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How do you do an online course?

How do you do an online course?

The wish

I have been making seminars, illustrations, graphic recordings and explanatory videos for over 10 years. I still love my work and my clients with the same enthusiasm as on the first day. Maybe even a little more to be honest. I know that my job is not a matter of course and every time I can hardly believe what inspiring, nice, smart and friendly people I get to work with and what exciting projects we realize together. I am deeply grateful for each and every one of them.

And yet. Something has been burning under my nails for some time. I have bumblebees in my bottom and my thoughts are flirting with a new flame. I want to try something new. Something I can put all my existing skills into. Something that challenges me in all areas. Something that requires me to learn new things and try out unfamiliar things. And I know what that something is: my own online video courses. Plural.

The beginning

Last summer, I started to bring this dream a little closer to reality. I started watching tutorials on how to set up a professional video setup. And then I started to actually build this video studio. Many wrongly connected cables, a short circuit on the floor that we don't want to talk about and a small accident with a ladder (after two months I was able to walk again) later the studio was ready. And I started. Not by recording videos, but by thinking about what I should do with it now.

Video Studio in the construction phase

The plan

It wasn't so much the lack as the abundance of ideas that gave me a headache. There was so much I wanted to research and talk about. So much that seemed to have potential. In the end, I chose the topic I'm most familiar with and have been teaching for a decade: designing flipcharts. I thought starting with something I knew well was a good idea, as this way I wouldn't have to struggle so much with the content and could focus on all the topics, which are new and therefore more than challenging enough. So topic decided, start of the concept phase. How can I pour all the knowledge I've gathered over such a long time into an online course that is as compact, entertaining and appealing as possible? Lots of colorful post-its, a now somewhat worn-out yellow notebook and long conversations with friends, colleagues, customers and the best of all partners helped me to put together my many thoughts, ideas and islands of knowledge into a course concept.

My well-loved yellow notebook

Now the filming could begin. Easy. Totally. I can do that. Fixed. Can't be that difficult. Just get started. Lohooosss. Begin.

The implementation

I realized that there is not only the fear of the white page but also the fear of the black camera. After dreaming about turning my dream into reality for so long, the actual realization suddenly seemed infinitely frightening. Why? I think because I knew that with the attempt came the final answer to whether my dream would run or fall apart. Because it's safe to bounce ideas back and forth in your head, but it's completely different to realize them and present them to the world with sore knees and trembling hands. Because there are a lot of people out there who seem to be able to do everything perfectly and with total self-confidence. And because I know for myself that everything is cooked with water and homemade...

So for a while, the video studio stood quite lonely and abandoned, looking at me reproachfully. Then I remembered what it was like when I started drawing full-time. Back then, I was still very dissatisfied with my drawing skills and the critics in my head ("Real artists went to art school. You didn't even apply there.") were very loud. And I realized there is something that helps to deal with them: just let them talk and do it. So that's what I did with my video set-up. So the little inner fear monsters sat in the corner and watched me record video after video and take after take. I told myself it was just for testing. So no stress. Not seriously. We're just going to try it out. And so I tried for hours and days. Until I suddenly realized: I have a course :)

Thumbnail of the first video in the online course

At some point, the little monsters were bored of watching me spin and they scampered off to the playground. Or under the bed of a child from the neighborhood - I don't really know. But I hope the former. And me, I could hardly believe that I was right in the middle of it. Right in the middle of implementing my online course.

The finishing touches

This was followed by a few minor ups (overwhelmingly positive and super helpful feedback from the test users) and downs (the impossibility of agreeing with myself on what the design of the handouts should look like, and the resulting sprawling variants, until I found one that I was happy with). But I felt that my course train was moving full speed ahead out of my head and into the real world.

Building the online platform was a bit like putting together a Lego castle. Except instead of Lego bricks, it was made up of drop-down menus, video embed codes, QR codes, .pdf downloads and text blocks. All that was left was the landing page (a website, where it says what's inside and why it's great) and poof. There was a course. And the time had come to present it to the world.

The starting signal

So dear world, listen up:

There's a new online course. It's called Designing Flipcharts and I'd be delighted if you took a look at it.

Click here for the course

Let me know what you think. I appreciate any feedback. Any feedback (big or small - bring it on!). Every participant (and every recommendation). Everything helps:

  • Feedback on what I can improve, add or rearrange
  • Recommendation of the course to people who might find the topic exciting
  • Tips and tricks on how to get such a course (because this is the last phase, which is now beginning) as well as possible to those people who can benefit from it

Because online course building has only just begun...

Online course Designing flipcharts Summary