As Covid-19 has more and more of an impact around the world, we're strongly recommending our clients consider teaching some of their classes online.
There are two ways to teach classes online - first, through our Zoom integration. If you use Zoom, please visit this article.
This document explains how to use Punchpass with an online streaming provider other than Zoom or if you wish to add Zoom links manually. It's not quite as slick...but will work!
A High Level Overview...
You will still use Punchpass to manage your class reservations. But for each class you decide to teach online, you will need to create a link customers can use to view your class (more on that below). Then you'll need to add that link to the specific class in Punchpass. Then it's time to turn on your webcam, and start teaching - we'll handle the rest! Let's get started....
Step 1 - Modify the class name/description to highlight it's Online
Decide if you want to teach an existing class online OR create entirely new classes. We recommend changing the title of the class to include 'Online' or something similar.
We ALSO strongly recommend you add a 'Location' that is something like 'Online Class' or 'In Studio OR Online'. You can change the Location of any individual class by editing it. Click here to learn how to add a Location.
Step 2 - Create the Link To Join Online
Before the class starts, you need to create a link for them to join. This varies depending on the software you are using (see the FAQ below for more info). We'll use Skype for this example:
Then you need to find the meeting URL - this varies from product to product. You may also want to find the password if the product supports passwords.
Step 3 - Add That URL To Punchpass
For single class links:
Copy that URL, and go to the specific class you want to teach online from the Schedule. Click the Actions dropdown to Edit the class. At the bottom, mark the class as 'Online' and add the URL (also the password if customers will need it). Then we will include that URL (and password) in any email communication with the customers who register, AND we will email them the link again 20-30 minutes before the class starts.
For recurring class links:
If you set up a recurring meeting and want to use the same link/password for each class, head to Manage Classes, click on the Class name and click on Manage the Schedule:
Then, next to the classtime, click Edit:
Scroll to Turn Class into online class and toggle this classtime to Online, then add the link and the password (if you require a password). Then click Save Online Class Status to finish. Your classtime will now be a recurring online class with that saved link (and password).
Step 4 - 5 Minutes before class....start the meeting/online class and Teach!
You will need to start your meetings from the service you are using (Skype in this example). We recommend starting the class maybe 10 minutes beforehand, so you can be online to chit chat, welcome people, etc. Most of these online meeting tools have a way to 'mute' participants, which we recommend you do during the class.
Step 5 - Mark All Reservations as Attended
Finally, simply take attendance in Punchpass by marking all reservations as attended (if you accept reservations.) If the software you use allows you to record the class, we recommend doing so and sending a link to the recording to everyone who registered. That way you can mark them as attending even if they weren't there 'live'.
Finally....Just Get Started
This sort of thing can seem a bit overwhelming at first. We recommend trying a 'test' class with a few of your closest customers before your start publicizing it to everyone. See what works, and what doesn't. Ask for feedback! We think you'll find people are very understanding - with everything that is happening they know that you are doing the best you can.
PLEASE don't hesitate to ask us for help on how to get started!! 🙏
A Note To Bedrock Clients
We've made an enhancement to your Punchpass plan in response to the current crisis.
You can now offer your classes online more easily. We've just expanded your access to include online reservations and automated email reminders from Punchpass.
The addition of reservations to the Bedrock plan is a temporary measure that we've made to give you some relief at this challenging moment. Your plan will return to normal when the crisis has passed. There will be no change to the cost of your plan right now.
What software product should I use?
We specifically recommend Zoom. It's the most reliable, and very easy to use. It's free for anyone to download, and very easy for your customers to join a meeting (we use the term meeting/class interchangeably here). Plus there is a FREE Zoom plan so you can test this out. It allows meetings up to 40 minutes in length. Recording is not as easy - so if this works well and you plan on recording all your classes, we recommend their lowest priced plan, which is $14.99/month. Click here to learn how Punchpass integrates directly with Zoom!
Do I need any special equipment?
A webcam, but that isn't very special anymore! Most laptops have one built into the lid. A smartphone should do the trick as well.
Should I teach the class completely online? Or just have an online version of my in-person classes?
Whatever works for you. You may find that some customers are more reluctant to come to class than others (they may be more at risk for example). You can literally just put a chair with an extension cord in front of you when you teach, and let people 'attend' the class online if you want. Keep it simple to start!
Should I change the class I teach?
If you are going to be teaching a class that is ONLY online, then we recommend you think about modifying your class. You need to consider....
- Is an hour long class too much? 30 minutes with 5 minutes social time before or after might be better. Shorter classes might be more successful when attendees are viewing from afar.
- Your customers might not have much space at home. And if a class normally requires specialized equipment, you should make adjustments for folks who won't have access to that equipment at home. If your students generally borrow mats and props at your studio you may want to offer them an extended loan for their home practice during your closure.
- Smaller online classes might offer more of the personal feel you're looking for. So, depending on the type of class you offer, you might reduce the number of students who can book.
- On the other hand teaching classes online allows you to accommodate more participants without worrying about fitting them all into your studio so you may find you can open your sessions to more students than normal.
- You will not be able to monitor individual participants as you normally would. You can't see and adjust students when you're teaching class from afar.
- You should not slash prices for classes that you offer online. You don't want to undervalue your service now or in the future. Your classes still take the same amount of effort, and you are worth it!
- Setting expectations is key. The experience of attending a class from home is not the same as attending in person. It's best to be up front about why you have decided to offer this service. Your students will understand and appreciate your honesty and your willingness to put yourself out there.