The Ultimate Songwriting Jumpstart, with Jacques Hopkins on The Online Course Guy.
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The Ultimate Songwriting Jumpstart, my online songwriting course
Zoom, Video Conferencing Software
Camtasia, screen capture and video editing software. Free trial, $249 USD to purchase for Windows or Mac.
Choose a broad topic, I chose “songwriting”
Contact people that have knowledge of, or an expertise your subject.
I spoke with professional songwriters, amateur songwriters, and musicians & singers that might be interested in songwriting.
The initial contact was an invitation to discuss the subject… for me it was “How do you write songs?” and a request to Skype or phone chat for 20ish minutes (schedule extra time for yourself in case the discussion goes longer).
With professionals, ask: how did you learn songwriting, what do you find the most difficult part, what would you tell your 10 year younger self?
With those just starting out, I asked: what are you struggling with, what have you tried to fix it, what do you need help with?
Tailor your questions to your audience and your subject…
I created an outline of the course for 6 modules and picked a launch date.
Then I contacted everyone I had spoken to that gave me permission to follow up with them (almost everyone!) and explained the Ultimate Songwriting Jumpstart and how I planned to teach it.
Then I spoke with anyone I could think of that might be interested or know someone who would benefit from the course.
With a pilot course, students help create the course by offering feedback as they move through the course. They receive more personal attention than if they were working with a fully developed online course.
I offered them a discount in price (compared to the future full course) and a free upgrade to the full course when it was completed.
Students watched me through Zoom an online video conferencing software. I paid <$20 a month for a plan upgrade that gave me enough storage to hold recordings of the entire course on the Zoom platform.
I created a password protected web page for students to access and download Zoom recordings and PDFs of the power point slides.
I stretched the pilot out to 6 weeks because I needed more time to properly cover the curriculum. Student feedback helped me expand modules that needed more depth.
I should have done a second (and even a third) pilot, continuing to improve the curriculum and saving more money to:
Then I should have used Camtasia, to create a more polished version of the best of each pilot.
I forgot the first rule of marketing… have something to sell. Instead I did what most creatives do, I focused on creating instead of creating something to sell!
I decided to create a more polished version of the course with higher production values.
Instead of wondering why everyone uses Camtasia to shoot online video courses (because it’s fast and easy) I decided to purchase gear and out do other course creators in my niche…
At the time, I had no idea how much more complicated it would be to script videos, shoot videos, edit videos, clean up noisy audio, render videos.
Instead of producing 7 hour long videos, I choose to break each module into several short videos of 3-10 minutes. While this makes it easier for my students, it greatly increases production time.
Looking back, it’s obvious that I should have focused on finishing instead of producing a course.
I bought Camtasia and this is speeding up the video production… I’m combining what I’ve already learned through shooting and editing video with this new software so I can create a better product in less time!