I love teaching online; I’ve been doing it for 6+ years on topics from taxes to voice care to travel tips! With the right tools & topics, you can expand your business and engage with a whole new audience.
My personal setup is really simple: I use my iPhone XR for pre-recorded videos, and my MacBook Air for live streams.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with simple tech & tools that have helped deliver a better learning experience for my students and I’m excited to share those with you today! Note: some links may be affiliate links (see my policy here) but know I ONLY recommend products I’ve personally used and love.
AUDIO FOR TEACHING ONLINE
While a low-resolution video may be “good enough” for some digital class settings, bad audio is the fastest way to lose your audience. They are there to hear what you have to say, so it’s worth the investment to work with an external mic.
I looooooove this mic. It was a gift when I started to film travel videos and I haven’t been disappointed! One thing that was frustrating was when I upgraded to my iPhone XR, I lost the classic headphone jack so I had to rig up something with a hair clip to keep the mic steady! There seems to be a mount included now with most styles, but if not, you may want to grab a Headphone Jack Converter and get creative.
VIDEO RESOURCES FOR TEACHING ONLINE
As I mentioned earlier, I shoot mostly on my iPhone or MacBook. I want to invest in a good external camera this year, but for now, those two tools suit most of what I do. However, there’s a couple of add-ons that I’ve invested in that make a world of difference.
If you’re filming videos on your phone, know that the standard quality may be okay, but a few apps can definitely help, whether it’s adjusting shadows, or improving audio- a simple tweak can make a world of difference for your audience!
Spark Camera (iOs)
Filmic Pro (iOs + Android)
A simple ring light is a must-have for a home video studio. Most will have different strengths; I actually own two! A standard rig (like this one) and I also picked up a mini “Selfie” ring light, which is actually quite useful, especially if I’m on the road and want to film something quickly.
Yah, I couldn’t believe it either when I bought a selfie stick LOL. But- I find it way easier to film on a secure, adjustable surface. If you want to go fancy, I’ve also got my eye on a classic GorillaPod- this odd creature– like tripod attaches to basically anything so you can always grab a great shot!
USEFUL EDITING TOOLS FOR VIDEOS
If you’re sharing pre-recorded videos, there’s lots of tools available to help edit your videos.
iMovie– Free Software for iOs (Apple) Products
Windows Media Maker– Free Software for Windows Products
Videorama– my fave iPhone app for editing movies. Can easily trim, split a clip, add an image, add text, music, etc. And it gives you different formats and sizes to save files in. Free version, but I think it’s worth it to pay the $6 for the pro version.
HandBrake– this is another awesome open-source free tool that allows you to easily adjust a film’s settings and file size. Useful if you shot something in HD, but it’s too big to stream smoothly or you need to convert file types (from .MOV to .MP4 for example)
SHARING YOUR TEACHING ONLINE
So, you’ve got a great topic and you’re raring to go- how do you get it to your audience?
There are essentially two platforms to deliver a class: Webinar and/or Web Conference.
A webinar is an online hosted “classroom”- most systems will let you present a combo of live & recorded video, screensharing, PowerPoint slides, etc while having students participate via live chat box and/or invitations to speak.
LiveWebinar– Free up to 5 people + Monthly/Annual Pricing
EasyWebinar– 14 Day Free Trial + Monthly/Annual Pricing
WebinarJam– Annual Purchase
A Web Conference is really a two-way video chat. It’s great for connect in small groups or 1-on-1. I would NOT recommend a Web Conference tool for a large group; it’s often too slow to accommodate lots of video/audio and then you have to add managing who speaks when, etc. For a big group, I’d recommend webinar-style.
Whereby– Free up to 4 people, paid monthly plans available
Zoom– Free up to 40 mins; requires plug-in or app installation
BlueJeans– Monthly Paid Plans, 7-day trial
Both Web Conferencing & Webinar systems may have options for pre-registration, mailing list integrations, recording options etc so it’s worthwhile to look at in consideration for how it can actually help GROW your online teaching business.
There are also simple apps like FaceTime, Instagram Live, Google Hangouts/Chat– but know these provide less control and teaching tools so it will ultimately depend on what experience you want to create for your students.
You can also try streaming directly from your Website, but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you have an AMAZING host. I use WPX Hosting, who I love, and I was able to stream to 150 people once but I panicked about my website crashing or the plugin dying the entire time (it didn’t- yay for good web hosting!!). Save your sanity and go with an external tool!