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Create Great Online Classes & Be A Great Online Teacher

Online teacher training to teach online classes and prepare for online teaching jobs
Todd McLeod
81 students enrolled
English [Auto-generated]
Create well-organized curriculum
Understand the principles of great online courses.
Implement best-practices for online course design.
Gain the ability to be comfortable and engaging on video.
Determine which courses to teach to best realize your goals.
Gain the technical skills necessary to create online courses.
Understand the importance of video and audio quality.
Create great video and audio with basic equipment.
Save money when purchasing video and audio equipment.
Know which software is best for capturing screen-recordings.
Gain the ability to easily edit your videos.
Understand intellectual property considerations.
Acquire the perspective necessary to realize your goals.

Knowledge is valuable. You’ve lived. You’ve learned. You know. Share your knowledge.

Anyone can teach. Anything can be taught. If you understand a subject, and if you are able to convey that understanding, you are qualified to teach online classes.

This is the learning revolution and there is a huge opportunity for you to teach what you know, help others, and generate income.

There is a great market for great courses. I know this from personal experience. Take what you know and teach it WELL. People will pay a nominal fee ($19, $29, $79) if you can teach them WELL. This saves people the time and hassle of looking for quality instruction on YouTube. A great course grows in reputation. Your passive income grows.

You can teach anything:



  • HOW TO SUCCEED IN LIFE (again, well taught please)




  • WHAT I WISH I KNEW THE FIRST DAY AS A ____________ (realtor, financial planner, bar tender, waiter)


The list is endless. The key is to teach WELL.

Most of the online courses in the marketplace today are not taught well.

If you create great courses, your courses will stand apart and you will attract students.

In this course on creating great online classes, you will learn how to be a great teacher and create great online classes. The material in this course is a synthesis of everything I have learned over my 20 year career in online education – the best practices for creating great online classes.

Teaching is a skill. It is a skill that can be learned. In this course, you will gain access to everything I know about great teaching – principles distilled from research and verified through 20 years of experience.

This course will give you the ability to be a great online teacher and create great online courses.

The world needs great online courses, and there are millions of people in the world. Today’s teachers who create great online courses have the potential to earn great income. This course will give you the skills to be a great online teacher.


Welcome to the course
  1. welcome

Welcome to “Teach Online Classes - Online Teacher Training for Online Teaching Jobs”

  1. credentials

My name is Todd McLeod and I will be your teacher. My credentials include over 20 years of online teaching experience. I have taught online at the college and university level, and in the private sector. My educational background includes studying online education at the University of California in San Diego. In Central California I helped start, run, and taught in the “Online Teachers Training Program” where we taught all of the college faculty in central California how to teach online. Here are some reviews (link 1 and link 2) from former students.

  1. benefits

I am excited to show you best practices for teaching at scale, helping others at scale, and getting paid at scale. There is a way to teach at scale which will not result in thousands of papers to grade. There is a way to teach at scale which is true teaching, which preserves the student-teacher relationship, and which allows your humanity to touch the lives of hundreds of thousands of others. What you will learn in this course will extend your impact as a teacher, both on the lives of others and on your bank account.

  1. curriculum

The curriculum we will be studying has been distilled from my 20 years of experience in online education. We are going to cover course pedagogy, course production, course marketing, and course management. By the end of this course, you will have gone behind the scenes on how to create a great course - you will have learned and practiced all of the skills you need to be an outstanding online teacher. My courses are successful because they focus upon teaching. Not just presenting, but teaching.

Take a look at what we will learn in this course:

How to succeed / principles of great online teaching / accelerating learning / determining what to teach / recording equipment / outlining your course / managing course files / creating course materials / effective teaching style / effective teaching tools / effective teaching techniques / recording / adobe premiere setup / adobe premiere editing / your course thumbnails / marketing your course / good to know principles

One of the most important things I can emphasize is that this course is a turn-key solution for learning how to create great online courses. Very quickly, I am going to bring you up to speed and train you how to be a great online teacher.

  1. audience

For those new to online teaching, you will learn everything you need to know. For those already teaching online, you will gain insights into my best-practices for creating courses that serve tens of thousands students per month. This course offers value to everyone wanting to teach online. Look through this course outline to see everything you will learn in this course.

  1. join us

I became a teacher because I like helping people. I am excited that teachers can now teach at scale, help others at scale, and get paid at scale. Join me on this exciting journey where you are going to learn how to be an outstanding online teacher. Join me in leveraging your knowledge, experience, and skills to help others and generate great financial rewards. I am excited you’re here. I know this course is going to be worth your time, and I know your efforts are going to benefit many people. People need to know what you know, so enroll now and let’s get started.

The primary goal for this course is to show you how to be a great online teacher. Teaching is a skill. When I first started teaching, I studied teaching. I took courses about teaching. I studied great teachers and learned from them. In this course, I am going to share with you everything I know about great teaching - principles distilled from research and verified through 20 years of experience.

  • In this course, you are going to learn

    • how to be a great online teacher and

    • how to create great online courses.

Through this course, you will gain the valuable skill of helping others learn. This will allow you to make a positive contribution to the lives of others while simultaneously earning financial rewards that, prior to this point in history, teachers have never realized. Today’s teachers who create great online courses have the potential to earn millions of dollars from their courses. I am excited to share with you the potential for helping others and for generating revenue.

Getting started



We will be using Google Chrome as our web browser in this course. We will also be using Google Drive to store the course materials and a Google Drive Doc for this course outline.

  • Google Chrome download

    • zooming

      • ctrl +

      • ctrl -

    • ctrl f

  • Google Drive Doc

    • view → document outline

  • Course outline - version 2

    • updating as we go

Course resources

The course outline is part of the course. Please read all of the descriptions of the videos in the course outline. This is part of the learning process. When you read the descriptions:

  • the concepts you are learning will be reinforced

  • you learn the material more quickly

  • you will more quickly become a better teacher, both online and in person

In addition, I sometimes provide additional information in the course descriptions. Sometimes I record a lecture, then remember that there is a resource or another piece of information which you should know. Some of these resources and extra pieces of information I include are very valuable. Case in point: video graphic cards. Finally, when you create your course, tell your students the importance of reading the video description in the course outline. This will help your students learn and helping students learn is what good teaching is all about.  

  • course outline (version 2): https://goo.gl/NZwLoa

  • course resources: https://goo.gl/LFXwPj

  • course folder: https://goo.gl/6Cz9QF

purchase recommendations:https://goo.gl/uNb5QJ

How to succeed

Understanding what has made others successful can help you become successful. These are principles which have helped me become successful. I learned these principles from others and from my own experience. I share these principles to help you succeed in this course and in life:

  • Grit

  • Focus

  • Time on task

    • drop by drop, the bucket gets filled

    • persistently, patiently, you are bound to succeed

  • Habits of effective people

Accelerate learning

You can increase the speed of videos when you watch them. Not everyone knows this. This is something you should include in the beginning of all of your courses. Watching videos quickly helps many students. It’s not for everybody, but it works for a lot of people. You need your students to know about this. You can also turn on the “view / show document outline” for our course outline.

Send me a test video

Before you record your course, record a test video and send it to me. To send me a test video:

  • Create a folder in Google Drive

  • Put your MP4 video file in that folder

  • Share that folder with me

    • there is an icon of a human with a “+” next to the human in Google Drive or sometimes there is a big blue “Share” button in the top right area of Google Drive.

  • Send me the “share” link

    • https://twitter.com/Todd_McLeod

    • toddmcleod@gmail.com

I will review your test video and let you know if there are any suggestions for improvement. By having me review your test videos, you will avoid recording your course only to realize something was wrong. I look forward to seeing your video!

Hands-on exercises - master level 1

Hands-on exercise #1

When you are clear on your reason for doing something, you are more likely to do it. This is a well-studied principle of motivation. Charles Duhigg’s book documents this well and is an excellent read / listen. My goal, as your teacher, is to help you succeed. I want you realize your goals. If you want to create outstanding online courses, I want to help you make that happen. The first place for us to start with any endeavor is for you to be clear on your reason for doing it. Knowing your “Why” increases the probability of success - knowing why you are doing something. Why do you want to create a great online class? Get a piece of paper and a pen, then write down your answer. Some possibilities to consider:

  • Autonomy

    • Money

    • Providing for others

    • Master of one’s own destiny

    • Allowing your mojo to flow

    • Determining your schedule

    • Being creative

  • Competence

    • Mastery

    • Excelling as a teacher

  • Relatedness

    • Contributing

    • Helping others

    • Social belonging

    • Making the world a better place


  • Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity – Charles Duhigg 2017

  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Paperback – Simon Sinek

Hands-on exercise #1 solution

The reasons I like creating online classes - “why” I like creating online classes:

  • be seen

    • social; belonging; acceptance

  • helping others

    • intrinsic reward

    • power of education

      • education is the noblest of endeavors

      • as an individual improves their own life, they improve the world

      • “be the c               hange”

      • bringing light to an area where, before, there was darkness; ignorance

        • enlightenment

        • ignorance is the source of all suffering

  • autonomy

    • earning income

    • providing for others / my family

    • creativity; building; creating

  • fun

Hands-on exercise #2

Now look at your reasons for wanting to create a great online class. How important is it to you to realize this? How much time would you give, every day, to realize this? Would you give five minutes every day? Ten minutes? Thirty? An hour? Five hours? What is your commitment to yourself? Write this commitment down then post it in a place where you see it every day. If you live in a household with others, and if appropriate, talk with those in your household about your goal and your reasons for your goal, then post your goal in a place where everyone can see it.

Essential principles

Be human

An online class is much like an in-person class: it’s one person teaching another person. This is a very human process. We know from our own experience, we learn better from people we like. A tremendous amount of research supports the importance of human connection in the classroom. The more students have strong positive social connections with others in a class, both with the teacher and with other students, the better students do in the class.

  • Connect with your students asymmetrically

    • Be topical first; provide anecdotes second

    • Emotion, particularly humor, helps people learn

      • a smile goes a long way

    • Provide caring, enthusiasm, encouragement

    • having a good time; having fun


  • Albert Boime

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Be a teacher

Most online classes provide material which is presented, not taught. There is a difference between presenting and teaching. Teaching involves helping individuals learn the material. Presenting involves just showing people material. You are here to help people learn. Make sure you teach the material in your course. Employ all of the techniques of a teacher.

  • Teach; don’t present

    • be on screen

    • be human

    • human connection

    • having fun

    • making it enjoyable

    • be directive

    • give exercises

      • with solutions

    • repetition

    • preview, view, review

    • learning modalities

      • visual

      • auditory

      • kinesthetic

    • focus on others

    • engage & entertain

    • passion & enthusiasm

have a cup of caffeine before class

Be organized

Students do better in classes which have material clearly organized in small steps.

  • “38 special”

    • each section 3 - 8 videos

    • each video should be 3 - 8 minutes

  • 1 video = 1 topic

The perfection of imperfection

Some people become self-conscious at being recorded, hearing their recorded voice, or seeing themselves. It’s easy to slip into the trap of optimizing and trying to perfect your course. Strive for the perfection of imperfection. Strive for good enough. Remember your ultimate goal(s). To realize your ultimate goal(s), you need to get your course out there. You need to finish. So focus on good enough.

  • embrace imperfection

    • disregard self-criticism

  • shift your perspective

    • you are here to help others

    • not: what do others think of me

  • Suzuki Roshi ~ “You are perfect just the way you are, and you have room for improvement.”


  • YouTube of original second video in course

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hF8f_7_srA


Provide repetition

An important tool of teaching is repetition. Repetition helps students learn.

  • Provide repetition of material

    • hands-on exercises with solutions

      • solutions allow self-assessment

      • in academia

        • providing solutions is still learning

          • students either

            • do the hands-on exercise, then watch the solution

            • or they watch the solution and copy that

        • provide a few critical assessments which are graded by instructor / staff

    • preview, view, review

Record then edit

Do not record too many videos before editing. You will want to catch any mistakes, like maybe the sound wasn’t working, and fix them sooner than later.

  • don’t go too far recording without stopping to edit

  • editing allows you to

    • check your quality

    • make sure there aren’t production issues (eg, no sound)

    • also provides nice assurance that things are going well

      • that is encouraging

Be resolved

Your primary goal is to share your passion and knowledge with the world - to get your course to the world. You need a certain level of production quality, however, you do not need perfect production quality. More important than perfect production quality is making sure you actually finish the creation of your course and offer it to the world.

Help others

For me to get it done it really helps to think of others. I am doing this to help others. In addition, it also helps me to think of the teachers who were my favorite teachers in my life. I will consciously emulate my favorite teachers when I was learning to teach. This is my personal journey to becoming a great teacher and learning to complete courses to help others. I did not start out being a great teacher. I also did not start out even being good with people. I had to learn all of this in my life. This video contains personal reflections on my journey as a teacher, my journey through life, and the power of education to transform lives including my own. The power of education is that one individual can positively change the direction of another individual’s life. Education to me is the noblest of all endeavors. Education is the craft which all other crafts need. Every other craft in the world needs teachers to teach people how to do that craft. When you teach, you are empowering other people to improve their own life.

The power of education

Creating online courses has great potential to help other people. In my entire career at the college, I would touch 12,000 lives through teaching. Last year, I taught 44.1x that many people.

It might be intimidating to think of teaching that many people, so don’t think of that many people. Think of one person. Picture the individual faces of a few students. Look at the humanity of who you are reaching.

I love these people. I love the human race. I love humanity. I love what we are all doing together. This is why I teach. Look at the beauty of this world and of people. All of us.

We all have the same dreams and aspirations. We’re not different. We all want less suffering. We all want a better life. We all want security, and safety, and to be able to provide for our loved ones, and to be happy. To enjoy what we’re doing. And to have freedom, and autonomy, and creativity. To grow our lives, and to be valued, and to offer value to society. Teaching allows you to help people realize that. To me, that’s amazing.

Getting your course done is one of the noblest things you can DEVOTE YOURSELF to doing. Create that course. Teach others. Help others. We all got to where we are because others taught us and helped us. Now let us do what was done for us, for others. Let’s teach, people. Let’s teach. Get it done. Get your course done.

Hands-on exercises - master level 2

Hands-on exercise #1

Take this quiz.


Hands-on exercise #1 solution

Here is the review and discussion of the answers for the quiz.


What to teach


First we will review where we’ve been in this course. Then we will look at where we’re going. In this section we will go through a process for brainstorming possible courses you can teach. After that, we will look at how to choose which course you should teach to best meet your goals.

Identify possibilities

You don’t have to be an expert on the subject you teach, you just need to know more than the person you are teaching. Often, having just learned a subject can make you a better teacher than someone who has known the subject for many years. As someone new to a subject, you will have researched and discovered all of the new information about that subject. Also, you will remember where you struggled and will be able to identify those challenging areas and convey how to overcome them.

  • List subjects which you understand

  • You need to understand a subject to teach it; people who have just gained an understanding of a subject can be excellent teachers of that subject.

  • For example, I might list out - surfing, writing, publishing a book on CreateSpace, Excel, Word, Google Drive, programming, cooking (bruschetta), waiting tables, etc.

My personal experience: I began teaching myself to program in 2013. In the fall of 2015, I created an “Introduction to Programming” course. My course works well for people just learning programming because I was just learning programming. I knew where I struggled, I was able to identify those areas to students, and I was able to show them how to overcome them. An expert might have forgotten the struggle areas and just glossed over certain aspects as if they were obvious. Being new to the subject was one of the aspects which made me a good teacher of the subject. Experts can make great teachers, but so too can individuals new to a subject. Years of experience are not required. What is required is being able to convey understanding.Once you understand a subject, you are qualified to teach that subject - to share with others your understanding.

Align with your goals

Figuring out what course to create is a two step process:

  1. brainstorm potential courses you can teach

    1. the possibilities are endless

  2. select the course which aligns with your “why”

    1. Differentiation - don’t worry about it

Don’t fret if someone else has already taught the course. You don’t have to be first to market. There are many pizza shops in the world. You just need to make good pizza and be the first shop someone comes across. Plus, some people will prefer your pizza over everyone else’s pizza. We all have different palates. Some people will like your vibe and your style of teaching. Just be you, baby. You be you.

Do market research

You can use a variety of tools to do market research:

  • Google adwords keyword tool

    • course title & SEO

  • Google search suggestions

  • YouTube videos

    • video views

  • Anticipate market trends

    • “If you want to be successful, get in front of what’s coming and let it hit you.” ~ Bill Gates

  • Teach to beginners

    • The beginner audience will always be larger than the advanced audience

  • Social media

Twitter surveys

Set course scope

You need to choose the correct scope for your course. “Scope” is the extent to which you will cover a subject.

  • Do you want to offer a 20 minute course? Will students be willing to pay $20 for only 20 minutes of teaching?

  • Do you want to offer an 80 hour course? Do you have the stamina to create an 80 hour course? Will students feel overwhelmed by 80 hours of video?

My most profitable courses range in length from 6.5 hours to 21 hours. You need to decide the extent to which you will cover a subject. You might start out creating a course to “Learn Excel” but then decide to create four courses

  • Excel for Beginners

  • Intermediate Excel

  • Advanced Excel

  • Comprehensive Excel

You can use an iterative approach to determining the scope of your course - just decide that it is long enough. The take-away from this video is that you need to determine how long your course is going to be. Will the length be too much, too little, or just the right amount for students?

You can use the mnemonic device “38 special” to remember the ideal length for your course, also - a general rule of thumb:

  • a course should be 3 - 8 hours

  • each section should have 3 - 8 videos

  • each video should be 3 - 8 minutes

The best perspective

If you help one person, you have succeeded.

  • Patiently, persistently, you are bound to succeed.

  • Drop by drop, the bucket gets filled.

Keep moving forward. Have fun. Have a great attitude. Help others. People like being helped. If you help others, they will tell others. Your following will grow; the reach and impact of your courses will grow.

Hands-on exercises - master level 3

Hands-on exercise #1

Using a pen and piece of paper, brainstorm subjects which you understand and could teach.

  • Remember, that to teach a subject all you need is to understand that subject and to be able to convey an understanding of that subject.

Carry the pen and paper with you. At different points throughout your day, subjects will come to you. Write them down. Do not censor. At this stage, you want to generate; not limit. Even if a subject seems silly, write it down. You might continue this exercise for several days. You may be surprised by the quantity of subjects you generate.

Hands-on exercise #1 solution

Here is Todd’s solution to this hands-on exercise - here are some subjects Todd might teach:

  • wait tables

  • meditation & mindfulness

  • google drive: docs, sheets, slides, forms, sharing

  • cooking italian food; bruschetta

  • vlogging

  • editing

  • bookkeeping quickbooks

  • writing and story

  • self publishing on amazon

  • computer concepts

  • programming

Hands-on exercise #2

Choose a course to teach and determine your course title. Use Google Adwords to determine your course title.

  • https://twitter.com/Todd_McLeod


Hands-on exercise #2 solution

Here is Todd’s solution to this hands-on exercise

  • Todd chose to teach a course on meditation and mindfulness.

  • Here is his title for the course:

    • learn to meditate practice mindfulness understand enlightenment

    • How to meditate, how to relieve stress, realize enlightenment and realize spiritual awakening with vipassana mindfulness meditation and guided meditation

    • How To Meditate & Practice Mindfulness - Understanding & Realizing Enlightenment

Outline your course

No outline

One approach to course creation is to not make an outline. This is a valid approach and the approach that works best for some people. Even if you record first without an outline, it is a good idea to create an outline after the recording. An outline helps students learn the material.

Outline essentials

Remember the “38 Special”

  • course should be 3 - 8 hours

  • sections should be 3 - 8 videos

  • videos should be 3 - 8 minutes

  • 1 video = 1 topic

Short steps give the feeling of forward progress.

Google drive introduction

As you create your course, you will want to

  • gather and share course files

  • store files used to create the course

  • keep your course platform independent

There are some great aspects to Google Drive:

  • folders

    • recommended directory structure:

      • course name

        • private

        • public

  • productivity software

    • docs

    • sheets

    • slides

    • forms (quizzes)

Formatting with styles

Covered in this video:

  • formatting your outline text with styles

files: template for an outline

Table of contents

Covered in this video:

  • formatting your outline text with styles

  • automatically generating a table of contents

files: template for an outline


url shortener


We’ve learned some great material so far:

  • Your why

  • Your commitment

  • Essential principles

  • What to teach

    • Google adwords

  • Outline

Hands-on exercises - master level 4

Hands-on exercise #1

Now that you have chosen a course to teach, I want you to start sketching out your outline. Come up with ideas for sections and videos. Create the beginnings of your outline.

Hands-on exercise #1 solution

Here is my solution to hands-on exercise #1. And here is my friend, Maynard:


Recording your course


Good audio and video are super important. You must determine how many video captures are required for each lecture.

Recording yourself

When recording your course, you will often want to record two videos which will then be combined in editing:

  • a video of you, the instructor

  • a video of your screen (when applicable)

Use your mobile phone to record yourself. Mobile phones are designed to take great pictures and video at arm’s length (for selfie’s). This is the best camera you can use for capturing a video of you, the instructor.

If your mobile phone is unable to record 1920x1080 video, get a phone that can: a friend’s old phone, ebay

Mobile phone gear

Here is some gear to help you record great video with your phone

  • phone tripod mount

    • http://amzn.to/2FqPJ9F

  • tripod

    • http://amzn.to/2pceHU5

    • http://amzn.to/2paNT6u


Recording great audio

The closer the microphone is to your mouth, the better the audio will be. A lapel microphone will help you achieve great audio quality:

  • lapel microphone


Achieving great lighting

Film as an art is about capturing light. Light is important. Record a test video and watch it. Does it look good? Your goal is to achieve diffused light that evenly illuminates your face. Some things you can do to improve lighting:

  • hang a sheet over a window and record during the day using that light

  • arrange a lamp or two, with shades, by the sides of the camera

  • purchase

    • clamp lights at the hardware store - ex 1 and ex 2

    • bulbs with a warm light (2700K)

    • diffusion filters

    • gaffer tape

Recording your screen

There are a variety of choices for screen recording software. I strongly recommend OBS. I have tried every other screen recording software and this is the best. I wish I could endorse camtasia, but every time I have ever worked with it, the software has created huge issues for me.

  • Here are your OBS settings for MAC:

    • https://goo.gl/x1H736

File management

Once you have recorded the video(s), you will need to manage the files. Here is my process to keep files organized.

Geeking out

Here is a showcase of some of my favorite gear.


A comparison of different microphones.

Hands-on exercises - master level 5

Hands-on exercise #1

Make a recording of yourself with a mobile phone.

Hands-on exercise #2

Record your screen with OBS.


Editing software

There are many options for editing software. I use adobe premiere creative cloud for students and teachers to edit. This is what I will show in this course. You can Google “best video editing software” to find a list of other video editing software.

when you start recording a video with multiple video recordings, add a clap at the beginning and end of the video

Premiere setup

Before we get started editing our video, we need to get our editing environment in Adobe premiere setup. We will cover these steps:

  • opening premiere

  • import clips

  • work spaces

  • environment orientation

  • creating a sequence

  • aligning clips

    • select clips

    • right click

      • synchronize

        • audio

  • mute audio which isn’t primary

Vocal enhancer effect

Here is how you can add a nice audio effect.

Editing essentials

Here are the essentials to video editing:

  • expand / contract timeline

    • +

    • -

  • cutting

    • c

  • selecting

    • v (pointer)

    • a (all)

  • deleting

    • delete


Here is how you add video transitions.


Here is how you zoom in and out


Here is how you encode your video.

Hands-on exercises - master level 6

Hands-on exercise #1

Take your videos from “Hands-on exercises - master level 5” and edit them together. Make sure to use

  • vocal enhancer

  • transitions

  • zooming

Encode your video to MP4 and upload it to YouTube.

Great teaching


Teaching is deeply relational. For all of our time as humans, we have learned from each other. Not from so detached voice reading a script and then carefully editing the video. From each other. From other humans who are perfectly imperfect. Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to be seen. Teach from one human to another. Embrace the perfection of imperfection. You are perfect just the way you are, and you have room for improvement. Be at peace with that. TS Eliot says it this way, “Teach us to care and not to care.” Do your best and, at the end of the day, make sure you do. Get your course out there. Finish it. People need it, even if it is not perfect. Proceed with abandon. Create one course, and then create another one. Over time, like with any skill, your courses will get better and better. Let the light shine which is you. Take the leap of faith. Begin. Step into the unknown. The unknown, not the scripted, this is where life lives. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

  • share your humanity

    • People want to know people. For all of our evolution, we have communicated by seeing the other person. Humans are social creatures. When you create your trainings, it is imperative that students are able to see you. Voiceover screen capture is boring. People lose focus. They don’t learn as well. They don’t connect with you. To create a great training, to teach someone well, you have to talk with the person. To talk with a student most effectively, the student has to be able to see you. There is much literature on the importance of the student-teacher relationship. Being in your videos will help your students feel connected with you.

  • be authentic

    • People want to know people. They want to know you. Not some perfect version of you. You. The perfect and imperfect parts. This is the perfection of imperfection - being at ease with imperfection. e.e. cummings said, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." There is a parable that I love which I call the “Father John” parable. Father John told his congregation, “You know, when I get to Heaven, I don’t think God is going to be like, ‘Father John, why weren’t you more like Moses?’ I think he is going to say, ‘Father John, why weren’t you more like father John?’ If you mispronounce a word while recording - no big deal! Laugh at it. Laugh at the fact that you can’t pronounce that word, then move on. Being on camera is just like being in the classroom. Let your personality shine through.

  • be encouraging

    • People need encouragement. We move forward partly because we believe in ourselves, and also partly because others believe in us. Everyone has doubts. Can they do it? Are they headed in the right direction? Will they be able to get through this material; understand this concept? Be encouraging. Encourage your students. Believe in them. Share your encouragement with your students. Share encouraging stories. I tell my students:

  • Drop by drop, the bucket gets filled.

  • Patiently, persistently, you are bound to succeed.

  • The seeds you plant today will be the crop you harvest tomorrow

  • Focus and time on task are essential to success.

  • You’re doing it, baby. You’re doing it!

  • You’re doing great. Keep going.

  • Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance

  • Don’t just teach the course material, also teach students how to succeed.

  • make mistakes

    • Students will learn many things from you: the course content and life lessons. One important life lesson is that it takes mistakes to learn how to not make mistakes. Making mistakes, not getting something right the first time, is the learning process. We fall when learning to walk. We garble words when learning to talk. We get the answer wrong most of the time, before we get it right. You have to fail, before you succeed. One of my favorite sayings: “If you want to succeed, start failing.” As teachers, it is important for us to model this to our students. Release the “sage on the stage” model where you, as the teacher, have to be the perfect all-knowing expert. Make mistakes. Be imperfect. This is the perfection of imperfection. Show students how, if you make a mistake, you fix it. Find the correct balance for yourself: some errors in videos are great and helpful to students; and videos with too many errors or errors which are too big should be redone.

  • tell anecdotes

    • Sharing anecdotes is great. Anecdotes can reinforce course material. Anecdotes can also build the student-teacher relationship. If the anecdotes is not instructive to the topic at hand, try to share it at the end of the video. This allows students who are crunched for time to get through the course content more quickly. For instance, I might say, “Oh, this reminds me of a story about my friend, Kenny, when we were in Mexico. As it’s not directly related to what we’re learning here, however, I’ll tell it to you at the end of this video. That way, anyone who just needs to learn this stuff quickly, can get through the content. And anyone who wants a good laugh, can hang out for the story. Okay, moving on. So here we have ….” Parables are an example of anecdotes. Jesus often taught in parables, and look at how well it worked for him: he created a world religion.

  • passion & fun

The best learning is fun. Fun learning is effective learning. As much as possible, have a good time when teaching. Let your passion and enthusiasm for a subject shine through.


Here are some more techniques for being a great teacher:

  • preview, view, review

    • We have covered some great ground. We have more great things to cover. This is a high-level overview of where we’ve been so far and of what’s coming next. Reviewing course material helps students learn the material. Previewing course material that is coming also helps students learn the material - it prepares their minds and begins building the neural pathways. Reviewing and previewing is a great teaching technique which you should use in your courses. The material we have already covered in this course is reviewed. We also preview the material which is to come. In addition, I share a personal anecdote at the end of this video about my background and the importance of personal growth. We can all improve and be better at everything we do. I have lived this in my own life. Having encouragement and having someone believe in you is important. As a teacher, believe in and encourage your students. Realizing that your life is in your control is also important. As a teacher, practice self-empowerment in your own life and help your students learn how to practice it in their own lives, also. You will live and die, succeed and fail, by your choices and your actions. If you plant good seeds today, you will harvest a great crop tomorrow. You have to do the work, though, so get out there and do it.

  • be directive

    • Tell people what to do. People want to be told what to do. They don’t want to hear that they want to be told what to do, but for the vast majority of people want to be told what to do. Erich Fromm wrote a great book “Escape From Freedom” which documented this phenomenon. Marketing studies about the negative purchasing consequences of too many choices also support people’s preference for being told what to do. The vast majority of people don’t want choices; they don’t want freedom. They want to be told what to do. So tell them what to do. This is the cultural expectation of a good teacher: they will tell you what to do. So tell your students what to do. Tell them. You’re the teacher. Own that role. For example, “Pause the video right now. Pause it. Pause it and write down those three principles then tape them to your wall.” Or, “I want you to answer this question. What is the square root of 1342. Pause this video right now, work out the answer, then un-pause the video. Did you do it? Okay. So here’s the answer; here’s how we work it out.”

  • verbal quizzes

    • Give students a question in a video, tell them to pause the video and answer the question, then give the students the answer. This is an effective teaching technique to keep students engaged and to reinforce learning.

    • variations

      • shut your eyes

        • Have students shut their eyes and recollect what they just learned. This is an effective teaching technique to keep students engaged and to reinforce learning.

      • write it down

        • Tell students to write things down. Pause the video and write this down; recall it from memory. At the end of the video: “I want you to write down what you just learned. Write it down.” This is an effective teaching technique to keep students engaged and to reinforce learning.

  • use variance

    • We tune out the familiar; we tune into the unfamiliar; stimulate people with the unfamiliar; with variance. In particular, vary your voice tone, speed, and volume.

    • use your hands

      • Using your hands when you communicate can help hold people’s interest. When you use your hands, you give people something to look at; you are letting their eyes watch some motion. The human mind filters out that watch doesn’t vary. Give people variance to hold their attention.

  • say what’s important

As a teacher, you have to snap students out of their reveries. One technique you can use to help make this happen is tovery clearly identify for students the most important points. Actually say to your students, “This is one of the most important things in this entire course.” Then share whatever it is that is important. This will help students tune in to the important points and learn more effectively.

Being on camera

There are many techniques which you can use to do well on camera:

  • loosen up exercises

    • horse blubbering lips

    • shaking it out; getting loose

    • youtube: actor warm up exercises or actor warm up

  • get that warm happy feeling in your heart and on your face

    • think about something that warms your heart and makes you smile

    • have a picture that you look at that warms your heart and makes you smile

      • my kids

  • picture a student

    • talk to one person

    • When recording, picture one of your students. Imagine you are talking to one of your students. Who is that student? Perhaps it is a young woman in Nigeria, working late at night after her partner has gone to bed. Perhaps it is a man in Syria, trying to gain valuable skills despite the war raging in his city and country. Perhaps it is an elderly woman in England. Or perhaps it is a precocious teenager in China. Picture someone. Think about them. Feel the sweetness of love for them in your heart. Feel yourself rooting for them. You are in their corner. You want them to succeed. Get that feeling in your heart, picture that person, then look into your camera and talk to that individual. “Hi. I’m so glad you’re here. I am here to help you. You’re going to learn some great stuff. You’re doing great. Just keep believing in your dream; keep moving forward. You’re going in the right direction. You really are doing great. Ok, are you ready? Here’s the next thing we’re going to learn.”

  • look into the camera

  • begin and end on a smile

  • have fun

  • go for good enough

  • give it extra energy

    • the camera strips away energy and adds weight. there’s nothing we can do about the weight part, but as for the energy part, add extra energy to all of your videos; it’s like a burst; a sprint; boom; do it.

  • have a beer / glass of wine or a cup of tea / some coffee

  • dealing with the fear of public speaking

Recording location

The primary criteria you should use for your recording location is convenience. Select a recording location which is convenient. You want to be able to easily sit down and record a video. When I first started making videos, I did it in my garage. I have also made videos in a stairwell at a hotel (The Hilton Hawaiian Village). Your primary goal is to get your course done and get it into the world to help one person. More than production quality, more than silence free from barking dogs or lawn mowers, you want to be able to record easily. A secondary criteria for choosing your recording location would be silence. Location of the camera is also important:

  • below - teacher looks down on audience

  • equal - eye to eye, equal (best)

  • above - student looks down on teacher

Forms (quizzes)

You want to make your course as modular as possible. You want your course to be able to be used by anyone, anywhere. You want your course to be self-contained. Google Drive has “Google Forms” which you can use to create quizzes. You can also use Google Forms to create any type of a form which you could then send to people and gather responses from them.

The pathway
  1. Choose the course you want to teach

    1. market research w/ google adwords

  2. Outline your course

    1. clear curriculum = good curriculum

    2. “38 special” = small steps

  3. Film & edit your course

    1. standards

      1. video recording:

        1. resolution:

          1. HD, aka, full HD, aka, high definition, aka, 1920x1080, aka, 1080p

          2. or greater, eg, 4k, aka, 3840 x 2160

        2. aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3

        3. frames per second

          1. 30 fps (tv)

          2. 24 fps (film)

        4. NTSC (america) vs PAL (europe)

      2. audio recording: 44.1 KHz or greater

      3. encoding: MP4 aka h.264

    2. equipment

      1. video: mobile phone or a webcam

      2. audio: lapel microphone

    3. software

      1. OBS & editing software

      2. camtasia (craptasia)

    4. test video

    5. teach, don’t present

      1. content, hands-on exercises, solutions

      2. teacher on-screen

  4. Publish your course

  5. Market your course

files: a nice summary

Hands-on exercises - master level 7

Hands-on exercise #1

Write down the techniques for great teaching. Print them out. Use one of them in a video. Put checks next to the item you used when recording. Here is the file I generated as my solution. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xrlanxFmXKLnvbLetWZUmjkPX412vx1kO_-3mgpnpY4/edit?usp=sharing

Hands-on exercise #2

Create a video using one of the techniques for being on camera.

Hands-on exercise #3

Create a quiz using Google forms. Here is my solution.


Last items

Free advice

B&H Photo Video & Pro Audio is an amazing store. This is literally one of my favorite stores in the entire world. I love this store not only because they carry the latest and greatest, but also because they provide outstanding customer service. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable and available. Free of charge, you can call them and talk to an expert who will educate you as to which equipment you can purchase within your budget to best meet your needs. This is an amazing resource. The alternative to this is trying to learn about all of these areas of expertise on your own, buying something, and then hoping it works. B&H saves time and money.  


Intellectual property

There are two types of property: real property and intellectual property. Real property is anything that is real - you can touch it. Real estate is an example of real property. Intellectual property cannot be touched. Examples of intellectual property might include a song, a poem, a book, a screenplay, software, a mark used for trade, a new invention. While you can put intellectual property onto a medium such as paper or a CD, the value is not the paper or the CD but what the paper and CD store. People can own both real and intellectual property. When you create your course, you may only use property which you have the rights to use. With relative ease, you can find resources to use in your courses which grant you the right to use them. You can also use any resource which you create. A general rule of thumb: you can copyright the expression of an idea, but you cannot copyright the idea.

Your course thumbnail

What message do you want to send? How are you going to send it? There are many principles of good design which will help your course be more effective:

  • simple

    • No clutter. Less is more. One focal point.

  • relevant

    • Create an image which represents your course.

  • attractive

    • Avoid trashy. Avoid clip-art-y. Iconography can work (font awesome).

  • image oriented

    • Text can be difficult. Some sites won’t allow you to use images with text.

  • appealing colors

    • good contrast; good for the color blind; adobe colors; attention grabbing (McDonald’s); variety in the field.

  • good image quality

    • No pixelation.

  • warmth and humanity

    • Avoid impersonal stock photography; use that which is authentic & real.

    • places you can find images:

      • http://www.istockphoto.com

      • https://stock.adobe.com/

  • no personal logos

    • the thumbnail should convey what the course is about.

  • get creative

    • recently I began using graffiti for video thumbnails

  • fiverr

Your welcome video

Generally speaking, your welcome (promo) video should cover six items:

  • welcome

    • articulate the course name

  • credentials

    • of the instructor

  • benefits

    • of taking the course

  • curriculum

    • quick overview

  • audience

    • who should take this course

  • invitation

    • “call to action”

    • money back guarantee

You can see the description I wrote for the welcome video for this course.

Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs allow you to receive a commission when you recommend a product or service and someone uses it. Different websites offer affiliate programs. I use Amazon affiliates when I recommend products to others. I don’t change my recommendation based upon receiving a commission, but if the product that I want to recommend allows me to receive a commission for recommending it, then to me, that’s a win-win.

Devote yourself

Creating a course requires time. To complete a course, you must devote yourself to the process. Devotion means love, loyalty, and enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause. Devotion also has a spiritual aspect to it: religious worship or observance; prayers or religious observances. Devoting yourself means that you are bringing love, loyalty, and enthusiasm to the creation of a course. Devoting yourself to the creation of a course means that you are giving yourself to a higher purpose: the purpose of building something which will help others. Our devotion is that which carries us through challenges and allows us to bring the effort required to finish a course. I am committed to it. I am devoted to it. Devotion includes focus. Devotion includes commitment. Devotion means that we are deeply committed to creating the course; to finishing it; to doing it as well as possible.  When you complete a course, you have just helped others.

  • Devote yourself to this higher calling.

  • Devote yourself to helping others through education.

  • Devote yourself to helping others live and work to their greatest potential.

  • Devote yourself to creating first one course, and then another course, and then another course.

And remember, as you help others, this will help you. You will receive great intrinsic rewards. An intrinsic reward is the good feeling you get because you have aligned with your social nature and done a prosocial action. Because students pay a nominal fee to take your course, you will also receive extrinsic rewards. An extrinsic reward is something which is “outside” or extrinsic, such as monetary payment. Because you are teaching at scale, these extrinsic rewards have the potential to be quite great. If 1,000 people take your course, and if your course costs $20, that is a significant amount of revenue. This is a win-win for everyone, so devote yourself to the process. Devote yourself to the noblest of endeavors. Devote yourself to completing your course.

  • Drop by drop, the bucket gets filled.

  • Persistently, patiently, you are bound to succeed. We are bound to succeed.

“Education is the noblest of endeavors. As an individual improves their own life, they improve the world.”


Ask for reviews

At the end of your course, ask for feedback and a review.




Next steps
  • go do it

    • you’ve seen how I do it

    • you’ve seen how I could do it better

    • now you go do it

  • go for good enough

    • get your course out there

  • formal training at UCSD

  • MLK quote

    • “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.


If we ever run into each other in person, let’s have a beer, or your beverage of choice. Fare thee well, my friend. Go do good in the world. Help others. This will help you. toddmcleod@gmail.com

~~~~~~~~~ * ~~~~~~~~~

Education is the noblest of endeavors. As an individual improves their own life, they improve the world. I have gotten to where I am in life because others have helped me. Now I am fortunate to be able to help others. I believe that all of us helping each other makes the world a better place. I believe that together, we all succeed. When I teach, I teach for passion, principles, and profit. Helping others is one of the principles in my life. It is a principle by which I live my life: do good, help others, together we all succeed. I am passionate about this principle. I am also passionate about the many different topics I teach. I love sharing and learning. I love education. I also love making money. There is no shame in wanting to profit. Money is wonderful. Money allows us to support our families and to help others. You have taken a very big step in becoming one of the world’s great online teachers. You have learned many useful skills, and have gained knowledge and perspectives necessary to help others and do good in the world while simultaneously making great money. This is a win-win for everybody.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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