6 Free Platforms for Teaching Online



Have you thought about teaching an online course, or simply supplementing your face-to-face course with an online component?  Whether you’re considering sharing your expertise via a completely online course or creating a hybrid, you now have a universe of options available to you.  Educators will want to explore these platforms and all of the features they offer.

  • Udemy
    This is a massive online teaching platform with over 2 million students worldwide and 13,000 courses.  It lets instructors design robust classes including video lectures, PowerPoint files, screencast videos, documents, audio files, text, and mashup videos.  The platform is completely free for instructors to create their courses which they may offer for free or for a fee.  If there is a fee involved, Udemy takes a percentage of that.  This is a very professional-looking platform that has a lot to offer.


  • Odijoo
    Odijoo is a free e-learning platform which allows educators to create online courses or even set up their own private campus for training employees (campus seats must be purchased, however).  This online learning application enables instructors to design a classroom setting with group discussions, news postings, quizzes, modules, file hosting, and certificate creation.



  • RCampus
    This is a free online learning management system which can be used to create courses, student assignments, keep grades, hold class discussions, and post many types of educational content such as videos, links, images, etc.  It can also be used as an ePortfolio management system in which both students and faculty can “build multiple, fully-functional presentation portfolios for demonstrating their skills and knowledge or for career development”.



  • Learnopia
    This is a free online course management system which enables instructors to design and offer courses consisting of a combination of videos, audio files, and PowerPoint presentations, and documents such as pdf files,  as well as tests consisting of multiple choice questions. Instructors can choose to make their courses freely available or charge a fee for them.  Learnopia takes a percentage of all for-fee courses.



  • Peer 2 Peer University
    P2PU is a grassroots open education project that offers free university-level courses.  It’s run by volunteers.  Instructors can create courses and offer curriculum in the form of slideshows, videos, documents, and discussion boards.  Enrollment in courses is limited to provide the best experience for the learner.



  • Teachers pay Teachers
    Rather than a place to teach students, this is a website where instructors can either sell or share freely their teaching materials.  Teachers may post videos, learning kits, lesson plans, study guides, clip art, and much more that they can choose to give away or charge for.  If there is a charge involved, teachers earn royalties on the money earned.



How to Get Started Teaching Online


Set Goals

The first thing you’ll want to think about is what you’re trying to achieve with this online course.  Will the entirety of the course be online, is this meant as a supplement to a course, or is this meant as a pre-requisite before joining a future course, e.g. an online course on basic math skills might be required before taking an advanced live class, etc.


Create a Course Plan

Just like a face-to-face course, you’ll want to have an outline or course plan for what you’ll cover each week.  If this is a course that you’ve previously offered live, you’re one step ahead of the game.  This will be your map for what kinds of materials you will need to create for your lessons.


Gather Your Equipment

After you’ve considered what lessons you want to teach, think about what types of equipment, software, and other tools you have at your disposal.  Do you have a video camera or other device capable of capturing HD video?  Do you have a screencasting software program?  If not, sign up for a free trial of Camtasia Studio, or check out these free screencasting programs.  Will you need to create PowerPoints? Do you have a microphone to capture audio? Once you figure out what your technological capabilities and limitations are, you’ll know what kinds of content you’ll want to create.


Set Aside Time for Creation and Editing

If you’re going to be creating videos and screencasts for your lessons, you need to consider not only the time it takes to record these, but also how long it takes to edit them, create title slides, render and upload them, etc.


Get Started!

Once you’ve completed all of that planning, jump right in and start building your online course.  It’s really only through trial and error that you’ll know what you’re doing wrong and what’s working.  Ask for feedback from your friends and social networks and get started teaching online!


Teacher Resources

Looking for some free inspiration and teaching resources such as syllabi, class plans, learning materials, etc.?  Check out these sites to get you started, they each offer free open educational resources.

  1. OER Commons
  2. OpenCourseWare Consortium
  3. Wisconsin Online Resource Center
  4. MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
  5. World Lecture Project