We’ve illustrated the value of teaching often on Skillshare -- let’s move on to best practices for how to come up with a whole set of class topics and a few more tips on developing an engaging channel that will keep your student followers coming back for more.
Publish non-linear classes that are accessible to as many students as possible.
Keep in mind that our most successful teachers have developed Skillshare channels composed of classes that are loosely connected and build upon one another. Here are a few different types of classes we recommend exploring as you build your curriculum (and remember that you can, and should, mix in all four):
- Fundamentals: A fundamentals class is an overview or introduction to the skill you’re teaching. For example, top Skillshare teacher Mary Kate McDevitt offers two fundamentals classes on hand-lettering, The First Steps of Hand-Lettering, and The Final Steps of Hand-Lettering. These two classes walk students who may not know much about hand-lettering through the full process so they learn the fundamentals of the skill.
- Deep Dives: As opposed to covering the fundamentals from A-Z, “deep dives” zoom in on a specific technique or part of a process so that students can really master it. Sticking with Mary Kate McDevitt’s curriculum as an example, Cohesive Hand-Lettering: From Single Element to Full System dives deep into a specific aspect of the hand-lettering process.
- Project-Focused: While all Skillshare classes are project-based, the difference with this type of class is that the project itself, rather than a skill or technique, is the focal point. The best part of project classes is that there are an unlimited number of projects you can do to apply the skill you’re teaching, so technically you’ll never run out of things to teach! Drawing from Mary Kate’s curriculum once again, her class Vintage Hand-Lettering gives students the opportunity to apply hand-lettering skills to a fun, unique project.
- Advanced Topics that build off your foundational classes: If you have a class that covers the basics of a certain skill, teach a class that goes a few steps beyond. This often means assuming a level of previous knowledge and jumping right into the skill you are teaching. In the class description, be very clear that your class assumes a level of previous knowledge and take advantage of this space to direct students to other classes in your channel if appropriate. As an example: This class assumes you have a basic understanding of Photoshop, particularly how to use brushes. If you are a beginner to Photoshop, I suggest starting with my class “Mastering Photoshop”. For example, Brad Woodard has developed a series of classes around Adobe Illustrator. In the class description for each of his classes, he introduces students to his other classes and offers a brief explanation as to how the classes fit together.
Establish a consistent publishing schedule.
Because leveraging your existing following is such a big piece of teaching, establishing a regular cadence for publishing classes on Skillshare is key to ensure your followers stay engaged and keep watching your newest classes. We recommend publishing a new class at least once a month to maximize the impact of your student following. The longer you wait, the harder it is to engage older followers. Of course if you don’t have the time to get started on a new class just yet, there are many ways to engage your students in between classes.
Plan future class topics.
We understand that teaching consistently can be challenging if you don’t know what to teach next. Learning from your students is a great place to start and catering your channel to the interests of your followers can help you craft better class topics. Beyond student feedback, there are numerous ways you can get inspired and discover your next idea. Check out this quick post that shares a few action-based tactics to help jumpstart your creative inspiration and keep your class ideas flowing! Moreover, take a browse through our interactive guide to see what class topics are trending and up and coming on Skillshare.
Create a cohesive channel brand
Think of your channel as a representation of brand in the same way that you would with your blog or business website. Your brand needs a consistent and recognizable look to attract new students (through well-designed cover images, class merchandising) and to keep them coming back for more (through an engaging and consistent teaching style). Your channel brand should not only correspond with the type of educational content you’re producing, but it should communicate your channel’s key themes so that viewers know what to expect by following you on Skillshare. Check our top five favorite Teacher Channels here.