- Create advance level classes off of classes you already have… If you have basic classes that are full, try offering a intermediate or level II offering. Business, marketing, computer, art, yoga…it doesn’t matter. Any class can have a next level. The beginning level class should be really full as you will probably only get 2/3rd’s of the class to take the next level. I would also avoid using the term “advance” as it tends to scare people off.
- Create more classes around popular subjects… If you have certain class subjects that are really popular, keep adding classes related to that topic. For example: There are dozens of types of painting and watercolor classes you can add if your painting classes are doing well.
- Very Short 1-topic classes… Add short “skillz” classes when you don’t have enough subject matter for a long class. A short 1.5 hour cheap class covering 1 topic can fill a need and a hole in your lineup. For some topics, like iPhones/iPads, short “skillz” classes are a great way to deliver lessons as people can pick and choose what they want to learn. IE: Using Mail Merge in Word, Mapping & Navigation with Your iPhone, Dropbox basics, Music on the Run.
- Class based on new technology / new software… This field is always ripe for creating new classes. One twist is to not create classes on software, but, classes that solve business or personal problems based on using specific software the customer might not know about. IE: Everything You Need to Know About Your Tablet, Managing Your Diet with Your Tablet or Smartphone, Take Control of Your Workflow with EverNote.
- New Trends… Trends and Fads can be taken advantage of in class creation if your fast enough to jump. A few years ago in Washington State, high-school kids got into knitting beanies for snowboarding…boom! We had a year or so of classes on knitting where they made one in class! Got young people in the class as well. Started a Ukulele program because of the same thing. Yep, Yukes became popular again.
- Listen and Encourage Your Instructors… They are a lot closer to the actual student then you are. Encourage them to create classes and listen to their ideas. I’m a lot easier on new ideas from existing teachers as I don’t have the time into finding another instructor. If you have the space, run the class…you might get lucky.
(By Greg Marshall) Massive Open Online Classes, or MOOC’s are causing quite a stir in the educational world. Classes taught in this format can be massive…imagine 10,000 students. Many universities exploring MOOC’s are giving the classes away for free. For many of us, the “free” part is just one of many questions swirling around the MOOC concept. For those of us at smaller Universities, Community Colleges, and non-credit programs, Trying to categorize where on the threat scale or business plan these new entities fall is a pressing matter.
There are three key issues; Can the quality of education be maintained at that size, how does an institution make revenue off of massive free classes and the most fundamental question is … Why? The PRO-MOOC people feel that technology allows us to scale already large classes to that size. Companies like Corsera are helping with the automation needed to make these classes happen. They argue that with video tools, discussion sites, automated testing, a quality experience can be had. The revenue would come from selling the add-ons… Transcripts, completion certificates, articulation into the “normal” school curriculum and other new ways of funding.
What I haven’t heard is much discussion on the why? You know the old say “just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.”
Education more than ever is stuck in that split personality situation of worry about the quality of education and at the same time the business of education. Topics that are like oil and water most of the time. What started as a great educational experiment, has exploded onto the scene as the great new thing, without much discussion about whether it is good for education.
Finally, we must Acknowledge the existence of MOOC’s, decide if that’s a tool we can use or not, and continue to move forward with the goals of our programs. Something new and shiny is always just around the corner to cause us grief in the world of the Internet.
Join us on February 20th in our FREE webinar co-hosted with Clemson University on MOOC’s and the Future of Online Education. This session is being led by Dr. David Staley, Associate Profeessor at Ohio State University and will take a look at many of these issues surrounding MOOC’s. Click here to register.
(Greg Marshall, email@example.com) Matthew, our intrepid Student Manager programmer, has added a great new feature to Student Manager. You can now map addresses to Microsoft Bing maps to help visualize customer information.
Here’s some information straight from Matthew:
“First, if you do not have virtualearth.htm and json.fll in your manager folder, you will need to obtain mapping.zip from the Tools section of our FTP site and unzip it to get those files. Please visit your tech if you need the username and password and instructions on getting to the FTP.
Second, you need to pick a report any report. The only requirement is that the report must have the address fields you wish to map. This is not limited to students. You can map firms, instructors, and course locations. If the report has more than one type of address, it will ask you which one to map.
Third, you must modify the report to add one field. That field is: justafter([do mapping])
Fourth, when you get to the map (after the report runs), you need to hit the Go button. It’s one of those deals where I can load the data and load the map, but I couldn’t load them both at the same time. So, the button merges the two pieces together.
That’s it! Of course, repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 as needed if you have more than one report you want to map. Otherwise, just run the report as needed with different queries. Might I suggest that you run this out of Mailing Labels to really take advantage of the query aspect of looking at your markets.
Now, I must disclose a few downsides to this. If you have hundreds of people to map, you will need to grab a Snickers bar during your wait. Also, if your IT has restrictions on your Internet Explorer, chances are this will not run properly. Finally, if you have multiple people at the same address, a pushpin will only get created on that address once. So, if you are looking for numbers of people and you do have several people in a household that take your courses, you will be slightly off looking at the map. Oh, and there is just no way to map a P.O. Box, so those will be filtered out of your display as well.”
This ability is very powerful. Use it to visualize data that can be hard to see in data form. This includes seeing which neighborhoods are producing the most registrations. Why? Knowing where your registrations come from allows you to adjust your marketing away from areas you don’t get customers into areas where your customers are coming from. You can also map data about a particular class. By seeing where your students for a particular class are coming from (or type of class) you can adjust where that class is being held at to move it closer to your audience…potentially increasing enrollments.
Watch our YouTube video that explains in more detail: Mapping Data in Student Manager
November is the busy month for conferences and I’m just dragging my body back into the office after 3 conferences and a trip home for Thanksgiving. I am not sure how people who staff booths and do public speaking full-time manage it! Phew…
Anyway, I talk a lot at conferences about how social media can help your program and how you can reach existing and potential customers with just a few hours of work per week. Time is the easy part. It’s coming up with new content every couple days to talk about. You have to be able to come up with new stories and information constantly. That’s the hard part. Worse, only 1 out of every 4 stories should be advertising your program. All of your content should be information that has value to your current and potential customers.
To help you through the content “wall”, I have created the list of 50 things to write about below. This list is aimed at Community Education and Continuing Education programs. This list should give you plenty of ideas for all your content needs.
Not too long ago if you needed to know how to fix a leaky pipe, or whip up an egg custard, or check out a vacation spot, you thumbed through your brain to find a friend who knew, or knew someone who knew something, about the topic. Maybe you walked over to see your neighbor Fred, or you called Martha on the phone and initiated the inquiry process. Your list of resources represented what is now referred to as transactive memory. It wasn’t that you knew how to fix the pipe, it was that you knew who would know how to fix the plumbing.
People who have worked together for any length of time, couples, siblings, long-time friends will all appreciate the process. You recall a portion of information, your spouse, co-worker, etc. remembers the rest.
Many people are now transactualizing, or outsourcing, their memory to search engines like Google and Bing. This has generated some thought that we should educate our students more on locating, and verifying information accuracy, rather than memorizing facts. After all, is what you’ve memorized truly intelligence? Or, is the ability to research information, form creative ideas, and act on this new knowledge more valuable? And, if this is true, shouldn’t everyone have more than just basic research skills?
It’s not all bad. Research shows that outsourcing our memory actually encourages cognitive, or creative, thought. But you have to wonder, how is Google going to help me find my keys?