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You can’t build an online academy in two weeks. It takes time and money.

After some articles about online resources, and my experience with some of them, I wanted to stop and warn all newcomers to the online world.

IT TAKES TIME AND MONEY.

IF you want to create something of quality, stable and useful. After all, we are supposed to teach and students learn, not just spend hours online.

Of course you can be an individual offering Skype Classes, or Zoom classes (I wonder …where does Zoom get it’s money from?). Or a Youtube Channel. It’s ok for 2-1o students.
But I am talking about providing online teaching resources to students: conversation classes, exam practice, intensive courses, CEO language mentoring, business language teaching, online courses… The whole, round-up, package.

There is (and will be more) rubbish online sold as online teaching.

When we started looking at what others were doing, entering as students for other online courses etc, we were surprised about the poor quality of 90% of the onlien courses. Our teachers were appalled too.

  • Most online courses are basically vocabulary teaching, video and audio podcasts, some exercises copied from the Internet thrown in the mix, with little to no structure.
    They are based on the idea that students can lear languages by learning vocabulary. It has been proven time and time again that this idea is FALSE.
    Only kids up to 3 can learn that way (Spanish link). You can’t cheat biology.
  • Courses don’t seem to have been created with the guide of teaching experts.
  • Most online videoclases are just conversation classes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not completely against conversation classes. They serve a purpose. BUT you can’t seriously improve your language skills just by talking. I know a lot of teachers now teach that way (when I hear this in an interview it is a reason against hiring).

Clients will soon discover that most online teaching resources, even the well known ones, are useless. And will become wary about acquiring new ones. Please have some pride in what you create. Let us build TEACHING resources, not time consuming ones. Create quality material.

There is a real danger in the future of clients considering ALL online teaching as useless. They will only respect us as much as we respect ourselves and our work.

This takes time….and money (closely realted).

Exactly how much money and time are we talking about?

I will give you some figures. After all, this is the aim of these articles, to provide our experience in online teaching and save those who are starting a lot of mistakes.

Below you can see a small diagram of our infrastructure during 2019-2020 (it has changed now). It is an internal document which I provide as an example for this article.

After reading the following lines, I hope some people will understand why I always say an online platform (we have several) is like opening a new physical academy.

Time.

  • We started with online classes about 5 years ago, Since then we have changed our way of teaching A LOT. Some of the reasons have been mentioned in previous articles.
  • We started developing online courses 5 years ago too. Gradually learning, trying out tools and deciding how to do them correctly.
  • We’ve been creating our A1 and B1 online English courses for 2 years now. They are just about to come out. Serious courses, created, developed and revised by experienced teachers to take a student from one level to the next (A1 to A2 and B1 to B2).
    This means 2 years of teachers uploading theory and exercises, coordinators and teachers meeting to organise and modify things, test users trying the courses out. 2 years for 2 courses.
  • Our teaching was moved last year from 90% face to face to 75-80% online. It took about 3 years to get clients used to online teaching and start selling this method. That is why we were slightly more reading than others for this crisis.
    One of the positive things of Coronavirus is that it has forced 99% of the population to try online teaching out. Many were reluctant.

Money,

  • I can’t really estimate 5 years of teachers creating and testing online material.
  • I could estimate the time of teachers and teacher coordinators creating the two online courses…but it frightens me to do so.
  • We have 2 online LMS (Moodle). They would cost about 2000€ each to create so 4000€ there.
  • We have 2 online shops to sell courses. That would be another 2000€ for both (1000€ each).
  • We have a Big Blue Button server. Installation about 400€
  • A Youtube Channel …hours of courses there. I can’t estimate that.
  • Three blogs. 2400€
  • I’m not considering our corporate website (another 800€ aprox.).

That’s about 9000€ just in websited.

  • You need IT Support for updates, maintenance, new development, user and teacher issues etc. Right now about 800€ per month.
    When you depend so much on IT resources, you need help. Last week our provider crashed (internationally) for 45 minutes..and it was a disaster. We’ve learned and developed a backup system to reduce the impact of future similar cases.
  • 2 servers. About 1200€ per year.

A rough estimate would mean:

  • 9000€ of development
  • 9000€ per year of IT support.
  • 1200€ per year of hardware.
  • PLUS all the teacher hours to create content for the courses and to support our classes.

Now you might see why I LAUGH when people say “we are starting to teach online”, “we are creating an online course” or “we’ve moved our teaching online”.

Rome was not built in a day.

 

 

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