Description: Interview with Pace Smith, veteran online teacher and creator of the Engaging eCourses program. Topics include authenticity, self-trust, and key questions to ask as you develop your course.

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About Pace Smith

Pace Smith helps sensitive spiritual misfits follow their hearts to a wild crazy meaningful life. She’s a Pathfinding coach, a teacher, a speaker, a writer, a bi poly trans gamer geek, an open-source Reiki healer, and a tournament-level Dance Dance Revolution player. Click here to download The 11 Most Dangerous Myths about Finding Your Path, her 41-page eBook designed to help you find your calling.

Key Points & Takeaways

  1. “Authenticity” isn’t about sharing everything. Think instead about sharing in a focused way, and make everything that you do share true.
  2. Let your online teaching be led by your values. Reflect on what you value as a learner, and incorporate those values into your course design and teaching.
  3. Remember that if people wanted to buy raw information, they would buy a book! They would just get the raw information. That’s not what they want from a course: they want a learning experience. An immersive, engaging experience.
  4. You could teach the exact same course topic that somebody else is teaching, and different people would sign up, and get something different out of it — because it’s you and your voice that matter to them.
  5. Give yourself permission to teach the same course more than once, on a consistent schedule. In Pace’s experience, if she had put together a consistent schedule/curriculum, she would have freed up enormous energy for her business AND made the courses better each year.
  6. To break away from “one course at a time” thinking, ask, “What can I do consistently over the next 5 years in a regular way to build a meaningful online teaching business?”
  7. Try to identify common themes among your courses so you can present them in a unified way.
  8. The biggest thing that affects engagement is participation in a community. One technique you can use to enhance community & engagment: “assignment buddies.” Assign participants into pairs. Invite them to via phone or Skype sometime during the week to do a specific partner exercise that is part of the homework for the class.
  9. One of the engagment killers is guilt. If people feel behind, it’s really hard to recover from that. They feel like you’re waving a wagging finger at them – or ashamed, like they’re not capable of doing well in an online course. To minimize “course participation guilt,” focus on creating an “immersive” learning experience. A helpful guideline: no more than 1/3 of the course should be focused on the teacher talking/presenting; at least 2/3 should be focused on interaction. Continually ask yourself, “Am I focusing too much on delivering content or presenting vs. engaging? Am I giving people a firehose?”
  10. One successful model: class + dedicated community co-working time. For example, Pace incorporated a “Motivation Monday” time into one of her courses. Everyone got together on a call, which Pace led with an invocation, statement of intent, and writing prompt. Participants then hung up, wrote on their own for an hour, then came back on a call to share their progress. Feeling they were part of a group and doing it together helped people make far more progress with their writing than they did on their own. Think about how you could create a similar model for your online programs.

Pace’s top coaching to improve your course design

Tell a story.

Stories are both engaging and authentic.

Engaging because people learn based on stories and examples way more than just being told a dry list of facts.

Authentic when based on your own lived experience.

Reflect on your personal stories and how they can enrich your course.

Resources & Links

Curious about Pace’s idea of “finding your path?” Check out The 11 Most Dangerous Myths about Finding Your Path.




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