Teach Online Independently, Affordably

6 Steps to Hold Classes Online, Professionally

The April 9 issue of Forbes Magazine predicted careers will change as a result of Covid-19. Information Technology Companies are now offering their products at a discount, competing for customers because of the sheer volume of startups. What used to take a city block in Real Estate volume is being accomplished from home. Now you can teach online independently, affordably.

My story began in 2007 as a videographer, documenting our school’s information session at Goldman Sachs in New York. What? The alumni worked eighty plus hour weeks! That wasn’t for me so I started teaching English in an Asian country.

After three years our University’s Moodle system crashed. I used my winter vacation and set out to create my own teacher to student interactive platform. I was on my own and made so many mistakes. I want to share what I've learned here so that others can make a smooth transition as an independent teacher or tutor professional with little investment—and it’s not expensive!

Besides a good running computer and fast connection, you should have the following gear: 

  1. A Hosting service 
  2. Domain Name 
  3. Content Management System (CMS)
  4. User Interface / User Experience Enhancement
  5. Video Editing Software 
  6. Home Recording Studio 

With whom do I speak? I’m talking to the teacher with no web development experience, a person with a Foursquare or Wix static website who wants a domain transfer to a self-hosting site or a person with a WordPress site who wants more functionality. 

The above gear represents an investment of around 4-$800. As an employee for an online tutoring service, you could be paying that amount each month for marketing and administration. You have the opportunity to offset a high expense with a small investment by running your own professional service. That opportunity is the subject for another article. For now, let’s get started with a website host.

In my search for a Hosting service I immediately remembered Go Daddy from the Super Bowl commercials. That hosting service didn’t work for me in Asia and neither did Host Gator. Site Ground; however, had an Asian hub and I’ve been happy ever since.

A website host is where you get a domain name like Speak Native. The host also has a control panel or cpanel with a scrolling page of unfamiliar tools. It’s within the cpanel that you create basic elements like a database, a user, subdomain and email.

There are two ways to create a domain name. Companies use their multi-million-dollar brand name as their domain. But for most of us, we just type a name in to see if the domain is available. If you’re not worried about SEO or generating free traffic to your site, this method will be fine. The second way is to do research with Google Keyword Planner.

Next I needed a Content Management System. These are free applications on your cpanel like WordPress, Joomla, Magento and Drupal to name a few. Although WordPress is very popular, in 2013 I was looking beyond what WordPress had to offer. Since then, Joomla and WordPress have proved to be like the DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras respectively because WordPress has added more features in the last few years. Drupal is like the DSLR with a 1000X telescoping lens, so Joomla suited me just fine.

Found at extensions.joomla.com, extensions (custom code) are what make Joomla so flexible and thereby popular as a content platform. Extensions are like the mom-and-pop shops in digital space but there is a transformation taking place. Like the Walmart stores overtaking mom-and-pops, this transformation includes User Interface / User Experience (UI/UX). SP Pagebuilder from Joomshaper is one of the most exciting UI/UX enhancements and it makes website development fun.

UI/UX is how websites will be developed moving forward, it's designed to give users an experience. Many of the common extensions found on Joomla’s extension site are represented as addons with SP Pagebuilder, so you may offset the cost of several paid extensions with Joomshaper.

Soon, I’ll be documenting the installment of UI/UX for a friend’s website and I’ll be sharing the step by step results in a future article. Soon you'll be able to teach online independently and affordably. Meanwhile, see what gear is needed for starting an online teaching website at www.ovavoa.com/portfolio.