How To Teach Performing Arts Online


Group of artists making a theater scene

Are you an existing performing arts teacher and want to move your training online but don’t know what technology to use or how to do it?  In this article, I will save you time and give you the tips and tricks you need to succeed from someone who has taught online for many years.

To teach Performing Arts online you will normally use a Learning Management System to store your course eLearning, content. Your eLearning content will also need a lot of visual graphics and video content.  A Youtube channel and live classes using Web Conference software tools like Zoom or WebEx.  

Here’s what we will cover in this article:

  • Outline Your Course
    • Course Title
    • Topic / Niche
    • Target Audience
    • Pricing Model
    • Marketing
  • Create The Training Content
    • Hardware
    • Software
  • Host Your Course Online
    • Learning Management System
    • Third-Party Teaching Platform
    • Custom Website
  • Live Classes
  • Student Progress

Now that you understand what you need to do to take your performing arts teaching online let’s dig into each topic and see exactly how you can do that.

Outline Your Course

Generally, every performing arts course follows a syllabus or a curriculum. If you outline your course depending on your curriculum, managing, and conducting your performing arts classes will be more efficient, and easy.

There are four key factors to keep in mind before outlining a course:

  1. Course Title
  2. Topics
  3. Target Audience
  4. Pricing Model

Course Title

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 because 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:

  1. Less than 60 characters – google only shows this many in search results
  2. Audience Focused – think of the level of your students
  3. Specific – narrow down the niche
  4. Entice the Students – catchy marketing name
  5. Using SEO keywords – using the google alphabet soup or keyword research methods
  6. 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

Topics

Just like with your offline content your online content has the same components. The difference is they are digital and there are many more ways to increase engagement.

Elements to include in your topics:

  • Core content
  • Assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Questions
  • Discussions

As per a normal curriculum, you will organize your course into similar topics like:

  • Digital Arts
  • Video
  • Multimedia
  • Multimedia Design
  • Graphic Information Design
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Drawing
  • Graphic Information Design
  • Music’s of the World
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Western Art

Target Audience

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 

Here are some things to consider:

  • Age
  • Basic Knowledge (K-4)
  • Entry-Level Biology (4-9)
  • Mid-Level Biology (High School Students)
  • Advanced Biology (Vocational and University)
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • English language competencies
  • Prerequisites (educational background)
  • Learning style
  • Language, Literacy, and Numeracy (LLN) skills
  • Job Role

Moreover, you can narrow down the reason why you are creating this performing arts course:

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

Once you have a profile of the learner then you can continue with pricing and content creation.

Pricing Model

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 a 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 

Marketing

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.

Create The Training Content

If you decide to let your students do some self-learning you will need to change your content into something you can use online.  This typically means something you can include in your eLearning.  There are heaps of digital content types you can use online like text, graphics, videos, audio, and much more.

For more information about the content types you can use online check out this article:

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Hardware

Performing arts 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.

Software

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.

Text

The most popular tools you can use to create and edit text are:

To create a training manual in print or digital format you can use:

Graphics

If you want to capture screenshots to use as training content you can take advantage of:

Here are the graphics editing applications:

Audio

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

Video

To edit video recordings you can use:

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.

Custom Website

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:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/search/lms/

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:

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 and maybe have many courses.

There is however the requirement to set up your website yourself 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.  They will, however, depending on the website 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:

Live Classes

Performing arts courses offline take a huge amount of time in classes. Often some topics need to be discussed face to face. How do you simulate that classroom environment online?  The best way to do this online is with video conferencing as part of a web conference.  While the process may be a little longer you can get a similar result if you get creative.

The most popular platforms available right now are

They all provide free and paid options with more or fewer features. Use any one of them which is convenient for you and your students.  Although they might not be the same as a regular classroom you can still simulate a class like environment. 

Tips for getting the best out of online classes are:

  • Create engaging content
  • Interact with students more
  • Keep the classes short
  • Use online whiteboards

Performing arts classes might need you to create groups for a topic. You can group participants in Zoom video calls to simulate that environment. Students can discuss among themselves in those subgroups.

For more information about how to teach live online check out this article:

ARTICLE: How To Teach LIVE Online

Useful Resources

You may have some of these resources already and some may be new to you, but you can never have too many resources to help inspire you.

Kennedy Center Education

A common tool used by teachers across the country to exchange ideas and get digital resources.  They have how to’s, articles and lesson plans for your use.

LINK: Kennedy Center Education Digital Resources 

Arts For Learning

Lesson plans for K-12 students and other resources for young adults.

LINK: Lesson Plans and Resources 

 National Art Education Association

This is the official national association for the arts with heaps of remote learning and online digital resources that you can use for K-12 and adult learning.

LINK: National Art Resources and Tools

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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