For the first time, I taught my Fundamentals of Content Strategy course online. To date, it’s been a live course where we meet once per week in a traditional classroom. This term, it was delivered as a series of videos, assignments, and discussions via a platform called Canvas.
Here are my top-level impressions of teaching online, having been through the complete process now:
- It was an enormous amount of work to convert the course from live to online. I was already used to Canvas, since I relied on it a lot for my live class. But I had to shoot nearly 40 video lectures and design everything to fit the new format. It took about 10-12 weeks to complete the conversion. Emerson was very supportive, with training and back-end tech assistance.
- It was still a lot of work through the term. Weekly discussions become the primary way we communicate, and it’s a challenge to keep up with all of it – for the instructor and the students. While the students are (mostly) used to it, the format tends to “flatten” conversations and it’s often tough to really get into the nuances of a topic.
- I missed many of the in-person aspects of teaching. Feeling the energy of the room. Getting real-time feedback. Being able to use my personality to get them fired up, ask prompt questions, or to guide them to a realization. These things are still possible in an online setting – it just feels like it’s all a bit muted.
- Despite all the limitations, I think that I enjoyed teaching online more than teaching live. There’s one predominant reason for this: It’s asynchronous. It turns out that I really value the freedom of controlling my own schedule. Teaching online fits right into this need. If there’s anything that surprised me this term, it was this.
Emerson College students are generally excellent. They are creative and supportive of one another. It makes for a really good environment, no matter where and how the course is conducted. Many of them come in to my course with experience building websites, blogging, etc. – but what they learn in my course is how to pull everything together into a coordinated strategy.
They always find this to be more challenging than they anticipate – that remained consistent this term as well. Here’s a list of everyone’s “live projects” if you interested in seeing their work. If you only view one, I’d highlight Brooke. Her writing is excellent, and I expect to see her as a columnist in a major outlet or on the bestseller list someday.
Projects from Fundamentals of Content Strategy (PB-621-0), Spring 2019:
- Brooke Knisley: Just Following Up: Podcast for aspiring writers
- Brynne Crawley / Value Vegetarian: How to cook for aspiring vegetarians
- Michael Berman: Contemplate: Business writing to increase your employability
- Ross Concillo / William O. Douglas Film Project: History informs current issues
- Luna Tang / Learning Metadata for Publishing: Podcast about metadata
- Ainslie Campbell / The Kitchen Sink: Cooking blog for self-sufficient millennials
- Kelly Gauthier / Barre with Kelly: Video series for at-home fitness
- Evelynn Jimenez / Love Gaia: Recycling and renewable resources
- Nora Chan: Unraveled: How to crochet for beginners
- Katy O’Hara / Better Bakes: Intermediate-level baking blog
- Maya Ballard / BiblioFiles: Rare book collecting as a hobby
What’s it like to take a class with me? You can try it on if you like:
Content Strategy Basics (Free Online Course)
To get an top-level overview of content strategy, I invite you to jump right in. Learn how to connect with an audience, build trust, and ultimately, earn paying customers. The course content is open to the public.
How to Start a Business (Free Online Course)
Here’s a case example of how I started my own company, Control Mouse Media, LLC. In 8 video lessons, we go from Day 1 through all the major milestones of success and failure in the first 18 months or so. Register here:
Building Your Author Platform: Creating a Pathway to Purchase
No one likes to be self-promotional – and the marketing slogcan feel like a set of empty activities with minimal effect. Here we get into the nuances of using your website, blog, social, and email to find new readers and guide them down a pathway to purchase.
Content Marketing for Creatives
This comprehensive online course for writers and other artists is based on my course at Emerson College. There are 42 video modules, with dozens of worksheets, templates, and guided assignments. Sample the intro lesson.
More Online Courses
Here’s the complete list of current and upcoming courses I offer.
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