FAQ on Teaching Courses at Lovely Living University
1. How Can I Become an Instructor at Lovely Living University?
You should have a college degree. (It doesn’t matter what subject it is in.)
It’s not necessary to have experience teaching an online class, but if you’ve never done it before, expect to add an additional 2-3 hours during the development process talking with me or with our other professors about their teaching experiences here at Lovely Living University or other online resources.
You’re welcome to protect your professional privacy by using an alias when you teach the class. On the other hand, if you get a kick out of admitting you teach classes here, you’re more than welcome to use your real name!
I will ask that you audit and fully participate in one Lovely Living University course before you begin planning your own course, so you can see how we do things around here. That means logging in to participate in some of the chats just like the other students do, doing the readings, watching any videos required, turning in the assigned homework, and posting your comments in the discussion threads.
Your spelling and grammar should be impeccable – or you can use spellcheckers and grammar checkers in your word processor. All materials (your syllabus, lectures, discussion posts, homework, quizzes) should be written in a professional style aimed at the college level. That means no typos, spelling errors or poor grammar.
2. Will I Get Paid?
If you can volunteer your time, that would be awesome, since our classes here are free and we have a small advertising/promotion budget. However, to attract the best instructors and experts possible, I know I may have to offer to compensate the professors here who spend so much time developing and teaching classes for LLU. I’d rather not throw myself on your mercy all the time begging for you to volunteer here and donate your valuable time!
My heartfelt appreciation (and that the students) isn’t enough – I’d like to pay you actual deliciously spendable green money. However, the more I pay you, the more affiliate ads I have to run on the sidebars to earn money to pay teachers with. Since the classes here are free to students (for the foreseeable future), there’s not a lot of revenue coming in. So your pay will be a couple hundred dollars via Paypal or an Amazon.com gift certificate, etc. That obviously doesn't come close to compensating you for the dozens of hours you'll spend designing and teaching a class here.
I’m likely to be able to pay more (a few hundred dollars) for professors with actual real-world experience teaching courses at a university, well-known authors, or instructors with verifiable Masters degrees – and for important and specialized courses I can’t teach myself.
3. How much time should I expect to spend preparing and teaching?
Our courses here are brief ones – they last just one month, or they are a 1 or 2 week seminar. If your course takes 2-3 months to teach, that’s too broad a subject matter for Lovely Living University.
Developing your course ahead of time is the most time consuming part. You’ll want to research your topic (even if you’re an expert in it – just refresh yourself and check for anything new in the subject area); plan and write the syllabus; create your lesson plans (preferably one lesson for each week of your course); write any short quizzes to assign students to refresh their memories; and gather links to any resources you’ll include in the class (photos, videos, documents or excerpts, articles, web links, etc). You’ll need a couple hours to go over your completed syllabus, testing for dead links, making sure videos play properly, etc.
The actual syllabus creation part of the process should take no longer than two or three evenings – any more than that, you’re likely overthinking it and including far too much information for a 30-day class.
Plan on a lead time of 2-3 months from the time we chat about and officially begin your course planning, to Opening Day 1 of your course.
You’ll start by presenting an Outline of your course that lays out the material in a format similar to your course syllabus.
You’ll be writing lectures (one per week or more), writing an Introduction to the class, devising homework assignments (if any) and devising discussion prompts you would like to post during your course. (It’s really recommended that you come up with these ahead of time).
You’ll spend some time Skyping with me or talking on the telephone (at my expense) during the course development stage so we can iron out any problems and work on presenting the best class possible.
Ideally each course will have 4 or so “live chat” discussions, where you’re available for 1 hour per week (and ideally, one hour Opening Day chat per course) to chat with your students. You control the time and date for those chats, but we recommend they’re generally in the evenings so students can attend after work or after they put their kids to bed. We’ve done really well with getting people to log in and participate on Sundays. I do want to point out that the more chat opportunities you offer, the less likely anybody is to show up - they think, "I maybe can't make it tonight, but I have five other chances to log in" and then not prioritize attending your chat after all. Holding fewer chats makes people aware of their rare opportunity to get online at the same time as everybody else to talk about the subject you've gotten them so interested in. So sticking to just one chat per week is ideal.
You’ll also need to spend time responding to student introductions and discussions, reading and responding to any homework you’ve assigned, and possibly altering your course as things change during the month. You’ll spend some time ahead-of-time dropping me notes about the chat event dates, curriculum and deadlines you plan, so I can mention them on Facebook, etc.
It’s best if you log in a minimum of every two days, for a half hour or hour, however long it takes you to check on everything.
Plan for a “wrap-up” session around the last day of the course, where you thank students for participation, sum up the course, add any final comments, hand out completion certificates to those who participated, etc.
4. What Format Should My Class Take?
Your format is up to you (but I will be quite involved with your course development, as this LLU project is very close to my heart).
You can post text lectures, text readings/excerpts, videos, music clips, podcasts, or (dare I hope) video lectures. It all depends on your time and what you’re comfortable with.
5. How Many Classes Can I Teach at the Same Time?
I’d prefer you teach just one course at a time. If you are super eager, that is so awesome! But I’m learning that it’s difficult to teach more than 1 class per month while I’m working a full time job, maintaining a small social life, and keeping up with family responsibilities.
Also, it’s difficult to teach back-to-back classes month after month. You might find it difficult to find the time to prepare next month’s course while teaching this month’s.
We’ve learned the hard way that your course syllabus must be fully written and ready to go before we even announce the class. So if you are planning a class for the month of April, I’d hope to have your syllabus uploaded by late February at the very latest.
6. What Kind of Courses Are You Looking For?
We are looking for courses related to homemaking, entertaining, food history, retro and vintage lifestyle, cooking, women’s history, women’s music, women’s literature, gardening, and ways to make your life lovelier.
Other topics of interest are architecture (as it relates to lovely living), home décor, home design, fashion, history of fashion, and famous women authors, artists and musicians.
We’re also looking for volunteers to run book clubs, fan clubs for lovely television shows currently streaming or on air, and social clubs here at LLU.
Thanks for your interest in becoming an instructor here at Lovely Living University!