Trying Something New: Making Online Courses
The first one is "Introduction to Pitch and Intonation"
I’ve been working on making an online lesson called “Introduction to Pitch and Intonation” for probably a couple of years now. I got it started as a way to adapt my written documents that I use for teaching and coaching into a format that also includes audio and video. My original thought was to use this in combination with my coaching so my clients could have something they could interact with and get reminders anytime they wanted to about what we practiced together. It’s basically everything I demonstrate when working with people in real time, but in a recorded format.
Two years ago, I started an account on Thinkific and there was a steep learning curve that took so much time every time I used it that I’d move it down on my to-do list until it eventually got pushed off of it. That was my problem though, I wasn’t using it often enough in short durations until it became more familiar and easier for me each time. This is the advice I give to people about improving speech (practice frequently in short durations), but I wasn’t doing it in this part of my work. In the past couple of weeks I’ve made more progress than I have in the past couple of years because of doing a little bit at a time every day.
Now, I have created three versions of this lesson, one to use with my coaching clients, one to use with a small group of people who want to enroll in this course and work with me for one month, and one to make available to anyone who wants to take the lesson online on their own at their own pace. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so now that it’s almost ready, it feels intimidating to put it out there to share with the world.
I’ve had that feeling many times though and kept going so I’m hoping that just like those other times this will get easier the more often I do it. It was scary to make videos after each Meetup and post them on YouTube, but when I thought the benefit to the people that attended the Meetup would be more important than my insecurities about being “out there” I did it anyway. Now, I do it three times a week and I don’t think anything about it. When I decided to commit to writing a blog/newsletter on a regular basis, that was nerve-racking to send messages into the void and not know where they’d go. Now, I enjoy doing it and even though I know I could improve a lot, I feel better about experimenting to find out what works best.
In August, I am going to do a test of this course with my private coaching clients and a group of four volunteers who will help me smooth out the process. Then, I’ll feel much more confident to send it “out there” for everyone to try. Like everything else, I hope this makes the next online lesson I do easier to create and less intimidating to share. I think my next one will be about word stress, so I’m already thinking ahead.
I created a “coming soon” page for the online course for independent study that outlines the lessons and has a form for getting updates about the status of the course being made available:
And a “coming soon” page for the online group course:
I’m excited to get this far and I look forward to letting you know how it goes. My goal has always been to offer different levels of commitment and involvement for people who want to improve their English speaking skills, from free Meetups with no obligation, to individual sessions, to a set of lessons. I see adding online and group options as more ways people can fit practicing intonation into their busy schedules.