Masters of Community with David Spinks
Will Cohort-Based Courses Change Online Education? With Wes Kao
January 3, 2022
In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Wes Kao, Co-founder of Maven and Mentor at Backstage Capital. Our host, David Spinks, VP of Community at Bevy and Co-Founder of CMX, moderated the conversation. Before Maven, Wes co-founded altMBA alongside bestselling author Seth Godin. By founding Maven, she wanted to democratize education by improving the online experience for instructors and students. Wes is a thought leader in building cohort-based courses and frequently writes on her blog about marketing, online courses, and rigorous thinking. She unfolds the concept of cohort-based courses and ways of building and managing them effectively. Who is this episode for? Community builders, community managers, and course instructors Three key takeaways: 1. Understanding cohort based courses: Maven is the first platform for cohort-based courses, which are courses that take place during a period with a group of other people. As community organizers, make sure you find the right balance in teaching your students. Create an environment of making sure that your students contribute to the community, support each other, and learn from one another. 2. Building cohort based courses: Firstly, market the course upfront. Secondly, design your curriculum and establish the frameworks, exercises, breakouts, and discussions. Thirdly, find the right instructors. Finally, think about your sales and marketing funnel. 3. Forming communities within cohort based courses: Lean into debatable topics where your students have a chance to share their thoughts and learn from each other. Empower community members to connect without you jumping in all the time to answer. Create a culture where the students feel comfortable giving direct and genuine feedback. Notable Quotes: 1. “Cohort based courses are more engaging and active in learning versus passive content consumption” 2. “With the cohort based course, once you realize that you don't have to do it all yourself, that's where the sky parts and new opportunities open up” 3. “Course based courses allow students to connect without you as an instructor needing to be the center of that. Acknowledging that letting go of the reins results in better outcomes, more connections, deeper bonds, and relationships amongst yours.” 4. “So I think one of the most exciting things about cohort-based courses is that there's the flexibility for you to make it what you want it to be” Answers to rapid-fire questions: 1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would that food be? Zucchini 2. What's your favorite book to give as a gift or recommend to others? It's Not Personal by Alice Katz 3. What is your favorite course that you've ever been a part of? Alive OS by Suzy Batiz 4. Who in the world of community would you most like to take out? Mister Rogers 5. What's the weirdest community you've ever been a part of? A plant shaming group on Facebook 6. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed today, and you had to condense all of your life lessons into one piece of advice for the rest of the world, what would that advice be? Worry less
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