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This guide covers the business, educational, and technical aspects of turning your book into an online course using VirversitY online course software. For a much more detailed how to, enroll in the course, “How to Create a Course Using VirversitY

Guide contents

This guide is divided in the following sections:

  • Introduction
    • Guide contents
    • Can you really do this yourself?
    • What is an online course?
    • Will your book work as an online course? (for
    • Why would people want to take your course?
    • The course architect
    • New: Passive Microlearning Course Option
  • Planning Your Course
    • How is the course going to differ from your book? (for
    • Self-evaluated vs. Instructor-evaluated options
    • Free vs. paid courses
    • How much to charge?
    • Using your resources and talents
    • The instructors
    • Graphic design
    • Contact information
    • Marketing information
    • Required / suggested texts
    • Separating your content into "lessons"
  • Getting Familiar with the Online Course Platform
    • Different access, different features and options
    • The top menu
    • Mobile version
  • Set Up Course
    • Three simple steps
  • Creating the Lessons
    • Three simple steps
  • Miscellaneous Course Administration
    • Submitting your course for approval
    • Making changes to your course once it is live
    • Viewing/searching students
    • Contacting students
    • E-mailing course announcements
    • Using the questions and answers tool
    • Managing testimonials
    • Viewing course stats
    • Viewing payment reports

Can you really do this yourself?

Creating an online course with the VirversitY course software takes the same skillset as creating a very basic website using any of the popular webhosting provider's online creation software. Once you become familiar with it, it is easy. Here is what you need:

  • A fairly recent desktop computer or laptop (updated within the last 10 years or so)
  • A good Internet connection (especially is using videos)
  • An updated browser that is NOT Internet Explorer
  • Basic knowledge of using webforms (filling out data, submit, etc.)
  • A good understanding of the English language
  • The ability to record sound from your computer, or existing sound files to upload

The more skills you have, the better. If you have the following, you will be very good at creating courses:

  • Strong graphic design skills (for presentation slides, overall course look, and other content)
  • A good voice (for recording audio and video)
  • Video production capabilities (users generally prefer video to slides)
  • Good teaching skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • A good sense of humor (humor makes everything better!)

What is an online course?

An online course is a combination of Internet-based software and content organized in such a way to facilitate learning. There are some really weak "courses" out there which are essentially word documents that "students" download. Then, there are advanced systems such as ours created using modern pedagogical standards for adult learning. We provide the delivery system for your content. Together, we comprise the online course.

Will your book work as an online course?

(For Instructors) As a general rule-of-thumb, "how to" books and most non-fiction books will work very well as an online course. Non-fiction books such as biographies will not work unless they are of historical figures that people would want to learn all about. For example, nobody wants to take a course of "Bill Smith from Ohio," but they might if the course was "Abe Lincoln: From Lawyer to President." Fictional books generally don't make good courses unless the topic has a strong following, and some aspect of the book can be adapted into a course. One of the greatest examples is taking "Star Trek" (book or movie, it is a work of fiction) and creating a course "Learn Klingon in 21 days." The greater the following the book has, the more leeway you will have in being creative with some ways to turn your book into a course. We will discuss this more in the next section.

Why would people want to take your course?

There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of online courses, and many of them are free. So you need to ask yourself why someone would want to take your course? Keep this question in the back of your head because it will be helpful when you start creating the content for the course, choosing the options, and writing the marketing information.

The course architect

This is a unique role that is usually filled by the instructor—it is the person who designs and creates the course. However, it can be a third party. Course architects could work "on spec," that is, design your course for an agreed upon share in the enrollment fees. Our system is set up to accommodate this arrangement. Once the architect does his or her job, he or she turns over the metaphorical keys to the instructor, who just works with the students.

Passive Microlearning Course Option

Imagine learning an entire college course in just minutes a day by e-mail. This is the passive microlearning course option. "Passive" refers to the fact that the student is not required to interact with the course software, the instructor, or other students. Like reading a book, in a passive course the student simply ingests the content on his or her own. The lesson content is sent directly to the user via e-mail, and is limited to HTML e-mail and a single (optional) video. The e-mail links to the course page where the students can watch the video and discuss the lesson in the discussion area (again, this discussion is optional for the student). The "microlearning" refers to the amount of information that is sent each day. It is suggested that no more than a few minutes of reading for each lesson. This is a very easy option for the instructor when it comes to course creation, and easy for the student to make the commitment to take the course. On the downside, it is not interactive—and this is where many people find the most value in online courses. With that in mind, some courses work best as passive microlearning courses.


Registered User Comments

Ruthven J. Roy, DMin
Friday, May 05, 2017 - 11:01:37 PM
Very informative material. This may just be the vehicle I have been searching for to facilitate what I am currently doing as a pastor--i.e. seminars/workshops on discipleship and spiritual development. Have not got much time to spare, but I would really like to try my hand at this--with your help of course. I am just going to jump right in and see where this here vehicle will take me. Thanks in advance for this successful adventure.

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