If you want to teach geography online but you do not know what you have to do to get started. Don’t worry, this article will walk you through all the steps necessary to teach geography online.
To teach geography online here are the steps to get started:
- Create a Course Outline
- Course Title
- Course Outline
- Prepare The Necessary Equipment
- Create Training Content
- Host Your Training Content Online
- Learning Management Systems
- Third-Party Platforms
Now you know what are the main steps. Let’s jump in and make an in-depth analysis of each and every step.
Step 1 – Create a Course Outline
It is very important to create an outline before creating your actual course and training content. This outline should include the following aspects:
- Course Title
- Course Outline
- Targeted Audience
To learn more about how to outline your course, I suggest reading the following article:
ARTICLE: How to Create an Online Course (In 3 Simple Steps)
The title if you are selling this course publically online is extremely important. The course name needs to consider search engine optimization (SEO) just the same as article titles have too. This will allow for extra traffic
You should adapt your course title to the level of geography you are planning on teaching (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and the niché you are joining. For example, if your course is European countries and their geography you can name your course ‘The Beginner’s Guide To European Geography’.
For SEO you should consider a course title that is:
- Less than 60 characters – google only shows this many in search results
- Audience Focused – think of the level of your students
- Specific – european geography for grade 12
- Entice the Students – catchy marketing name
- Using SEO keywords – using the google alphabet soup or keyword research methods
To learn more about how to create a catchy course title I recommend reading the following article:
ARTICLE: How to Choose a Catchy Name for Your Course
Personally I find in the course this is the one that always makes you think and creates the most controversy if developing a course in a team. This is the guts of the course and it is at this point you are deciding what is in and out of scope and trying to think of everything you might need for the student in the course.
I typically just do this as bullet points with subheadings and the more time you spend on getting this right the easier it is to create your training course.
Before creating your training content you must decide what your audience is. Who is your course for? And what is the level of geography they currently have?
Your online course may serve different purposes such as:
- Higher Education
- K to 12
After deciding the level you are teaching to then think about the demographics of your audience..
Basic demographics you may wish to consider are::
- Current Knowledge and Education
- Geographic Location
- Reason for Learning
If you are making this training for a school or university that you work at then you won’t need to worry about pricing. If you are selling it publically on the internet either directly to students or through a content provider to schools you will have to think about pricing and should read this section.
If you are selling your training to a content provider then think about the following:
- Your Time
- Course Costs
- Creating Content
- Hosting the Course
- Other Costs (logistics, additional equipment, etc.)
- Target Profit
Typically the cost price of how much it takes to make the training plus your 30% – 40% profit is the normal procedure. If you are licensing out per student you can take the same method but look at how many students are in your market and how many you think you could supply your course too. This will give you an approximate cost for your course.
If you are putting your course on a global training website like Udemy or Skillshare they both have their own pricing models. Udemy you can pick your own pricing but they often discount your course to 80 to 90% for new students and sales. For skillshare you get paid by how many premium members view your training and the hours they view.
These different styles of pricing determine how much content you put in your course and the quality for each type of pricing. Either way to get sales you need to price competitively and have content equal in quality or better than those competitors.
NOTE: Take a look at the competition in your niché. See what the going price is for courses with your competitors and how many hours of training they provide. This will help you understand what customers are comfortable paying for.
To learn more about different pricing models you can use for your online geography course I suggest reading the following article:
ARTICLE:10 eLearning Pricing Models Online Teachers Must Know
Step 2 – Prepare The Necessary Equipment
Before creating your training content you have to make sure you have the right equipment to make and run your training.. Depending on the type of teaching style you are opting for the list with required equipment may vary.
To teach geography online you will need the following tools:
- Laptop or Computer
- Content Creating
- Live Meeting Tools
- Online Resources
There are several pieces of equipment you will make use of when teaching geography online. Make sure you get decent quality hardware so you will encounter fewer issues during the teaching sessions.
Laptop or Computer
This is the most important piece of equipment for your online course. You will use it mainly for creating content and conducting online classes.
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 want to use complex software solutions, you might want to opt for the second option (i5 and 8 gigs of RAM). However, the first variant is just great for basic online teaching activities.
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
If you are using a laptop it probably has an integrated webcam. I strongly advise against using it for online teaching due to its poor quality. A dedicated webcam is a great tool that helps you to create high-quality video training content. Moreover, it ensures a great experience during video conferences with your students.
The most important characteristics of a high-quality camera are:
- Resolution (at least 1920x1080p)
- Frames per second (at least 60 fps)
If you are curious to see what my favorite webcam is, you should visit the Recommended Tools page.
A high-quality microphone is very important when teaching online. It serves two main purposes: creating content and taking part in live calls. To enjoy the best experience during the two activities I suggest buying a dedicated microphone.
The one that is integrated into your laptop suffers from poor recording quality and will diminish your audio content quality. There are several key features of a microphone such as:
- Noise-canceling feature
- Adaptive sensitivity
- Volume equalizer
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 my favorite dedicated microphone.
Software is just as important as the equipment. You should carefully choose the applications you are planning on using when teaching geography online. I have divided online teaching software into three different categories so that it will be easier to point things out.
Creating your training content is one of the most important parts of online teaching. There are several different content types that you can use in your online geography course, such as:
Some content formats are more engaging compared to others. You should use different types of materials to avoid making your students feeling bored.
There are heaps on applications you can use to create high-quality training content. Below you will find a list of tools designed for each content type.
While the least engaging it is the easiest to update and so still widely used in most courses. As well as using the text editors below most courses text is made using your Learning Management System (LMS) text editor.
The most popular text editing applications are:
- Google Docs (free, online, multi-user)
- EditPad Lite (free, Windows XP and above)
- Open Office (free, compatible with different operating systems)
TIP: If you are wanting to create your text content in a multi-user environment that is easy to copy and paste into your LMS then use Google Docs. Your team can work on the same content at the same time and then copy it to your LMS easily.
The most commonly used software for editing graphics is:
- GIMP (free)
- Adobe Photoshop (paid)
- Paint.NET (free)
The best audio recording and editing application is Audacity. It can be used for free and includes heaps of powerful features.
For recording and editing video content, I recommend the following software:
To learn more about the training content you can use in your online course, I recommend reading the following article:
ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types
Live Meeting Tools
To meet your students in a live video conference you can use heaps of online tools. Some require a paid subscription, while for most of them you only need to register with a valid email address.
The best tools you can use to take part in video calls with your students are:
- Skype (offline, require sign-in)
- Google Meet (online, require sign-in)
- Zoom (online, require sign-in)
- GoToMeeting (online, require sign-in)
If you are not yet decided whether you want to include live meetings in your online course, I suggest reading this article:
ARTICLE: Teaching Live Online: The Pros and Cons
There are plenty of platforms that provide online resources designed for geography teachers. The resources can come in a wide variety of formats: audio, video, text, or even interactive.
Below you can find a list containing some of the most popular geography resources platforms and their purposes.
- Interactive Lessons
Step 3 – Create Training Content
After preparing all the tools you need you should create the training content that will support your students learning. When teaching geography online you should take advantage of images, graphs, videos, and interactive content.
Use the software mentioned in the previous section to create amazing content for your students. As I have said before, make sure you adapt the training content to your audience.
If your students are young (K-8) you might want to simplify the content and more visual. If you are working with high school students you can assume certain knowledge as you already know. If you are selling courses online you can not assume any previous knowledge and maybe an entry quiz is a good option.
Try to use the right content type that works for the data you are presenting and is understood by your audience. For example, if you are teaching them about the differences between climates, you might want to put their characteristics side by side in a table. This way it will be easier for your students to understand how one climate compares to another.
You can pack your content into SCORM packages. Essentially SCORM packages are just a form of zip file that is in a special format to make your content easy to transport between hosting platforms. This means if you are multiple courses or subjects each one can be saved as a single file and imported back in the same way.
Say you are teaching the geography of Europe, you can bundle your lessons into several packages such as Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Central Europe, and so on.
To learn more about what SCORM packages are, I suggest checking out their website:
Step 4 – Host Your Training Content Online
When you are done creating the training content for your course, it’s time to publish it. There are two main options you have when it comes to creating an online course:
- Learning Management Systems
- Google Classroom
- Third-Party Platforms
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take an in-depth look and find out which one is the best for you.
Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems (commonly referred to as LMS) are online hosting solutions that allow educators to run their online courses. These platforms link the students with their online teachers and the training content. A LMS is the primary method that teachers and students interact and that allow teachers to deliver and assess the work of their students as well as many other things.
The common features of an LMS are:
- Storage for training content
- Communication (students – teachers)
- Assessment and Grading
- Payment handling
- Forums and Chat Rooms
- And more.
Additionally, there are heaps of other functions that can be added using plugins. Let’s see which are the most popular learning management systems and what features each of them has.
To learn more about learning management systems, I recommend reading the following article:
ARTICLE: What are the features of a Learning Management System?
Google Classroom is a learning management system that is available worldwide. It 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.
Among the features that Google Classroom offers, the most noteworthy are:
- Cloud storage (through Google Drive)
- Web conferences (using Google Meet)
- Assessment & Quizzes (using Google Forms)
- Grading methods
- And more.
If Google Classroom is suitable for your online geography course but you are not familiar with its interface and features, I suggest taking a look at the following articles:
ARTICLE: How to Use Google Classroom as a Teacher
ARTICLE: How to Create an Online Course with Google Classroom
ARTICLE: How to Invite Parents to Google Classroom
ARTICLE: How to Do a Live Video With Google Classroom
You can see the complete list of articles that are related to Google Classroom here:
ARTICLES: Google Classroom Articles
Moodle is another well-known learning management system. 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.
If you have your own web hosting provider you do not have to worry about paying for Moodle. However, if you do not have a custom domain you will have to pay for the cloud-hosted version of Moodle.
The complete list of features Moodle provides can be found here. If you notice Moodle lacks one certain feature that you may need you can always take a look at the plugins database. All the plugins are available for free as well.
For example, one useful tool that can be added using an additional plugin is the plagiarism detector. This tool has multiple uses, especially when grading your students’ submissions. To learn more about how to detect plagiarized content on Moodle, I suggest reading the following article:
ARTICLE: Does Moodle Check for Plagiarism?
To learn more about how to use Moodle for your online geography course, you can take a look at the following articles: Moodle Articles
There are heaps of platforms that allow teachers to host their online courses. This type of hosting offers one major advantage, increased exposure. Your course can be accessed by thousands of students that are already registered on the website.
If you choose to host your geography course using a third-party platform, take into account that you may not be able to set your desired price. This may affect your profit but will reduce the amount of money you have to spend on marketing.
The most popular training platforms are:
Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you carefully analyze their Terms and Conditions before signing up for an online course hosted on a certain third-party platform.