If your business is considering offering virtual class options for families, we’re here to help you find the best low cost resource for your needs.
What are virtual classes?
Virtual classes are pre-recorded or live demos that you can create to supplement or extend the reach of your offerings. You can share and host virtual classes in a variety of ways whether pre-recorded or live. We’ll cover some of the most commonly used options.
What kind of content is appropriate for virtual classes?
Almost any kind of learning can happen on video. Just grab a smartphone or laptop, test your audio and video, and — once you’re happy with the way things sound and look — press record. If your program requires supplies, you may want to create a resource list for enrollees or create a supply kit link to purchase.
Why should I consider offering virtual classes?
In the case that your business needs to pause in-person offerings or scale down on activities, virtual classes offer another touch point for families seeking out-of-home education opportunities for their children. It also provides a much needed employment opportunity for your hourly or contracted employees. You may need to offer virtual classes to meet heightened demand in your area, accommodate customers who are sick or unable to participate, or foster a sense of community at times of distress.
Additionally, you can consider investing in virtual classes as a way to create another source of income for your business! It’s never been easier to record video and distribute to an audience — so we’ve put together some resources to help you test virtual classes at little or no cost.
What equipment do I need to offer virtual classes?
To run a virtual class, you’ll need to have access to a few different pieces of equipment! We recommend testing with the following items first before investing in more expensive options. If you find that virtual classes are a hit, you can always expand your offerings!
To start, here’s what you’ll need:
- A recording device with a camera and microphone
- You can use your computer, a tablet with a camera, or a smartphone. If you or a member of your team has access to higher quality video recording tools feel free to use.
- A tripod
- Consider buying a tripod for your smartphone. Here are some of our favorite under $25 options: the Merkury Smartphone Tripod and Mount, Joby the Griptight One GorillaPod Stand, and the Insten Portable Mini Cell Phone Tripod. If you’d rather not buy a tripod, consider having someone film you from a distance.
- A clean and well-lit space
- You’ll want your recording space to appear bright and clean. Make sure to double-check the way your space looks on camera before starting a class or pre-recording an activity. Remember, clutter becomes very visible on camera.
- Lesson plans
- Educators, you’ve got this part down! Make sure to practice your lesson with a video to get used to teaching on screen.
- You and your team
- Your business is special because of your passion, ideas, and desire to grow hearts and minds. When you offer classes online, your community will grow far beyond your zip code.
What resources are available to help me run virtual classes?
Great question! Here are some of our other favorite free and low cost services:
Please note that when you host a video on one of these sites, make sure to tell parents to set parental controls on their account!
- Youtube — Free to use with a google account
- Vimeo — Basic and Pro plans available
- Dropbox — Basic and Pro plans available
- Google Drive — Up to 15G storage for free
Video Recording and Live Broadcasting
Learning Management Systems
The Sawyer guide to online education
Check out our resources for educators creating digital classes.
- The top free services for creating online classes
- Tips for educators making the switch to virtual learning
- Frequently asked questions about online classes
- Using Sawyer Tools to bring community and content online
- Online class inspiration for every educator
- The Sawyer online class marketplace
Not currently a provider? Learn how Sawyer Tools can support your business.