Tricks of the Trade: Choosing Your Class Topic

Teaching on Skillshare is a great way to share your knowledge, build your brand, and make your community a better place. With back-to-school season in full swing, September is the perfect time to create an engaging class and share your knowledge with the Skillshare community.

All Skillshare classes are project-based, giving students the chance to practice their new skills and create something to share with the community. We recommend building a class topic around a class project that will inspire students to take your class and get them excited to create something.

This  month, get started on creating your very own Skillshare class by choosing an engaging class topic.  We know that finding  the perfect class topic can be challenging, so we gathered key  insights from  Skillshare teachers and put together a few techniques and proven tactics to help you pinpoint the right class topic.

General Tips

Since all classes on Skillshare include a class project, think about what you’d like to teach your students to create. As Skillshare teacher Jake Bartlett says, “the best way to entice students is through a project that motivates them to take your class.” Focused class topics tend to be the most popular among the Skillshare community, so we recommend thinking up a specialized topic that will teach students a distinct skill and offer a deep dive on a single topic. Here is a great example: Mary Kate McDevitt focuses her hand-lettering class specifically on vintage lettering.

Jenn Coyle

“Class topics come easily—as follow-up questions from students! The most important thing to being a teacher is listening to your students and finding out what their pain points are. Whether you choose to address a question directly in an entire class or answer a question as part of a larger topic, you will be successful teaching a class that is created in response to a student question. If you're new to Skillshare entirely, listen to questions within your niche. Scour the comment sections in blog posts, videos, and Q&A sites like Quora.”

Phil Ebiner

“For my first few online classes, I just taught what I loved talking about without worrying much about if it was 'the most popular' topic. That way, I learned the ropes with how to actually teach through video. After putting together a handful of courses, I began to look at the marketplace to see what other courses did really well. I noticed that on Skillshare, project-specific classes do really well. So I started doing shorter after effects-based courses that teach a very specific skill or technique.”

Jake Bartlett

“The class project is absolutely the most important part of having a successful skillshare class. Yes, you should be knowledgeable in the subject matter and able to clearly and concisely teach students, but the way to entice students is through a project that motivates them to take your class. Finding a way to teach a skill students want to learn through an exciting project students want to create, is a surefire way to become a successful Skillshare teacher.”

Still Stumped?

We've put together a list of some of the most in demand topics right now to get you started.

Freelance Classes

-Working with Clients: How to follow Creative Briefs

-Freelancing for Creatives: How to Effectively Manage Your Time

-Freelance Best Practices: How to find the Right Clients

Creative Entrepreneurship

-Designing a Shopify page in Photoshop

-Squarespace Design Best Practices

-Branding your Online Shop

Animation + Motion Graphics

-2D Animation & 3D Animation

-Game Design in Unity

- Animated 3D Paint Strokes in Adobe After Effects

-Animate a Character illustration in Cinema 4D

Web Design

-Principles of Landing Page Design

-Rapid Prototyping Using Sketch

-CSS Grid Layout

-Lean UX

-Mobile Design

Photography + Videography

-Portraiture

-Film Photography Basics

-LightRoom Retouching Techniques

-Product Photography

-Digital/Social Media Photography

-DSLR Fundamentals

Teach Challenge

Join our September Teach Challenge! With milestones at every stage helpful reminders, we’ll keep you on track and make sure you have the support you need to create an amazing class in 30 days.  One Skillshare teacher will be awarded with an iPad Mini and will also be featured in a community-wide email to over 1M students. Plus, every teacher who successfully completes the challenge will receive a free year of Premium Membership. Head to our Teacher Handbookfor even more insightful tips and best practices for choosing a class topic.