How To Create A Winning Online Course

There is no doubt that modern education has melded into the digital age. With a wide offering of different ways to learn, to know how to create a winning online course, will lead to student success, and business success if you are offering the course. A good quality online course is made up of three major components: Introduction, Instruction and Conclusion. Attention paid to each of these will help you in your mastery of hosting a great course!


The first impression you make with a potential student is in your opening words, and possibly image, on your home page of a website. And as with all first impressions it is critical. With the click of a mouse, this potential user can become engaged or be lost to you forever.

The tone for your course is set right here in your welcoming words. Get it right! Be professional and an authority, enough that someone will want to spend their time, and likely their money learning through your expertise. Students are generally in need of something, and can easily feel intimidated so bounce this message off many friends, family and colleagues before using it. It is a widely known fact that engage learners actually dont read, they scan.


  1. Course outline.
    This is the catalogue portion of your site. The shoppers will review what your course offers, how it is organized, how it will be presented and evaluated, and so much more. If the students don't find in your summary exactly what they need from the course, they will shop elsewhere. Provide an overview for each topic, and a brief description with objectives and tasks to help students understand the expectations. If the content of the course is heavy, or lengthy, be sure to describe it in chunks or units of study. An overwhelming course load can be an instant turnoff. Identify benchmarks in the course and perhaps, how the assessment will work as the student progresses through the content.
  2. Faculty information.
    If and when the potential student is keen, provide the necessary information about the experts teaching or providing instruction in the course. Try to make these people sound accessible, provide friendly photos and pictures of them interacting with students in meaningful ways. Give an overview of how contact and one-on-one time with these mentors will be available to all students. Credentials are important here, but there is a fine line between making a teacher look aloof and too academic, and being a great guide that a student can feel connected to.
  3. Required resources.
    Summarize the required texts, plug ins, technical support, everything that will make up the tools necessary to achieve success in the course. Include a list of optional resources students can use for further study. Try to use a variety of means to deliver the content such as graphs, charts, video and audio. Be prepared for the technical difficulties that will be a part of devices and equipment. Have systems in place to allow for these frustrating technical times.
  4. Expectations and grades.
    Be very transparent here about how work will be assessed, and how communication will be kept open between assessors and student regarding evaluation. It can be effective to describe how your program offers a performance analysis and to ask for learner feedback. It can also be effective to display model assignments, or with students permission, post samples of quality work. Post and use grading rubrics to give clear examples of what is top work in contrast to less than top.
  5. Time commitment.
    As a potential student learns more about your course, and develops interest, be very clear about the time commitment and the schedules of classes, tutorial, seminars, and whatever makes up the content of the program. Give a clear perspective about the assignments, quizzes and tests to be expected. Stick to some consistent scheduling in your test dates to avoid missed opportunities. Use a calendar graphic if necessary.
  6. Help!
    Independent learning can sometimes give independent students a feeling of isolation. Students will need to know exactly how and where help is available through your program. Help students help each other with easier access to the common questions or problems. It may also help eliminate duplicate questions arising and the extra time it will take to answer each. Sometimes, teachers can choose to deliberately oppose a student in a forum or in answer to a question to encourage thoughtful debate and interaction. Ensure that tips for success will be available, as well as information about how the course will be developed to offer assistance to address different learning styles, and disabilities. Many of the best online learning courses include some kind of video based training. Demonstrations are good. Even Powerpoint presentations offer a different approach to instruction. Be sure to invest in using these by hiring experts to produce them, keep them short and relevant, interactive, and creative.
  7. Discussion.
    Courses today provide opportunities for teachers and students to interact through digital mediums. Discuss venues and opportunities for engaging with other students. Explain how this kind of contact will be key to success, so the potential student feels connected already. Tips for success could become a regular part of these discussions. When setting up your in person or online discussion groups, make a friendly Getting to Know You section for the users to become more comfortable with talking to each other. A forum or questionnaire can easily do this for you. It will also show your range of students. This is where you may discover which students have taken online courses before, or where to direct new students to tutorials that may help them even more.
  8. Policies.
    Be sure to outline specifically the policies of enrolling in the course, the finances involved, the rules regarding attendance, submitting work, plagiarism and other items as they relate to your course. Be clear about how you will resolve conflicts and disputes. Antagonizing of other students, or teachers, should never be tolerated and this needs to clear from the onset.


Your course needs a clear outcome for the students. Discuss exactly what achievements or credentials successful students will be sure to garner by taking the course. But dont over promise as it may come across as flimsy, or like a scam.

As with any website on the Internet, to create a winning online course, it has to look good! A professional website designer would help you choose just the right style, colors, fonts and presentable look to give your visual appeal and impression you need it to make. To attract students you want a polished site, otherwise it may leave potential students feel you are not up to the caliber they are looking for.

If you put in plenty of effort and planning in hosting an online course, be sure to include a schedule for yourself to regularly check in with its progress, problems and to deal with issues. Respond promptly and professionally to all student queries and monitor the successes and near successes of your customers/student. Give students opportunities to improve their grade or retest material to do better in the course. Your course can change from time to time, evolve and improve, especially when you take into consideration the feedback you will receive from its users.


07 Mar 2018

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