Part 3: Previous Page
Part 4:How to Incentivize Teacher’s Performance: Online Learning
Okay, let’s move on. Remember at the beginning how we talked about how you were probably the best teacher for your own online course…. but also probably the worst? This was primarily because you probably wouldn’t do a great job at respecting your own time.
Okay so we solved that problem by being able to hire teachers… but we didn’t address one major issue.
The fact that you’re probably still really concerned about hurting your reputation by accidentally hiring a run of the mill, forgettable teacher who will show up to grade assignments and put in the least amount of work possible.
AVOIDING BAD TEACHERS
Bad teachers can ruin your company and reputation. And you need to protect your students from them.
So what can we do to protect ourselves from bad teachers? Well, one of the things that we implement on virtually all of our client’s online course sites is that we incentivize teaching performance by paying more based on positive student reviews.
To help you understand how this works let me tell you a quick story. We have a client teaches a new media class online. So they needed two news teachers to deal with the volume of live lectures they wanted to teach.
When they were looking for teachers they looked at many things… but these three things, in particular, were big flags for them:
- The educational background of the teacher. They wanted all of their teachers to have a certain baseline education. In this case, it was a university degree.
- They also looked at the experience of the teacher. Looking specifically for things that would be good selling points for their students. For example, if a teacher had experience working at companies like Disney or Miramax or other easily recognizable brands.
- And they looked at the accomplishments of the teacher. For example, have they won awards, been recognized by prestigious institutions and so on. Again, these can be big selling features for students who are looking to be taught by “named” people in the industry. The closer you get your teacher to celebrity status… the better.
They finally decided on two teachers. The first one was a no brainer. This person was not only a working professional in the new media field… they were also a professor at one of New York’s most prestigious universities. They had won multiple awards for their work and they literally had decades of experience. It was really a no brainer for them. This would be one of the older teachers on their roster who they were going to put on top of their “teachers profile page” to highlight to potential students.
The other teacher they hired, a very recent graduate from a local college was very enthusiastic but had very little experience. However, he did really well in school and his attitude during the interview process really had the right “energy” as our client tells us. But truth be told, our client still felt it was a bit of a long shot. They were not as excited about this teacher as they were about their New York professor addition.
So now both of these teachers were teaching 2-hour lectures once a week at our client’s online school. Luckily for our client, we strongly encouraged them to implement a teacher review program.
This means at the end of every lecture a teacher needs to give their students a link to a teacher survey where all students can anonymously leave feedback about the experience with the teacher.
Teachers are graded on multiple things: Big things like how much new information the student gathered, how well the lecture was presented, if there was sufficient use of different forms of media like video or audio and so on.
What our client quickly discovered was that their New York professor was scoring 60% with their students and their fresh face graduate was scoring….. 96%!!
INCENTIVES BASED ONLINE TEACHING
So this is where things get interesting and this is what we do with all of our clients. We implement an incentive-based teaching program. When we scout for teachers we let them know about this right from the start so there are no surprises.
But essentially a teacher is paid more to perform better. As simple as that.
So let’s take our game design course again for example. Remember we were paying our teacher $30 / hour. But what if we did this: What if we set up a scalable payment model where we pay $25 for any grade between 60%-70% we pay $30 / hour for a teacher who can hold an average of 71% – 80% and we pay $40 an hour for teachers who score over 80%. We can even pay $45 / hour for teachers that score over 90%.
And then we can set a bottom end cut off rate. This is the failing grade of a teacher. If they score below this grade they are “let go”… which is just a nice way of saying “fired”. Most of our clients set this cut off point somewhere between 70% to 80%. This might seem like a high failing grade… but why shouldn’t students have a really great experience in your course?
Remember the fear we talked about when it came to replacing yourself as the main teacher in the course when we first started this podcast? Remember being worried about accidentally hiring crumby teachers that would reflect badly on you and your online course? Well, this system not only protects you against bad teachers…but it also rewards teachers and provides financial incentives for them to be great in the eyes of your students.
We focus on this a lot with our clients. We want them to put their students first. At the end of the day, that’s why we’re doing this. And at the end of the day, this is what will make you either succeed or fail. Not keeping a finger on the pulse of these things will probably mean you fail… or best case scenario… fall somewhere in the middle.
PUT YOUR STUDENTS FIRST AND MAKE YOUR TEACHERS ACCOUNTABLE
Put your students first and make your teachers accountable. If you do this you can go to bed in peace at night knowing that you properly serviced your paying students. Essentially you’re putting control back in your student’s hands… where it belongs.
Another thing we found interesting about these surveys was that generally, over 50% of students filled out the surveys at the end of the live lectures. So students really took advantage of this power that was given to them. This policy also keeps teachers on their toes. Online teachers cant’ get lazy or their scores drop and they make less money and risk losing their job with you.
And of course… no story is complete without a “grey area”. Here is another story: We have a client who had another one of those “star” teachers. But their students were ranking her really low. But when the course vendors looked at the data they found that the students were ranking her really high for the quality of content she delivered, but low for her social interaction, enthusiasm and friendliness.
She didn’t have a lot of patience for beginner questions and she would get angry if a student asked a question regarding something she had already covered. Students just found her personality a bit abrasive… but they learned a lot from her. Her average score was just under 70%. She was scoring an almost 100% rating for her knowledge, but she scored 30% for her interactivity with students.
As an online course vendor, you’ll need to deal with these things on a case by case basis. In this case, the teacher in question was one of the reasons many students signed up for the course.
Well, that pretty much wraps up this podcast. I really hope you learned something from me today.
So again. Academy of Mine is a website dedicated to helping course vendors and membership site owners set up their learning management system and market their online courses. You can check out our site at www.acdemyofmine.com.
We have an amazing blog, more in-depth podcasts and fully functioning demo site showing you what we’re capable of doing for you as a course vendor. We have ridiculously low pricing plans to help you get your course up and running in no time.
If you have any comments or want to leave a review we’d love to hear what you have to say.
OTHER PAGES IN THIS EPISODE
Part 1: Why you are and aren’t the best teacher for your online course
Part 2: Where to find teachers for your online course
Part 3: Measuring the teaching cost per student
Part 4: Incentive-based payments for online teachers