Creating an online course doesn’t require a private studio, thousands of dollars on fancy equipment, or a teaching degree. Now, anyone can create a professional and profitable online course from the comfort of their own home. All you need is some quality content, a computer, and a few essential tools, and you’ll be on your way to building an online course.
If you’re considering creating an online course, here are some of the crucial pieces of equipment and software you will need to get started, plus our top recommendations for each.
Presentation creation software
If you’ll be filming a presentation style online course, the main component will likely be your presentation slides. These slides will contain the majority of your course content and information so that your students can easily follow along. There are various tools you can use to create your presentation slides, and the good news is that many of them are free to use!
Once you’ve created your slides, you can then upload them to a hosting platform, like MycoLearn, in the form of a presentation or as individual slides. Alternatively, you could film yourself presenting these (skip to the screen recording section).
Here are some of our favourite free presentation creation tools:
If you have a Google account, then you have access to the Google Suite of applications. One of these apps is Google Slides, and it’s a simple and effective tool for creating presentations. You can insert images, format text, add transitions and take advantage of their bank of premade templates. It’s free to use, plus allows for collaborative editing.
There is no audio or video recording built-in to this software, so you’ll need to create audio/video recordings separately or use a screen recording software to record your presentation while you also narrate it.
Canva is one of our favourite presentation creating tools because of its range of capabilities for online course creators. Choose from hundreds of different slide templates, create a brand kit, and insert your own speaker notes that are not visible to your students.
Canva allows you to record your presentations directly in the browser-based tool, where you can narrate each slide while simultaneously recording a video of you doing so. You can then export the presentation as a video file and upload it to your course platform. It’s free to use but has a premium option for access to more features. Just be aware that the feature is currently only capable of uploading 30 minute presentations – any longer, and it won’t work!
Venngage enables you to create infographic presentation slides using their bank of over 10,000 templates. Build a brand style guide to keep your brand colours and logo uniform across all your materials.
While you cannot record your slides directly in the software, you can include speaker notes to use when screen recording your presentation using a screen recording software. You can also export your presentation in various file types and upload it onto your course platform.
Screen recording software
Unless you’re using a presentation tool with a built-in recording feature, then you’ll need screen recording software. Screen recording software is helpful in general, especially when explaining how to do something to your students. Some even allow you to record your screen and webcam simultaneously. Here are some great screen recording tools that you can access for free:
Audio recording equipment
The microphone you use to record your course audio is extremely important. If there’s background noise or if your voice sounds muffled, it will sound unprofessional, and your students will disengage. You don’t need an expensive microphone, but you want to avoid using your built-in laptop or smartphone mic if you can. Here are some great options that will give you crisp, clear audio for your online course:
1. Onikuma K5
Headsets are a great option for recording your course audio. Since the microphone is in a fixed position, the audio will stay consistent as you record. Plus, you can hear yourself through the headphones as you speak to ensure everything is sounding good. The Onikuma K5, although technically a gaming headset, is great value for money and produces awesome quality audio.
A favourite microphone among podcasters is the Logitech G Pro X. It’s a more premium option as it has a built-in noise reducer, limiter and equaliser, which help to optimise the audio quality. While it is more expensive, it reduces any background noise, making it more versatile for recording.
A desktop mic is also a great option for recording and looks more professional if you’re recording video. An entry-level option is the mini condenser from Amazon Basics. It plugs into your USB and effectively captures your voice without picking up any background noise.
4. Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti is known as the world’s best USB microphone because it contains three capsules, allowing you to produce studio-quality audio with one desktop mic. While you are going to pay a bit more for this microphone, it’s a worthwhile investment, plus it looks pretty cool in your videos too.
If your laptop already has a quality webcam built-in, then you can likely use that to record your course videos. Similarly, the quality of newer smartphone cameras are amazing, so you can use your phone camera if you have a recent model. If not, then investing in a better-quality camera will enable you to shoot more professional-level videos for your courses. It’s especially worthwhile if you plan to continue to create courses, host webinars, and even do live calls in the future.
If you’re going to use your mobile, then consider investing in a tripod mount, such as this bundle from KobraTech, which comes with a bendy tripod, a mount and a wireless Bluetooth remote so you can start and stop your video from a distance.
You can also purchase an external webcam, such as the Logitech C920 HD PRO WEBCAM, which shoots at 1080p and can clip right on the top of your laptop, which is perfect for when you’re reading course notes or slides off of your screen.
You don’t need to invest in fancy video recording equipment for creating an online course. The above options are perfectly acceptable and will allow you to create clear and professional video content.
Video editing tools
You don’t need any fancy video editing software, like Premier Pro or Final Cut, to edit video for your online course. Avoid flashy transitions, background music or special effects and keep it simple. All that you need a video editing tool for is to cut your clips and arrange them the way you want them.
Creating an online course at home
Regardless of your budget, you can create a professional online course from home with just a few pieces of software and equipment. Then, once you create your course content, all you have to do is upload it to MycoLearn and start selling!