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howtocbc Pulse: Tech Stack for your Cohort Based Course

howtocbc Pulse: Tech Stack for your Cohort Based Course
By howtocbc • Issue #6 • View online
Hi everybody!
Delivering a transformational learning experience for your students in a Cohort Based Course requires well defined Learner Outcomes 💥, effective application of Active Learning 🏃 techniques and a stellar community 👯
Modern tech tooling ⚙️ takes these time-tested teaching methods and puts them on overdrive.
In this letter, we help you find the right tech stack for your course so that you can deliver outstanding results for your students in the most seamless manner.

What ⚙️ tools do you need to run your Cohort Based Course?
Here are the 5 main categories of software tools you’ll need to successfully run your Cohort Based Course.
Content Creation
  • An important step when designing the course is building the curriculum. The tools can vary depending on the type of media used to produce content, all the way from videos to GIFs to documents and everything in between.
  • Example: Google Doc, Loom, Canva, Adobe Premiere
🎥 Video Conference
  • This is where your students will gather around for live sessions. Ideally go with one of the tools that most of your students are familiar with.
  • Example : Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams
🏫 Central Course Hub
  • Course Dashboard: This is where your students can access all course related information. Be it links to the hosted curriculum, schedule of all sessions, profile of mentors and cohort members, links to recordings of past sessions etc, it should ideally all be accessible from one single place.
  • Example: Maven, Circle, Podia, Discolearn
File Storage: Most of these platforms do not support uploading large files. Upload files to YouTube, Vimeo, Dropbox or Google Drive.
👯 Community 
  • One place where the students, course ops team, mentors, teaching assistants and the instructors can hangout and interact freely. 
  • Example: Slack, Discord, Telegram
📝 Marketing & Logistics
  • All other tools you’ll need to market your course, manage payments and handle internal operations.
  • Example: Trello, Twitter, Stripe, Paypal
🔦 How to Choose the Right Tech Stack for Your Cohort Based Course
A lot of the tech tools will be specific to the subject you are teaching. If you’re teaching a CBC on online stock trading, having access to an online trading account is a must for your students. 
In addition to infrastructural factors  specific to your course, here are 3 main factors  to consider while choosing the tech stack for your CBC.
📈 Phase of your CBC
If you’re in the idea / validation phase of CBC, we recommend using free no-code tools that do a ‘good enough’ job to get you started. Prioritise your core value proposition and student outcomes over using more sophisticated tooling. 
Once you run a few cohorts and get student feedback you can incorporate more advanced tools as needed. This takes the pressure off you in the beginning, as well as lowers on-boarding time for your students.
👩‍🎓 Your Student Profile
Go where your audience is. While choosing tools for use-cases like community, go with something that your audience is already familiar with. Avoid wasting time onboarding your students to a completely new tool that they’re unfamiliar with.
If your students are teenagers or web3 enthusiasts, your community tool had better be Discord. 
On the other hand, if you expect your audience not to be tech savvy, then go gentle with your range of tools, and choose options like WhatsApp, Telegram or Facebook groups. 
Students taking a technology course would need to get familiar with a tool like Slack that is a widely used communication tool in tech companies.
Similarly, make payments, video conferencing and access to content as frictionless as possible. 
💰 Your Budget
If you’re a beginner CBC creator validating your CBC idea / market, save your money 💲 and use free no-code tools or freemium products to run the first few cohorts.
Slowly, as you gain momentum, keep adding more feature rich products suitable for your course delivery requirements.
For example, Notion and Google Drive do just fine for your first cohort, but as you scale and start doing more frequent cohorts, it would be a good idea to move your content repositories to a Central Course Hub as mentioned above.
🔥 Minimum Viable CBC Tech Stack
When conducting your first Cohort Based Course, we recommend that you get started with a simple no-code stack that will cost you a grand total of 0$ per month. Here are our recommendations. 
The table below shows the tools used by us at howtocbc and other popular Cohort Based Courses.
For an exhaustive list of tools used by CBC creators - both beginner and advanced - click below.
Tech Stack for Cohort Based Courses - howtocbc.com - Google Sheets
Tips
⏲️ Ensure that all your students are completely onboarded to all the tools you will be using during the course before you begin the course. The learning curve for getting comfortable with tools is to be accounted for separately in addition to the subject/topic you intend to teach in your CBC.
💲 Many of the more sophisticated tools come with either a freemium version or a free trial period, which you can avail to see if the service works for you and your students. Be aware that the free versions are generally feature restricted. So take that into account when planning your sessions.
🎯 Remember, the goal of using tech tools is always to deliver the best outcomes for your learners. NOT to showcase your tech skills. Use technology to make the learning journey smoother, richer and more rewarding. If a certain tool causes frustration for your students, rethink its use immediately. 
One more thing…
Applications for our next cohort are open. 
Come join us and learn how to design an unforgettable and impactful Cohort Based Course for your students.
Share with a friend or a colleague who might benefit from the program.
See you next time!
Team howtocbc
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