As an Outschool educator, you may already know that there are different types of listings you can create to meet the needs of your learners. Some of you are already making amazing one-time demo classes to introduce new topics or even yourself to learners. You may have a semester-long class, a book club you’ve taught for years, or asynchronous classes for learners who cannot make a live meeting.
But, do you ever feel confused about when to use a class with “no end-date” or when to set an end-date for a class?
No worries! We’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to discover the difference between classes that need end-dates and those that don’t and when to use each one.
If you want to create a class that meets for a specific period of time you should include an end-date. But what does that mean?
- Having a defined end-date means that you are teaching material that probably has an introduction, and the content builds each week. It may be a book you’re teaching about, a time or place in history, a science or math unit, or a specific skill.
- Classes with end-dates can meet for as little as one week up to 40 weeks. During those weeks, you can offer classes once or every day of the week if you want.
- Typically, end-date class descriptions detail what will occur during the meetings and a weekly breakout that lets families know what to expect each week. You can write this as Week 1, Week 2 or Class 1, Class 2, or Lesson 1, Lesson 2, etc., or any other way that clearly defines the learning expectations as shown in the screenshot below:
To access the end-dates, you can:
- Scroll down to the Class Format section.
- Under Class Duration, choose a meeting amount of 1 to 40 weeks.
On the other hand, you may be offering a class that you do not want to end, at least not anytime soon. If that’s the case, you may not want to decide yet when to end the class and, for now, keep it open-ended.
No end-date characteristics
- Having no defined end date means you are teaching material that allows learners to join at any time. Since learners can join, whether, during the first week or the 31st week, these classes should not include an introduction, nor should the content build each week.
- If a class does not have content that builds, learners can enroll at any time without worrying about missing content or having to catch up. If content can build, learners may need your help catching up. (We’ll go into more detail below. Please feel free to read about how you can create a welcoming online classroom on Outschool for more information.)
- Classes with no end-dates can meet for months or years. Without a specified end-date, a class may continue without ending for as long as you decide.
- Since learners can join at any time, the date must be included in the Class Experience section of the listing using the Week of: topic/theme format like the screenshot below:
To access the end-dates, you can:
- Scroll down to the Class Format section.
- Under Class Duration, select “no end-date.”
Using dates in your listing
If you’re confused about when and why to use dates in your listing, we’ve got the answer. Since classes without end-dates function as drop-in style, where learners can enroll at any time, using dates let families know what topic or theme their learner is joining the week they sign up for.
Let’s look at an example from a parent’s perspective.
If you were enrolling your learner in a class written with Week 1, Week 2, like our example, you might assume that your learner is joining during Week 1 and learning about the background information since it’s their first week:
However, if the educator started the class three weeks ago, your learner may miss the first chapters and feel left out of the discussion.
Now, if dates are listed in the Class Experience section, then you, as the parent, would see that the class is on week three, and you may consider signing up for the class later when they move on to the next book.
Scheduling no end-date classes
One of the perks of having a class without end dates is that you can schedule as many classes per week as you would like. Just make sure to teach the same topic that week regardless if the class is starting on week one or week 20, each section is teaching the same topic.
Teaching only one topic across all sections during the same week helps keep your schedule on track. Doing so also allows parents to enroll with a precise understanding of course content for that week. Knowing what to expect ahead of time also lessens any confusion when a family asks to transfer to another class during the week.
Finally, let’s look at how to tell if the content of a class builds or not.
How content builds…or doesn’t
While a course like a book club that reads a new chapter each week may seem obvious
The best thing you can do is ask yourself, “Will the learners fall behind, miss important information, or be unable to participate if they do not attend all of the classes?” If the answer is yes, then the content builds, and you will want to make sure that you clearly explain this to families in the Class Experience section.
If learners can join at any time, for example, in a weekly yoga class that uses the same poses or a drawing class that teaches how to draw a new animal each week, then the content probably does not build. (But make sure you’re still including those dates!)
For classes that do have an introductory week in which learners introduce themselves, the meeting explains how the game or class works, or learners are building a character (for role-playing games) but the class does not build in any other way, we highly recommend blocking off time at the beginning of each class to get learners up to speed.
If that doesn’t work with the timing of the class, please consider creating materials (documents or videos) introducing the learner to class and getting them up to speed before they enter the live classroom, offering a 1-on-1 catchup class, or offering a one-week flex course. This is a great way to use coupons and keep track of how well this is working in your class funnel.
The last thing you want is a learner who doesn’t understand what’s going on and the rest of the learners frustrated and ready to get started.
What is learner-led?
Now, you may be wondering about whether your class needs dates at all.
The only time when not including dates is an option in a class without an end date (excluding one-time classes or classes with end dates) is when the class is learner-led or learner-directed.
For a class to be truly learner-led, there cannot be a weekly topic or theme. As you may have guessed, these are classes in which content does not build. Typically, these are classes that have the same recurring theme each week (yoga, meditation, doodling, etc.) or gaming-style classes where the educator cannot predict what will happen.
Some classes allow learners to choose the topic at the beginning of class. In this case, the class may be learner-led if it is truly random, like pulling a topic out of a hat or having the learners decide on the theme. If, however, there is a broader theme that the learners choose from, for example, types of animals, rooms in a house, colors, or otherwise, then we suggest including these in the weekly breakout.
If, on the other hand, classes can have a weekly theme or topic, these would be considered educator-led classes.
Educator-led classes have a specific topic or theme that, while different each week, falls under a main subject. For example, if you were offering a class on music appreciation and had to put materials together for a different individual each week, you would need a weekly breakout that looks like this:
By including both the date and the topic, families get a clear picture of the educator’s intentions with the class and are made aware of upcoming offerings.
The in-between classes
Some classes, like those that discuss current events, may have you wondering which category they fall in. If that’s the case, you have two options:
- Pick a broad, general topic that can allow for multiple topics. For example, if you’re offering that current event class, you could focus each week on a different state or country’s events or pick a news section such as sports, politics, or entertainment and list those by week.
- Reach out to Outschool’s support team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is ready and willing to help you make the best listing possible, so don’t be afraid to reach out with a question if you cannot tell whether you need dates or not.
Now that you have a better idea about creating class listings with end dates and those without dates, feel free to try making a few. Families are always looking for new topics and classes.
Not sure what to teach? Check out Outschool’s Educator Insights for what families are searching for.
New to Outschool and want more information on creating your first class listing? Check out our Events Calendar and join a live online training.
Just want to read up on what’s happening at Outschool and learn more to help grow your online business? Head on over to the Educator Library.
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