Hi, I’m Shelley. I’m so glad you’re here and I’m so excited to share what I know about online learning and course design to help you build excellent learning experiences that will bring you lots of raving fans and repeat business.
Let me tell you a bit about my background and how I’ve arrived at this point where I’m helping online entrepreneurs like you to build awesome online courses.
Here I am at TeacherToo
I write this blog and I help entrepreneurs to build online courses and other learning experiences for their audiences. I am both an entrepreneur and a teacher - I have run my own business for eight years and my academic background is in education.
My focus at TeacherToo is on practical, actionable content. There are lots of people out there who can help you with entrepreneurial strategy and high-level actions you need to take to build a successful business. My focus is on implementation – actually helping you build your course (or other learning experience) that your audience will devour because it is designed for how people learn.
Designing spectacular Squarespace websites
For the last few years, I’ve helped small businesses to set up their websites on Squarespace. Although I’m not a graphic designer by trade, I’ve learnt so much about design as I’ve built beautiful websites, using such an awesome platform. But where I really add value for my clients is through my writing and content management skills. I have recently started specialising in online magazine-style websites that have a clear education and training focus. Here at TeacherToo, I will be sharing all I know about Squarespace, so that you can use it to build a low-cost and beautiful website to support your teaching business. I've also set up my own hobby blog on Squarespace, Rocking the Playroom.
Lessons learned from building an online course platform
In 2012, I developed an online course platform called Classroom 7, with my husband Garren. I used it to deliver training to places as remote as the Island of St Helena (a place that only got air access in 2016). We also had several corporate clients who paid us a licence fee each year to use the platform.
Ah... it was such a great product and I sometimes regret that we decided to put it into retirement in 2016, but we realised that our corporate audience was not right for us or the product. We far rather wanted to serve an audience of creative entrepreneurs, because that’s who we are! The corporate space had different priorities, a lengthy sales pipeline, and they came up with some strange feature requests that prioritised compliance over actual learning.
But the lessons we learnt about online business, online learning, and building Software-as-a-Service were immense! And who knows, maybe you all will identify a problem that is just crying out to be solved by an app, and Garren and I will build it for you! You’ll have to help us think of another name though – all we’ve got is Classroom 8 right now ;)
The e-learning extravaganza
Going back a few years, I landed up in the online learning space through the more offline world of e-learning. When I discovered Articulate, I was an instant fan! For those who haven’t come across Articulate, it’s e-learning development software that initially worked inside of PowerPoint, and later developed into a standalone app called Storyline where you could create immersive scenario-based learning experiences. I developed a lot of courses in Articulate, again mainly for corporate (offline) clients. It’s my plan to bring some of the really good stuff I learnt from this phase of my learning and teaching journey, into the online classroom – things like scenario-based learning, using PowerPoint in ways that you'd never imagined, and a bit of gamification of learning to keep those students engaged.
Adventures in traditional publishing
My instructional design experience extends into the traditional publishing space as well. I have written and published school textbooks in Science and Technology that are used throughout South Africa. I have also written what feels like volumes of corporate training material, as well as my own series of courses on business skills for the modern workplace.
The reason I got a cap and gown
My academic qualifications are in teaching and education. And if you want to be assured that I have YEARS of experience in online learning, I can tell you that my favourite module of my degree involved building an educational website – in FrontPage… And I also managed to pull videos off a CD-based encyclopedia (anyone else remember Encarta?) to put together an e-learning lesson using what was probably the grandmother of e-learning software. Come to think of it, that was the first time I heard about this great new search engine called Google!!
So now that I have dated myself, I hope you can see that I have plenty of experience, skills and passion in the field of online learning, and I'd really enjoy being part of your online teaching journey. If you'd like to get my emails about instructional design and course building, then out your name and email address in the boxes below... I'll even send you a free copy of my guide, The Online Teacher's Toolkit.