Teaching courses through online platforms is something every teacher is trying to master. Here are some quick tips to help.

Robb teaching online - mobile video production
Established in 2014 by Robb Montgomery, the Smart Film School is the leader in professional online mobile video training.

A lecture designed for a physical classroom is a different user experience from an online lecture designed to teach students remotely. The lack of a physical ‘audience’ is palpable. Just look at how boring many Late-night TV show hosts actually are without a gleaming soundstage and warmed-up studio audience.

If famous TV presenters are struggling to make TV without an audience, then you can guess that it will take more than the personality of the teacher to teach effectively online.


Tip No. 1

To teach remotely effectively, each live, interactive session has to be scripted and follow a narrative structure.

These include setups and payoffs that will keep the students engaged.
Without a clear engagement structure, the audience will mute out, disable camera and seek a distraction.


Tips 2 through 10.

In my experience teaching journalism online since 2014, I have found (through trial and error) that the most successful online instruction has the following criteria:

  • Flip the virtual classroom with mini-tutorials and projects assigned in advance of the class meeting.
  • Mini-tutorials are videos organized as groups of 3–5 minute segments for each topic
  • These sequences must be pedagogical
  • Make sparing use of talking head video
  • Lectures must be ‘visually-led’
  • You must show, not only tell
  • Be designed for offline and time-shifted user experience
  • Be Project-centric (This allows for flipping of the virtual classroom and collabs)
  • Be gamified (rewards at each stage, building up a portfolio of skills)

Please view a syllabus of a sample course I lead to see what I mean by all of this.

online course image mobile journalism
This course will teach you the methods that produce professional-looking video packages every time.

You will see that this course consists of is six hours of broadcast-quality video instruction designed to support teachers in Distance Learning over a six-week instructor-led experience. It includes 10 projects.

This is a very different remote learning user experience than just watching six, one hour livestream lectures over a chat app.

The content here is designed specifically from the start to be taught and learned remotely.

How are you teaching online?