For years, I must admit, close acquaintances have been digging their elbows ever harder for me to create an online ESL presence.
Until recently, I have been guilty of undue reticence and perfunctory replies about getting round to it one fine day.
One major factor was my lack of computer coding skills, but this excuse is now obselete, since there are now platforms such as WordPress that I use for my blog, where the nerds (I don’t really mean that) have done all the hard work, and all the user need care about is learn the basic functions and get on with creating.
And don’t this isn’t the case in China, either!
This very summer, I have noticed a stark contrast to consumer behaviour in the ESL industry. A year ago, based only on personal experience, I would say the main format for study was still face to face in the classroom, and the summer holiday was the time parents filled their children’s schedules with extra classes and hobby lessons, keeping them occupied at least, sometimes even entertained, morning till’ night. Chongqing is packed with camps, schools and tutors all vying to take them in.
However, this year feels markedly different.
Fewer people seem to be knocking on doors and consulting on Wechat, but rather whipping out the iPads, logging onto an online study platform, and actually paying less overall for students to take HD quality courses remotely in the comfort of their own homes.
Out and about, I see advertisements for all the big name ESL players offer both classroom and online based learning everywhere. Obviously, whoever doesn’t keep up with the times will be swept to the wayside by the wave of cyber education trends, like it or not.
As a result, I have made a big decision.
My aim over the next year is to record all the courses I have taught in the past, upload them onto a online Chinese education platform called Renrenjiang, then transfer my time and energy to other industries I’m involved in.
Like WordPress, Renrenjiang offers an application and website that requries zero coding or technical expertise other than the subject you teach. You create the content, marketing pitch and however much financial reward you’d like to reap.
I have taken my first tentative steps of setting up my first courses, but now I must the hard part, overcome the strangeness of recording myself in front of a potential virtual audience through my Macbook screen, whilst consciously trying not to stutter, cough, wipe my nose, slurp beverages, and repressing mannerisms I never noticed before pushing the replay button! In other words, try to look good and sound good for the camera and audience without looking a dork!
It’s a challenge, believe me! At least with a blog, the personality in the flesh hides behind the words.
Anyhow, I’d like to invite anybody interested to follow me on this journey with the link below. All you need do is download the app called Renrenjiang in English using the QR code below, or go on the website renrenjiang.cn. The interface is in Chinese, so I might add a few extra steps later once I’ve figured it out myself.
Of course, I’d love any thoughts or comments, for better or worse!
The left QR is for downloading the app. The right is an invitation for my first course. New Concept English 4!