Recommendations and rationale for each of the 12 levers of the Course Mechanics Canvas
The Course Mechanics Canvas (invented by Wes Kao) is a useful framework to help provide structure to the decisions you have to make as a course creator.
There's no "formula" for a successful cohort-based course. But, luckily, Maven has advised hundreds of instructors and learned what works/what doesn't. Here's what we recommend for your first cohort on Maven:
12 levers of course mechanics
3 live 90-min sessions over 1 week
4 live 90-min sessions over 2 weeks
This is the current average price of courses on Maven. Price depends on:
You might be wondering: does length affect price? The answer: only a little. The average price of a 1-week course is $450 and 6-weeks is $650. The longer course is more expensive, but it's not 6x more expensive.
Aim for 5-25 to start (No maximum cohort size)
Medium: ~4 hours/week
Students want to feel like they got a lot in a short amount of time (high ROI), especially if they work full-time. 4-5 hours/week is just right for a busy professional. Your students' weekly commitment might be:
Here’s a sample 1-week course schedule:
By the way, Maven makes it easy to automate calendar invites & recordings. If your student misses a session, the recording will be automatically uploaded into the Home schedule.
High: 1 project per week
Projects don't need to be time-consuming to be effective. You could assign a simple 5-min written reflection on the students' main takeaways and how they'll apply it. Or ask them to record a 5-min Loom explaining a concept in their own words.
Projects are a key differentiator for cohort-based courses that you don't get in video-based or self-paced learning. They provide structure, accountability, and feedback for students.
Maven makes it easy for instructors to create projects and for students to submit it & get peer feedback. Learn more here.
High: maximize this
The top-rated cohort-based courses are community-driven. How to facilitate community-building:
Depends on your cohort size
You might want to consider contracting a coach or TA if:
A coach or TA can help with Zoom moderation, community management, and facilitating small group discussions.
Your students will be excited to learn from YOU. Here are ways you can create an amazing student experience:
Don't worry about creating beautiful slides and seamless transitions. Focus on creating an amazing and engaging student experience. You can always work out the kinks in your future cohorts.
Here are a few high reward/low lift ways to improve your production value:
Use it if you have it
Pre-recorded content and curated resources are great for knowledge transfer, so students feel more prepared for projects and exercises. If you have pre-recorded content, then definitely include it in your syllabus.
If you don't have any existing content, don't worry. You can curate the best resources on your topic. 90% of college professors teach this way, and we recommend it for everyone.
In the Maven syllabus builder, you can upload Resources and Videos to modules. You can link to any video on the internet.
We recommend a direct pay course (no application) to maximize conversion. Applications can create more friction for students to enroll.
One benefit of an application is more control over quality. For example, if your course is for CEOs, then you can filter and be more selective.
Our recommendation is to keep it simple: no application. If you want to set up applications, here's how.
5-6x a year
Most Maven instructors run multiple times a year. Running a 1-week course 6x a year allows you to iterate and improve faster, build a regular marketing cadence, and take advantage of word-of-mouth from happy students.
Intro to the Course Mechanics Canvas (Wes Kao)