Are you facing problems teaching drama remotely? Taking a drama course online is vastly different than in-person classes. Let me show you the technology, skills, and tools you will need to teach online.
To teach Drama online you will need to: digitize your existing training material, decide how many students will be self-taught, how you will host your content, decide what kind of live teaching tools you will use and how you will assess your students.
Here are the basics we will cover to get your Drama content online:
- Creating Course Content
- Course Title
- Target Audience
- Pricing Model
- Required Equipment
- Hosting Your Course Content
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Learning Management System (LMS)
- Third-Party Hosting
- Teaching Live Classes
- Setting Up A Teaching Space
- Additional Resources
Now that you know everything you will need to know to take your Drama course online let’s dig into each of those topics to learn more.
Creating Course Content
You will have to convert all your course-related contents to use as digital media. Moreover, you can also use those materials for teaching drama online independently.
The online platforms are a lot more competitive than teaching in schools. So you will have to adapt accordingly. You have to think about marketing your course so that you can stay ahead in the race.
Key factors to keep in mind to outline your course for monetization:
- Course Title
- Target Audience
- Pricing Model
If you are planning to put your course online on the web, then choosing the perfect title for your course is necessary. You will need to think about a title that works well with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The reason you need to do this is that Google and other search engines rank closer to the top of the search results web pages that make it easier for them to list your content and provide real answers to real questions.
This might not be the case for you if you are teaching for your school. But if you want to put it on the web, you have to make sure it works well with Search Engine Optimization(SEO).
There are 5 key characteristics of a great 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
- Check Competition – you need to google your course title and see how many courses are out there already and how good those courses are. How could you stand out?
If you want to learn more about course titles and how to create a catchy one for your online performing arts class I suggest taking a look at the following article:
ARTICLE: How to Choose a Catchy Name for a Training Program
The topics you include in your course will determine whether it’ll sell online or not. So, adjust your previously made topic list according to the course title.
Here are some example Topics you could use:
- Drama Class Fundamentals
- Introduction to Theater
- Introduction to Film
- Scene Design
- Lighting Design
- Costume Design
Organize all your course content according to a curriculum or a syllabus. This will improve the quality of the course.
You can categorize them into:
- Core content
Knowing your target audience which may be slightly different online is key to a successful course. This way you will better aim your content and make more money.
Here are some things to consider:
- Basic Knowledge (K-4)
- Entry-Level Biology (4-9)
- Mid-Level Biology (High School Students)
- Advanced Biology (Vocational and University)
- Geographic location
- English language competencies
- Prerequisites (educational background)
- Learning style
- Language, Literacy, and Numeracy (LLN) skills
- Job Role
And now, why you are creating this performing arts course:
- As part of a formal qualification
- To train
- My staff
- My customers
- My volunteers
Once you have a profile of the learner then you can continue with pricing and content creation.
Before you create your training course you will need to decide on whether you will need to be paid for the course you create. Are you doing it just for the love of it or do you need to get an income to live on? There are many things to consider when you are deciding on the price.
What to consider when choosing a price:
- Your Time
- Hosting Costs
- Maintenance Costs
- Course Costs
- Creating Content
- Software and Tools
- Third-Party Licenses
- Third-Party Commissions (paid to people who sell your course)
- Target Profit (typically at least 30%)
Keep in mind that if you are planning on hosting your training content on a third-party teaching platform then you will have to work under their pricing model. Depending on the platform you choose you will have to deal with substantial discounts automatically applied by promotions they may have.
A perfect example of this is Udemy that if they sell a course for you takes more commission and will heavily discount your course.
If on the other hand, you host your course your costs will be a lot less but developing demand and the traffic for your course may be a little more difficult. We will discuss these later with hosting.
To learn more about the pricing models you can use when teaching biology online I suggest taking a look at the following article:
ARTICLE: 10 eLearning Pricing Models Online Teachers Must Know
The only way to let students know that you will teach performing arts online is through advertising. If you fail to reach your audience, all your efforts for creating, and organizing the content will be in vain.
Don’t just create a training course and assume people will come. Once you have made the training for your audience then you have warmed-up the audience so 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.
If you are teaching for an institution then you don’t have to advertise your course. But here’s the interesting part, just like notes, and books, the content you create for online performing arts classes is reusable. Since it can be shared or used online you can reuse the contents anytime you need, anywhere you need.
How to get classroom-like environments online? There isn’t a room with seats and boards to teach students. We will create an environment online with the proper tools.
Drama classes require a teacher to interact with the students more visually and this requires the right computer hardware to do that. Since you are taking your course online you might add these items to your shopping list.
Laptop or Computer
The most important equipment when teaching online (regardless of the subject) is your laptop. It allows you to create, edit, and distribute your training content. You will also use it during classes and to conduct live meetings with your students.
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 4 gigs of RAM with a solid-state disk (SSD) or 8 gigs so RAM with an older style hard drive is more than enough.
The required specifications of your computer are directly linked to the complexity of the software you are planning on using. If you are going to perform multiple tasks at the same time then you might want to stick to the latter option (i5 Intel processor with 8 gigs of RAM and an SSD). Otherwise, you can complete all your tasks with a basic laptop (i3 Intel processor with 4 gigs of RAM).
NOTE: An equivalent AMD CPU is fine also so if the cost is an issue this is a nice way to reduce your costs.
Webcam and Microphone
If you are going to have live training with your students or you wish to add sections of you explaining topics or ideas in your eLearning you will need at least a webcam and microphone.
If you have never taught live online the article below will discuss some of the pros and cons.
ARTICLE: Teaching Live Online: The Pros and Cons
If you are using a laptop then it probably has an integrated microphone and camera. However, due to the poor quality of these two components I strongly advise against using them for teaching purposes. You should spend some extra money and buy a dedicated microphone and webcam.
If you want to see my recommendations in terms of a dedicated webcam and microphone you should take a look at the Recommended Tools page of the one I currently use.
There are heaps of software packages you can use to create your training content and below you will find a list of some of them. Your Learning Management System (LMS) will allow you to add all of these types of content to your training course.
The most popular tools you can use to create and edit text are:
- Google Docs (free)
- Apache OpenOffice (free)
- EditPad Lite (free)
- Microsoft Word (paid)
- LMS Text Editors (free)
To create a training manual in print or digital format you can use:
If you want to capture screenshots to use as training content you can take advantage of:
- LightShot (free)
- GreenShot (free)
- ScreenShot (free)
Here are the graphics editing applications:
- GIMP (free)
- Canva (free version/paid version)
- Adobe Photoshop (paid)
- Paint.NET (free)
- Corel (paid)
Among the most popular software used for audio recording and editing are:
- Audacity (free)
- Mixxx (free)
- FL Studio (paid)
- Adobe Audition (paid)
- Online Voice Recorder (free)
To edit video recordings you can use:
- Movie Maker (free)
- OpenShot (free)
- Adobe Premiere (paid)
- Corel Video Studio (paid)
- Shortcut (free)
- iMovie (paid)
For a more thorough guide to eLearning content types, you can look at this article.
ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide To Creating eLearning
Host Your Course Online
For students to see your course when completed you need to put it on a website for them to be able to see it. You can create your course directly on some of these website tools or create it offline and upload it later depending on what the website allows you to do.
The most common types of educational content hosting are:
- Custom Website
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Learning Management System (LMS)
- Third-Party Teaching Platform
There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each method. Below I have listed the most popular picks for each category as well as a set of advantages and disadvantages.
This is the least common of the options above due to the high cost of creation and maintenance and it is also difficult for you to make changes to the website yourself. This option is only really picked if you have specialized requirements from the website and something like Khan Academy is a good example of this.
Content Management System
A majority of the websites on the internet use some form of CMS that is just a website that is built in such a way to make it easy for people to create and maintain websites with limited IT knowledge. The largest of these is WordPress with over 50% of the CMS market.
If you own a business with a website or the company you work for does then it probably uses a CMS already. This means each person throughout the business can update the web pages in the website that directly relate to them.
There are plenty of educational plugins you can install into these types of websites to host your training course on them. It depends on the CMS as to what plugins are available but they all have a searchable plugin library.
Here is one you could use if you were using WordPress:
Learning Management System
LMS is a specific form of CMS that is designed specifically for use in education. They have all the tools you need to teach online directly built into the website itself as well as the ability to create and manage training courses and create your basic website pages.
The most popular LMS are:
- Moodle (open-source)
- Google Classroom (free)
- Blackboard (paid)
- Canvas (paid)
Using one of these you will have a website that is dedicated to education online and you have full control of your content and pricing as well as how you market your training courses. This is generally the option chosen for people wanting to write multiple courses and have full control of their business.
There is however the requirement to set up your website and there is some maintenance time required as well. For the paid tools above they can bundle this work into your quote if you don’t want to do it yourself.
Third-Party Teaching Platforms
You can host your training course on a third-party website if you want to limit your maintenance and just manage the course only. Depending on the website they choose how you get paid for your course and some will even force pricing or discounts on you. So be careful to read the terms and conditions as they may come back to bite you later.
The most popular third-party teaching platforms are:
Teaching Live Classes
Drama being a visual art is best done with video and live discussions with students. This is easy for you to do with modern technology. You can schedule live classes with students to check-in and see what they have achieved so far.
Web conference software is how we deliver these online classes using both video and audio with your students. All web conference software have trial periods so you can use them and see what is right for you. The core functionality of all web conferences is the same but it is the extra features that might make things easier for you.
Here are some of the most popular web conference tools:
Setting Up A Teaching Space
When you are teaching live classes from home you have to think about your environment and what your students will see when they are video chatting with you. We have all seen a poorly thought out teaching space on a web conference.
Things to consider when setting up your live classroom teaching space:
- A room where you can close the door
- Give yourself room to present
- Think about your desk setup
- Lighting to remove shadows
- On your face
- On the wall behind you
- A relevant background
- Sound absorption off-screen to make sure you don’t sound like you are in a tunnel
- Wall Hangings
- Towels and Blankets
There are many articles on setting up the perfect home studio that you can look at but these ideas will get you started with the basics.
For some great tips and tricks for running your first live training session check out this article:
ARTICLE: 15 Practical Tips for Teaching your First Online Class
There will be times when you will get stuck. Don’t stop your progress, ask for help. The internet has a huge amount of resources already available. Make proper use of them.
I’ve gathered some resources for you to get started. I hope you can catch on and manage even more as a drama teaching professional.
This website offers huge amounts of drama videos, games, and activities. Check them out and make use of the ones that relate to you
You can find free plays and articles for your drama course content here
Provides essays, lesson plans, etc for teachers
The Smithsonian Institution is providing contents for teachers to teach online with relevant resources
A popular platform to share resources among teachers and students