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HeatSpring course types and marketing

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2016 07:05PM EDT
We have two primary types of courses on
  1. Short Courses
  2. Premium Multi-Week Courses
The types of assignments available to instructors are the same for all courses. These include streaming videos, PDF or other file downloads, quizzes, and URL links to publicly-available online resources.

Instructor Responsibilities for All Courses:
  • Create and upload initial course material
  • Maintain and update content when necessary
  • Respond to student survey feedback and ratings and make improvements to the material

Short Courses

Short courses typically consist of 1-2 short videos plus 1-2 simple supporting resources. All of our short courses are priced between $0-50. Related Article: How should I price my course?

Other Recommendations:
  • Answer questions on the discussion board. Students report higher satisfaction with courses when instructors take time to answer their questions or spark conversation.
  • Build multiple short courses or build a full course that we can advertise to your short course attendees. See below for more details on course marketing.

Premium Multi-Week Courses

We recommend new instructors start with a free or paid short course to test interest in their subject. Once interest in a course topic is established, most of our instructors build out a multi-week course offering on that topic.

Premium courses typically average 8 weeks in length. Students are expected to complete approximately 5-10 hours per week of work. The primary content of the each week should be video with anywhere from 5-10 additional supporting assignments.

Additional Instructor Requirements for Premium Courses:
  • Answer detailed questions on the discussion board. Be available for answering questions daily while your course is running with a goal of a 24-hour response time. (Note: You can schedule vacation if you let you students know ahead of time.)
  • Figure about 100 hours of work time to build out your course for the first time, then a few hours per week to manage student questions, depending on the popularity of your course.
Other Recommendations:
  • Be open to allowing students to ask questions on work-related projects.
  • Try to manage your future time commitment by utilizing tools like self-graded quizzes over manually-graded projects.

Marketing For All Courses

Our marketing system consists of:
  1. Course sales page email address collection using features where students enter their email address to receive something in return like 'discount codes', 'ask a question', and 'remind me'
  2. Short courses
  3. Email marketing
All courses (premium, short, paid and free) act as marketing lead generation for all other courses. Free short courses are the easiest entry point for potential students. For instructors who have already developed a premium course on HeatSpring, creating a free or paid short course can be an extremely valuable marketing tool.

For new instructors, we strongly recommend starting with short courses for several reasons:
  • Start simple and get comfortable building and running a course.
  • We see immediate, actionable sales feedback from our marketplace.
  • We get real student interaction, survey responses, and ratings.
  • All enrollments can be used as qualified marketing leads for future courses.
After launching a short course, we can take the information we learn and help tweak the offering to get more sales, and/or build additional courses based on real market feedback. This helps increase the chances your courses will be successful and minimize wasted time.

Here is a real example: Marc Rosenbaum teaches Zero Net Energy Homes, an intensive 10-week full course. For his short course, Marc created a 30-minute recorded presentation on Selecting Cold Climate Heat Pumps. This free short course ends up driving more than $25,000 per year in sales for Marc's premium multi-week course.

The short course provides sales leads in our marketplace who have a high likelihood of being interested in buying the full course. The course also provides us with lots of real student interaction on the topic so we can help shape Marc's course and help him build more full courses based on market demand.

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