – catchy marketing name
  • Using SEO keywords – using the google alphabet soup or keyword research methods

If you want to learn more about course titles and how to create a catchy one for your class, I suggest taking a look at the following article.

ARTICLE: How to Choose a Catchy Name for Your Course 

Target Audience

The next thing you need to determine is the audience your course targets. This depends very much on the reason why you are creating this content. Before you dig into the demographics of your students decide why you are creating the course:

  • As part of a formal qualification
  • To train
    • My staff
    • My customers
    • My volunteers
    • Hobbyists

After you define the reason why you are creating this course it is time to determine your target market. Defining your target market will let you know how many students to expect and how you will create your training to suit them as well as how you will market to them.

Target market characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Prerequisites (educational background)
  • Learning style
  • Language, Literacy, and Numeracy (LLN) skills
  • Job type
  • And more

You will decide on what is important to defining what these are for your students when learning ceramics online.

Learning Outcomes

Whenever you teach a class or put up an online course you always start with what the learning outcomes are for your students.  In schools and universities they do this in a form of a curriculum.  Basically what you want your students to learn or be able to demonstrate at the end of the training.

These goals will help you with defining the scope of your training and therefore the topics and how much you will charge.  We will be also discussing these later in the article.

Topics

When you are deciding on the topics you will be teaching with ceramics you have defined your learning outcomes above.

Example Topics:

  • Make or buy your clay
  • Techniques for molding
  • Thickness of materials
  • Preparing for the Kiln
  • Baking and proofing your pottery
  • Painting and Glazing

I am not a potter but you get the idea.  Each of these can then be broken down into smaller lessons that you will teach that may be made up of different eLearning content types.  There is a wide assortment of eLearning content types you can use and for a full list check out this article.

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Equipment And Tools

When you are preparing for your training you will need to think about what tools and equipment you will need to teach and also what your students will need to take the class or course.

You will need the equipment to create the training content and bundle the training together into eLearning if that is your chosen delivery method.  If you are wanting to teach live online with your students there are many ways you can do that and here is another article that will walk you through what you need to know.

ARTICLE: How To Teach LIVE Online

Here is also another article discussing the pros and cons of teaching live online that may also interest you.

ARTICLE: Teaching Live Online: The Pros and Cons

Pricing Model

After creating your content you will probably want to monetize it. If you are creating this course for your volunteers or to train your staff then you can skip this section. There are four aspects you want to take into consideration before moving on to the next step

Major Considerations

  • Why are you creating this course?
  • How will you deliver the training content?
  • How many similar courses are available on the Internet?
  • What are the prices of the above-mentioned courses?

When you are deciding on a price for your course then you will need to think about a few things that will determine the price point you will go in at.

Pricing Considerations

  • Your Time (Price Per Working Hour)
  • Course Expenses
    • Creating Content (Hardware, Software, etc.)
    • Hosting The Course 
    • Other Costs (Logistics, Additional Equipment, etc.)
  • Target Profit (~35%)
  • Competition
  • Market Pricing
  • Your Added Value

To learn more about the pricing models you can use when teaching ceramics online I suggest taking a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: 10 eLearning Pricing Models Online Teachers Must Know

Marketing

Personally something I have learnt since moving from working for someone else to running my own businesses is that ensuring you have an audience to sell your course is the most important thing you can do.  With online businesses you need to create the market first and then create the training or products and services you want to sell to them.

It is no different to the age old find a need and fill it that has been a major business driver for many years but with a crowded internet you need to carve out a market first.  Once you have provided value through social media or a blog you can see what your audience is interested in and create the training course around their needs.

Don’t just create a training course and assume people will come.  And once you have made the training for your audience then you have a warmed up audience that is more likely to convert to students in your courses.  Typically a 3% to 5% conversion rate of your website traffic to students is a good rate if you have warmed them up on your blog first.

Creating Ceramics Training Content

After defining your course outline it is time to create training content for your students. I have divided this part into three distinct sections to make it easier for you to understand what exactly you will need.

Hardware

There are three pieces of equipment you need when teaching ceramics online. These allow you to create training content and properly deliver live classes to your students. 

Laptop Or Computer

This is the most important hardware you will be using when teaching your online ceramics course. A laptop offers you mobility while computers (PC) generally come with more powerful resources.

Generally any computer less than 4 years old of around $500 will do for this style of training.  For most training online an i3 or i5 Intel processor with 4gig of RAM with a solid-state disk (SSD) or 8 gigs so RAM with an older style hard drive is more than enough.

If you are going to do lots of video work and use eLearning packaging software you might want to opt for the second option (i5 and 8 gigs of RAM with an SSD).

To learn more about which is the best computer setup for online teaching, I suggest reading the following article:

ARTICLE: eLearning Authoring: A Perfect Professionals Computer Setup

Audio Equipment

While there is a microphone in most modern laptops it is a very poor quality one.  It does not do things like noise cancellation and is not a directional microphone.  This means it will pick up all the noise happening around you and you will be spending heaps of time editing your audio.

Features of dedicated microphones:

  • Noise-canceling
  • Adaptive sensitivity
  • Volume equalizer
  • Directional and Omnidirectional
  • Pop Filters
  • And more

You do not have to pay an arm and a leg to get a decent microphone. If you are not yet decided on what you want to use I suggest you take a look at the Recommended Tools Page for ones I have used.

Once you have recorded your audio bookmark this page to come back and learn how to edit your audio to sound more professional.

ARTICLE: Editing Audio : Sound Like A Pro In A Screencast

Video Equipment

If you are planning on teaching ceramics online you will definitely need to include a visual component in your course. That is why you need a webcam. If you use a laptop then it probably has an integrated camera. 

This internal web cam is great for calling family and friends but it misses a couple of features you need for creating more professional content.

Dedicated webcam features:

  • Low light balance
  • Higher speed focus
  • Ability to change direction
  • Green screen capabilities
  • Higher resolution

Have a look at the Recommended Tools page to find out what type of camera works the best for me.  The one I use personally and recommend also has a built in noise cancelling microphone.  So it is basically a 2 in 1.  

Keep in mind a dedicated microphone will always give you better quality audio but this at least will be better than the built in laptop one.  This webcam will also be great when you are running live online classes as you can be hands free.

Software

So now you have the hardware you will need the software to edit your training content.  The video hardware will come with recording software but you may need to do some post production on your audio and video.  As well as bundling it together into an eLearning course.

Video Editing Tools

After you’ve finished recording your video, to edit the raw footage you can use:

Audio Recording Software

Among the most popular software used for audio recording and editing are:

Graphics Editors

If you want to capture screenshots to use it as training content for your online ceramics course then you can use:

The most popular graphic editing applications available are:

Hosting Your Content

After creating your training content for your online ceramics course it is time to host it online. This way you will be able to deliver it to your potential students. Let’s see which is the most suitable option for your course. 

Learning Management System (LMS)

A Learning Management System (commonly referred to as LMS) is an online tool that allows educators to deliver and guide their students’ training. Its many features enhance interactivity between students and teachers. 

This type of hosting comes with plenty of advantages but requires you to market the course yourself. The most popular LMS are:

Moodle

http://moodle.org

Moodle is one of the most popular learning management systems available on the Internet. It is an open-source tool, meaning that anyone can use it for free. The only cost that an online educator may have to consider is related to hosting. 

To learn more about how to use Moodle for your online ceramics course, you can take a look at the following articles: Moodle Articles

Google Classroom

http://classroom.google.com

Google Classroom is another well-known learning management system. It is available worldwide and can be used without any paid subscription by individual educators and eligible schools. However, if you are not eligible for the free version you need to pay a subscription fee that is calculated in accordance with the number of students and teachers you will add. 

You can see the complete list of articles that are related to Google Classroom here: Google Classroom Articles

Other quite-popular LMS are:

NOTE: If you create your audience by building an online audience first with a blog like WordPress then I would suggest using the Learn Press add on for your training course.

Third-Party Teaching Platforms

If you do not want to host your content using an LMS then you can try out this second option. There are plenty of teaching platforms that allow online educators to upload their courses and get paid for online teaching. Some websites have fixed pricing plans that limit the possibility of increasing your profit. 

The main advantage of this hosting method is related to marketing. These platforms already have databases with thousands of students that are ready to enroll in your course. It is your call whether to choose marketing or flexible pricing (third-party teaching platform or LMS). 

They will however control how you get to your students and take commissions from your sales.

Some of the most popular third party training websites are:

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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