Teacher Guidelines

Getting Started

Getting Started

How do Equip Lab courses work? Equip Lab courses are practical and designed to help students learn actionable new skills in the real world. Focusing on ministry skills and personal growth skills, popular topics include sermon preparation, leadership, and parenting among many more.

On Equip Lab, students watch courses at their own pace. As a teacher, you’ll be able to facilitate this unique learning experience by understanding our core pedagogy: Courses should be practical and focused. 

Equip Lab courses will be 20-120 minutes long in general with lessons broken down into shorter video clips ranging from 3-10 minutes each. Rather than having a general course that touches on several topics, Equip Lab encourages teachers to really narrow the focus of your course so that the content is highly specific. This allows students to be focused on your topic and makes courses more digestible.

Watch our full course about How to Make an Amazing Equip Lab Course.

How to Become a Successful Teacher

There are four P’s to teaching on EquipLab that will make you a successful teacher: Plan, Produce, Publish, and Promote

  • Plan: Choose your course topic and outline your video lessons.
  • Produce: Use our recommended equipment as well as interesting backgrounds and angles to bring your course topic to life.
  • Publish: Send your video to us at Equip Lab.
  • Promote: Tell your friends, family, church community, and your social channels about your course!
Course Quality Guidelines

We want every student who takes a course on Equip Lab to have a wonderful experience. That’s why course quality matters. 

Why should quality matter for you, the teacher? Teachers earn money when students watch their course. The more minutes students watch, the more money teachers earn.  So the better your course is, the more revenue you can earn!

High-quality courses take time and effort to create, but it’s well worth the effort! What do we mean by high-quality? A high-quality course: 

  • Is Authentic and Practical
    • Courses at their core are educational. Courses help students expand their knowledge. As such, courses may not consist simply of a walkthrough, review, or demo of a certain website or tool without any added knowledge-based value from the teacher.  Courses that guarantee or promise a specific outcome or are geared primarily toward helping students achieve a static or monetary reward (e.g. follower count on a platform, a specific income) are not permitted.
  • Meets Equip Lab standards for A/V quality
    • The audio in your course must be clear and easy to understand, without distracting background noises. The video must be steady and high resolution; i.e. not blurry or pixelated.
  • Meets Minimum Standards for Length
    • Courses must be a minimum of 20 minutes in length. You can add new courses as often as you’d like.
  • Adheres to Community Guidelines 
    • Equip Lab takes the safety of our community seriously, which means all courses must meet our community guidelines. Teachers must be the primary content producer behind their courses, post legal content, and interact with students and members of the Equip Lab team with respect. Teachers may not add courses that are available for free outside of EquipLab. 
  • Includes an Introduction Video
    • Introduction videos let students know what they’re about to learn and provide teachers with an opportunity to share their experience and background. Students need to understand why they should trust you. This is your chance to tell them. This is also a great marketing tool and helps students decide if they want to take your course, so make sure you think about your introduction video carefully!
  • Has Well-Organized Content
    • Organization is the backbone of any great course. Courses must be based upon a lesson plan or course outline. This will help you to keep your course concise and avoid losing focus.
  • Includes an Interesting Visual Presentation
    • Equip Lab recommends teachers film the course using at least two camera angles so that the final video will keep students’ attention. Your course should contain varied visuals throughout. For example, include on-screen text and example images or switch between talking head shots and slides. Talking head shots need to be well-lit with professional backdrops. Slides need to be well-structured and visually-appealing. Avoid rambling, ums, or excessive pauses.
  • Shares Value
    • You should impart expertise through tips, best practices, frameworks, concepts, theory, and/or examples. Your experience and insight is the most valuable thing you have to share!
  • Is Taught Clearly
    • Your teaching should be clear, professional, authentic, and engaging.

Planning Your Course

Planning Your Course

Planning is the first and most important part of creating your Equip Lab course. This is when you decide on your topic and organize your thoughts. Great planning makes production faster and easier. If you put the time into planning at the start, the whole course creation process will go more smoothly!

Choosing Your Course Topic

You can teach any topic you’re passionate about and our students are always eager to learn from new teachers who bring a unique style and perspective. All topics are welcome and as Equip Lab grows, so does our audience.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when you’re deciding what to teach:

Get Specific.

It’s best to keep your course focused on a specific subject that you know well and are confident about sharing. Being specific will differentiate your course from other courses of a similar topic. Along with being specific, keep your course short (we typically recommend between 20-60 minutes), focused, and manageable. 

Ask yourself: “What would I have loved to learn when I was new to this?”

Thinking back to the early days is a great way to put yourself in your students’ shoes. What did you find difficult? Not only will this give you a topic you know a lot about, it will help ensure you find an audience that’s hungry to learn it.

Producing Your Course

Producing Your Course

If you’ve never produced video content before, this aspect of course-making might feel intimidating. But several Equip Lab teachers have been where you are right now and have gone on to create stunning content, at home, all on their own. You can too!

Teach With Confidence

The most important part of producing a great course is teaching with confidence. Having solid equipment is important, but ultimately the thing that matters most is you: the teacher.

The best teachers are clear, confident, and relaxed in front of the camera. Don’t be afraid to smile, speak casually, gesticulate, and show your personality! Students love seeing a teacher have fun — there’s no need for your course to feel formal. 

Appearing comfortable may not come easily to everyone and that’s okay. Here are some tips and tricks for bringing a comfortable vibe to your course. 

  • Use your hands as you would when talking to a friend. Think of it as a conversation rather than a lecture. 
  • Look directly into the camera as you would if you were speaking to a friend. Better yet, imagine you are speaking to someone specific that you know would enjoy learning what you have to teach. 
  • Speak clearly and naturally. Keep your pace moderate and allow your tone to go up and down. Don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm and excitement! 
  • Avoid distracting “ums” and “ahs.” These often sneak in inadvertently, so just do a quick retake if you notice them, or edit them out later. 
  • Continually refer back to your outline to ensure you’re sticking to talking points rather than rambling or getting off-track. 
  • Don’t forget to smile! Smiling is one of the easiest and fastest ways to set a friendly, relaxed, and comfortable tone for your course. 

Keep this in mind as you film and you can go far on Equip Lab!

Equipment

Having the right equipment is important for producing a high-quality course. But this equipment doesn’t need to break the bank. Let’s start off with the first aspect of your high quality production: audio.

Audio

Without high quality audio, your video quality won’t matter. The good news: getting high quality audio is cheap and easy!

Lav Mic

A lavalier microphone or lavalier (also known as a lav, lapel mic, clip mic, body mic) is a small and powerful microphone that is perfect for picking up clear audio. This is always the first piece of audio equipment we recommend! You can get a lav mic as cheap as $15, and they are both durable and easy to use. They clip right onto your clothes so you don’t have to feel tethered to a cord and can back away from the camera to get a beautifully framed image.

Snowball Mic

The Snowball USB microphone is perfect for recording and streaming on your desktop and is great at capturing high-quality audio. These microphones are a little more expensive as they tend to run $50, but it’s durable and very easy to use.

Lighting

Good lighting is very important. If you have good natural light, you can easily use a regular phone, or low-cost camera and get good video. If you have poor lighting, even using a fancier camera might result in grainy, low-quality video. 

No matter what camera you’re working with, natural light is key. The more natural light you have, the less you’ll need to supplement with artificial lights, and the better your footage will look. Shoot in locations with plenty of natural light whenever possible. 

Here are some quick tips to help you work with natural lighting when you have windows present:

  1. Position yourself so that the window is to your side and not directly behind you. This will cast a shadow on one side of your face, which can create a nice “falloff,” just make sure the shadow isn’t high contrast. Being directly in front of a window will create a silhouette, with the background brighter than the foreground.

Bounce the light. If you find that the contrast is too high (the “falloff”), use a white poster board or sheet to bounce the light from the window to the opposite side of your face. Photography reflectors are the official tool for this purpose and are generally inexpensive.

Teaching Approach

The best approach for you will depend on your topic and the style that you think will best serve your content and audience. Many teachers use a mixture of approaches in a single course.

Screencast

Screencasting is a great way to demonstrate your workflow or share slides. If your entire course is a screencast, you’ll need to pay close attention to pacing, the quality of your voiceover, and the quality of the visual experience to keep your course engaging and interesting throughout.

Preparing to Record a Screencast

  • Set your resolution: Equip Lab’s video player uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, so you’ll want to make sure everything you record (your screen and your slides) match the same ratio. Head to System Preferences > Display on a Mac or Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization on a PC to change your screen resolution to 1280 x 720 or above.
  • Make your slides (if you are using slides): Some great tools are Google Slides (free), Canva (free), Powerpoint ($6.99/month), Keynote ($19.99), and Prezi ($10/month). Be sure to add lots of high-resolution images to keep students engaged. 
  • Set up your audio: We recommend using a USB microphone like the Snowball to record the audio for your screencasts. Don’t forget to keep the mic as close to your mouth as possible and record in a quiet space.
  • Vary your visuals: To keep students engaged, switch up your slides and screencast visuals every once in a while.

Screencasting on a Mac

If you are just running through slides or a software demo with minimal editing, Quicktime is the simplest way to record and edit your course for free. 

  • Option 2: Quicktime + IMovie (Free)

If you need to do a little more editing, like adding a visual asset to the middle of your screen capture, we recommend capturing your footage in Quicktime and importing into iMovie to edit. 

Camtasia is recommended for recording a screencast and editing, all in one program.

Screencasting on a PC

A free solution for capturing and editing your screen and webcam footage.

While this option is a little pricier if you have a PC, Camtasia is a good all-in-one solution. 

 

Talking Head 

A “talking-head” style video works well for introductions, to keep your videos personal and engaging. Mixing talking-head with a screencast will keep your course varied and visually compelling. We still suggest switching up visuals in some way every 30 seconds or so, to keep students engaged.

In addition to the microphone you’ll need for screencasting, you’ll also need a camera and good lighting to shoot talking head videos. Review the previous section for our recommendations.

 

Physical Demonstration

Sometimes, observation is the best way to learn. If you want to physically demonstrate a process or technique for students, you’ll need to think about the best way to capture your demonstration on film. You can use a tripod to position your camera overhead, or use a drafting table to raise your work surface for an angled shot.

Preparing to Film

Once you have your outline; know what style you’ll be using to teach your course (screencasting, sharing slides, talking-head, physical demonstration, or a combination); you have your camera, audio, and lighting set up; and you’re feeling confident, here are some final tips before you start recording:  

  • Practice: Practicing once or twice will help you relax, get more familiar with your content, and will allow you to move through your information more fluidly once the camera starts rolling. If you want to make your practice round a little more like the real thing, grab a friend or family member and have them watch. 
  • Get Your Assets Ready: If you have photos, slides, physical materials, b-roll, or anything else you need for your course, gather it all up before film day.
  • Remove Distractions: Make sure there are no distracting visuals or sounds in the background. If you’re using a screencast, clean up your computer’s desktop and turn off any notifications before you start recording. If you’re using talking-head, clean up your actual desktop and make sure your set reflects and enhances the quality of your course.
  • Smile for the camera: Take a picture or video in your filming area to use for video thumbnails and other materials — it’s easier than trying to find a good still-shot later (trust us!).
Editing

Editing your course video footage is straightforward, provided you have the right tools. Most computers have built-in, user-friendly editing software. If yours doesn’t or you’re looking for some guidance, here is a list of our favorite free and low-cost tools. 

Easy-To-Use Video Editing Software 

Mac

PC

 

Editing Basics

Check out this video for some quick editing tips: Editing 101 with Vimeo.

Four Easy Steps

  1. Transfer your footage
    1. Use a USB cable or memory card reader.
  2. Import your footage
    1. Once your footage is transferred to your computer, open your editing software and import all your raw video footage.
  3. Cut + edit your footage
    1. Drag footage to your timeline and cut out “ums” and any bad takes. Don’t forget to save frequently. You don’t want to lose all of your progress!
  4. Export and publish
    1. Find the export menu in your editing software and select HD 1080 or 720.
Exporting and Uploading

To ensure a smooth uploading process, refer to these basic video specifications before diving into filming.

Video Specifications

  • Videos should be recorded at a minimum resolution of 1920×1080
  • Videos must include an audio track
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio for slides + video format 
  • Frame rate should be either 24 or 30 fps
  • If you’re filming with a handheld device, always go for the highest quality available 

Once you’ve wrapped up with filming, follow these exporting specifications from your editing software to make uploading your course videos easy. Note that you will need to place your videos in a google drive or dropbox folder to make them shareable with the Equip Lab team. 

 

Exporting Specifications

  • Video bit rate of at least 300 kbits/second (3000-5000 kbits/second is ideal)
  • Videos should not be greater than 2GB in size
  • Use .mp4 when exporting your video files
  • Video compression format: H.264 
  • Audio codec: AAC-LC

Promoting Your Course

Promoting Your Course

Woohoo! Your Equip Lab course is live on the site! Promoting it will help you build a following and start earning revenue. Invite your friends, family, colleagues, and social media followers to take your course!

Course Marketing

A Note on Earning Revenue

You can earn revenue in two ways on Equip Lab: through a 55/45 rev share on single purchases (where 55% goes to you, teacher), and through royalties you accrue based on the minutes watched in your course (for more details, visit the Earning Revenue section). In both cases, the more people you reach with your course promotion, the more potential revenue you can earn.

Using Your Marketing Channels

Are you worried that you don’t have much of an online following? Don’t be! Read below for the steps we recommend taking to successfully market your course as a first-time teacher without an online presence. (Note: If you do have an online presence, you’re in great shape! But keep reading — these tips will work well for you, too.)

  • Email your friends, family, and colleagues about your course.
    Ask your closest community to support you. Be honest and transparent that their support will go a long way towards helping you establish credibility and will kickstart your success as a teacher.

  • Use your social media channels to promote your course.
    Announce your new course launch on all of your social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, TikTok, etc. Try posting a teaser video or cool pre-launch announcement image. The more places you share your course, the better (regardless of how few connections you have on these platforms). Include an engaging image in your post or even one of your course videos. Follow up with another post a few days after your launch to remind your followers to check out your course.

  • Permanently feature a link to your Equip Lab course(s) on your website, blog, or anywhere else you live online. This is one of the easiest ways to continually attract new students, forever.

  • Reach out to blogs, influencers, and organizations who might be interested in featuring your course. Perhaps your friends don’t share your passion. Find people who do! Do some research to identify 5-10 blogs, organizations, or individuals with a strong social presence who you think might be interested in sharing your course with their own community. 

 

  • If you have one, leverage your email newsletter. One of the best ways to increase your referrals is by creating an email newsletter list and emailing your subscribers directly when you publish a new course. This is a way to capture connections that may not already be Equip Lab students. Direct messaging paired with a simple call to action (i.e. “Take my Equip Lab course!”) has helped a lot of teachers take their referrals to the next level.  

Additional Marketing Ideas from Successful Teachers

Looking for more ways to market your course and grow your following? Our most successful teachers use many different tactics to get the word out about their courses. Here are some ideas:

  1. Post a free video lesson to Youtube. Optimize for search and discovery by including key search words in the video title. And be sure to link back to your Equip Lab course.

  2. Put your courselink in your email signature. This way, anyone you communicate with via email will have a chance to check out your Equip Lab courses.

  3. Share your course with your LinkedIn connections by exporting your contacts and sending a personalized email blast to all relevant connections.

Earning Revenue

Earning Revenue

Start earning recurring revenue from your course! Learn more about the breakdown in the section below about how earning works.

How Earning Works

Equip Lab offers students two primary ways to access course materials:

  1. Single, a-la-carte-purchases 
    1. Courses will be priced depending on length and quality and in agreement with the teacher. Note that we will be encouraging subscriptions and not single purchases with our on-site marketing.
  2. Subscription model
    1. Individuals subscriptions will be available in monthly and yearly payment installments ($15/mo and $159/yr)
    2. Team subscriptions will also be available in monthly and yearly payment installments ($12/mo per seat)

 

What a teacher could expect revenue-wise from posting your course on Equip Lab:

  1. 55/45 rev share on single purchases (55% goes to teachers) for a $49 course a teacher would get $26.95 per individual sale
  2. A percentage of revenue from subscriptions based on the number of views your course receives

Building Your Presence on Equip Lab

Your Next Course

The best way to build your presence and success on Equip Lab is to regularly add new courses to the platform. Each new course you publish is an opportunity to engage your existing students, capture new ones, and compound your monthly revenue. Teaching multiple courses will not only help you grow your earnings, but will also make the learning experience even more comprehensive and engaging for your students. Bonus: the more you teach, the better you’ll become at teaching! 

We recommend publishing a new course once every 2-6 months to strategically space out your publishing cadence so that each of your courses is able to reach maximum engagement.

Your Vision

As you grow your Equip Lab channel, we encourage you to think about your long-term vision for teaching. Answering the following questions will help you narrow in on a brand for your channel:

  • How would you describe your skill-set or approach? 
  • What topic areas have worked best so far? 
  • What does your student profile look like? Who is your target student/audience?
  • How do you want students to feel when taking your courses?
  • What are a few words you want your audience to associate with your content?

If you write 2-3 sentences based on the prompts above, you’ll have a guiding star as you write your profile and come up with topics for future courses.

Your Next Course Topic

It may seem counterintuitive, but teaching on a wide variety of topics can actually works against you when it comes to building and maintaining an audience on Equip Lab. When students associate you with a particular topic or category, they’re more likely to come back to you when they’re ready to learn more. For example, if your first course is on hospitality ministry, the students you attract will be interested in that topic. If your next course is on a related topic, you’ll have a good chance of pulling those same students back in to learn more. On the other hand, if your next course is totally unrelated, you may find yourself building a new audience from scratch. 

Sometimes the hardest part of consistent teaching is coming up with that next great topic. Here are some ideas that can help.

  1. Analyze What’s Working: Look at your existing courses, social media posts, and anywhere else you share your work or ideas. What topics or techniques have received the most engagement? Lean into content that already resonates with your audience to engage your existing following and attract new students.

  2. Survey Your Following: Surveying your following both on and off of Equip Lab is a great way to discover your next course topic.

  3. Conduct Research: Spend some time researching emerging trends or skills in your content area.

Here is a helpful framework for planning out your next few course topics:

 

Course Topic 

Film Date 

Publish Date

Course 1 

 

 

 

Course 2

 

 

 

Course 3