New instructors wanted

Teach with us

Get paid for helping others learn new skills.

Why teach on HeatSpring?

  • Share Your Knowledge

    More than 100k professionals have used HeatSpring for career development.

  • Inspire Thousands

    2,055,485 lessons have been completed in HeatSpring courses.

  • Get Paid

    Instructors earn 40–60% of course proceeds.

Illustration the teach process

How it works

  1. 1

    Become a HeatSpring instructor

    Fill in the application form and we’ll help you get started. Alternatively you can create a HeatSpring account and start building a course on your own.

  2. 2

    Build a course

    Build an original course following our standards. We recommend starting with a shorter free course to get a hang of things and then building a more comprehensive paid course.

  3. 3

    Submit your course for review

    We will evaluate your course and provide feedback. Once your course is approved, it will be published and can be discovered on the HeatSpring platform. Start promoting your own course and earn extra revenue from paid courses by joining our affiliate program.

  4. 4

    Manage your course and earn

    Answer questions on the discussion board, review student assignments and follow reviews. Running a course requires a bit of your time, but is otherwise completely free. HeatSpring handles customer support, hosting fees and payment processing.

Building and managing a course

Building a course in HeatSpring is simple. The key is to have good quality audio and video production and the rest is easy. We can help you get started or you can try it out on your own.

  • Video assignment

    Video lectures are the main content of any course.

  • Text assignment

    Simplest way to communicate small details.

  • Download assignment

    Upload your lecture PDF’s or any other files your students could use.

  • Quiz assignments

    Build exams to help your student retain their learning.

  • Resource assignment

    Link to any external resource or public material on the internet.

  • Student upload assignment

    Ask your students to upload a file as homework, which you can review.

  • Discussion board

    Answer questions and have conversations with your students.

  • Notifications

    Get notifications and email reminders on things that need your attention.

  • Pricing

    Set your pricing and earn 40% and potentially 20% extra through the affiliate program.

Frequently asked questions

Which screen recording software is best for creating videos?

 

Product Price Features Demo video
Descript Free (1 hr of video editing), $12 monthly (10 hrs of video editing), $24 monthly (30 hr of video editing) for Mac/PC A new modern approach to video editing where the first step is transcription so all narration of the video becomes a text file.  Then instead of cutting up a video on a timeline, you can simply cut out sentences like your ediiting a text document.  You can import videos you have created from PowerPoint or Snagit for editing. You can also screen record directly in Descript.  There is a slight learning curve to the interface, but editing is much faster. It offers more advanced AI tools for voice overs and edit, but the out of the box editing features are very powerful.   
SnagIt $40 annual subscription for Mac/PC Screen capture (stills) and screen recording (video) tool.  It allows you the trim start and end point of videos and cut parts out of the middle of a video. It is not a fully featured video editor but is great at quick edits.  It can also convert short clips into loop GIFs if need. The real super power of SnagIt is the markup tools for images.  It has all the standard arrows and callouts with text, it also has a great stamping tool where you want to label an image with either numbers or letters.   
Camtasia $180 billed annually for Mac/PC This is a fully featured video editor and screen capture tool combined into one.  When recording your screen from inside Camtasia it will capture mouse clicks and keyboard interaction.  When this recording is on the  timeline in Camtasia you can automatically pan the video to the cursor to focus on a specfiic area or show the keys that are entered.  Particularly helpful for creating tutorials on software.   

Powerpoint

 

~$10 monthly through Microsoft 360 For those instructors who are building out lectures in PowerPoint you can narrate your instruction on each slide and capture any cursor highlights or animations you have during presentation mode.  Then each of these audio tracks and animations are saved as timings for each slide.  Then you can export the whole presentation as a video.  How to export .mp4 from PPT for Mac  PC  
Google Slides Free For those instructors who are building out lectures in Google Slides you can record your presentation and even include a webcam of you  presenting.  At the time of writing, this feature was available to Google Workspace Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Starter, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Essentials Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus and Education Plus.  
OBS  (Open Broadcaster Studio) Free. for Mac/PC Primarily used for streamers, this is a powerful open source tool that has a fully featured screen recording function built it.  The learning curve on the UI is steeper and little less user friendly, however their online community is very robust.  Any questions you have would be answered on Youtube.  



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Our standards and submitting your course for review

In order to ensure that our students have a great learning experience, we have a created a quality review process for all new courses. When you start building your course we will create a course roadmap for you that will detail the specific standards. Once your course is ready to be published, you can submit your course for review.

There are 3 important standards to keep in mind:

  1. Courses should contain at least 60 minutes of video content
  2. Courses should be well structured to deliver on learning objectives.
  3. Audio should be clear and intelligible; Video should be clear and high-definition.

After you submit your course for review, HeatSpring will evaluate your course and provide feedback. Once your course is approved, it will be published and can be discovered on the HeatSpring platform.

Course Standards

Content
Assignments
Presentation
Video Quality
Audio Quality

Content (top)

  • On a topic within one of HeatSpring's top level course subjects (e.g. solar, storage, green building, geothermal, microgrid, energy etc) or a topic related to an existing HeatSpring course.
  • Provides participants with accurate, up-to-date, and actionable information, knowledge, and skills
  • Contains specific, technical, real-world information (as opposed to general or theoretical information)
  • Should have one specific audience in mind (and specify their pre-existing knowledge, skills, level of experience, etc. on the sales page)
  • Is primarily original material that is not publicly-available anywhere else


Assignments (top)

  • Must include 60-minutes of lecture video at a minimum
  • Must include at least one supporting assignment. Some instructors include lots of these, examples include readings, links to publicly-available resources, or tools (e.g. Excel calculators)
  • May include a quiz to test participants’ understanding of the material
  • May include discussion questions (if the instructor would like to encourage interaction on the discussion board)


Presentation (top)

  • Should be a narrated slideshow. See recording options we recommend.
  • May contain an introductory portion with video of the instructor speaking to the camera but does not need to include video of the instructor throughout
  • Should not contain dates (e.g. September 2016) or references to upcoming course sessions (since the content will likely be used for several years)
  • Keep presentation branding light to extend the video longevity
  • Should not contain hyperlinks since they will not be clickable in the video
  • Related websites can be linked as separate items in the course itself
  • At least 1 hour of video content. Student engagement drops after 30 minutes on average. Have a goal of 15-30 minute videos and if your lecture is longer than that try break it up into multiple videos. Just keep in mind engagement will drop off after about 30 minutes.
  • Should cover a single topic in some depth
  • Should provide real-world examples and images whenever possible
  • Slides should not have any branding or logos on them
  • Should not use slide transitions other than a simple fade in/out
  • Should only include the instructor’s contact information if s/he is okay with being contacted directly by participants
  • May mention that certain concepts or topics are covered in more depth in a full, premium course
  • PDF copy of slides may be included in course as a downloadable resource


Video Quality (top)

  • Video should be created using Camtasia or a comparable screen recording software
  • Export file should be an MP4 file with 720p resolution or better.
  • Details on ideal export settings for HeatSpring videos (more details):
    • File Type: MP4 (recommended)
    • Codec: h.264/AVC (required)
    • Resolution: between 720px and 1080px
    • Bitrate: 5,000–8,000 kbps (recommended)
    • Framerate: constant, 30 frames per second
    • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 recommended


Audio Quality (top)

  • Should sound like the viewer is in a quiet room listening to the instructor
  • Should not have background noise (e.g. dog barking, whirring fan, static, other voices, rustling of clothing, traffic sounds, phone or desktop notifications)
  • Instructor should mute any phone or desktop notifications before recording
  • Should be recorded using a professional USB-connected microphone.  Our top recommendation is the Blue Yeti USB Microphone or if you prefer a more affordable headset style Logitech USB Headset H340

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HeatSpring course types and marketing

We have two primary types of courses on HeatSpring.com:

  1. Free Courses
  2. Paid Courses

The types of assignments available to instructors are the same for all courses. These include streaming videos, PDF or other file downloads, quizzes, and URL links to publicly-available online resources.

Instructor Responsibilities for All Courses:

  • Create and upload initial course material
  • Maintain and update content when necessary
  • Respond to student survey feedback and ratings and make improvements to the material

Free Courses

Free courses typically consist of 1-2 short videos plus a handful of simple supporting resources. Short courses are typically free. Related Article: How should I price my course?

Other Recommendations:

  • Answer questions on the discussion board. Students report higher satisfaction with courses when instructors take time to answer their questions or spark conversation.
  • Build multiple free courses or build a paid course that we can advertise to your free course attendees. See below for more details on course marketing.

Paid Courses

We recommend new instructors start with a free course or webinar to test interest in their subject and interact with students. Once interest in a course topic is established, most of our instructors build out a multi-module course offering on that topic.

Paid courses typically average 8 modules in length. Students are expected to complete approximately 5-10 hours of work per module. The primary content of the each module should be video with anywhere from 5-10 additional supporting assignments.

Additional Instructor Requirements for Premium Courses:

  • Answer detailed questions on the discussion board. Be available for answering questions daily while your course is running with a goal of a 24-hour response time. (Note: You can schedule vacation if you let you students know ahead of time.)
  • Figure about 100 hours of work time to build out your course for the first time, then a few hours per week to manage student questions, depending on the popularity of your course.

Other Recommendations:

  • Be open to allowing students to ask questions on work-related projects.
  • Try to manage your future time commitment by utilizing tools like self-graded quizzes over manually-graded projects.

Marketing For All Courses

Our marketing system consists of:

  1. Course sales page lead collection
  2. Free courses
  3. Email marketing

All courses act as marketing lead generation for all other courses. Free courses are the easiest entry point for potential students. For instructors who have already developed a paid course on HeatSpring, creating a free course can be an extremely valuable marketing tool.

For new instructors, we strongly recommend starting with free courses for several reasons:

  • Start simple and get comfortable building and running a course.
  • We see immediate, actionable sales feedback from our marketplace.
  • We get real student interaction, survey responses, and ratings.
  • All enrollments can be used as qualified marketing leads for future courses.

After launching a free course, we can take the information we learn and help tweak the offering to get more sales, and/or build additional courses based on real market feedback. This helps increase the chances your courses will be successful and minimize wasted time.

Here is a real example: Marc Rosenbaum teaches Deep Energy Retrofits, an intensive 10-module paid course. For his free course, Marc created a 30-minute recorded presentation on Selecting Cold Climate Heat Pumps. This free course helps drive more sales to Marc's paid course.

The free course provides sales leads in our marketplace who have a high likelihood of being interested in buying the full course. The course also provides us with lots of real student interaction on the topic so we can help shape Marc's course and help him build more full courses based on market demand.

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Are there any costs associated with creating a course?

Creating a course is entirely free for our instructors and as long as the course is open to the public there are never any maintenance fees. If you'd prefer not to have the course available publicly, we do offer the option of private courses for your team or organization, which does require a small monthly maintenance fee.

For paid courses, you keep 40% of the revenue (minus payment fees) for every student who takes your course. On top of that, you can earn an extra 20% of the revenue when you refer students to the course through our affilaite program.

HeatSpring handles all customer service, payment processing and hosting fees, and gives you access to the full platform to build and run your courses.

How should I price my course?

Our paid instructor-led online courses are typically priced between $995-$2,495 per student for an average 8-module course. Typically pricing is determined by multiplying the number of module by $100-$300 per module of content.

If you need help setting your course price just ask us and we can help recommend a good pricing strategy.

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Can I use HeatSpring to create product training videos?

Yes, you can!

We love high quality product, software or web-based training videos. However, the content you provide must be helpful to students, related to energy, sustainability, green/clean technology and/or renewable energy, and cannot simply be a sales pitch.

There must be some valuable information presented that students will learn and does not exclusively require your product to utilize. All course material must meet our rigorous quality standards and maintain high student ratings. If your course is too focused on a sales pitch it will ultimately result in low student ratings and any course rated lower than a 7/10 is removed from the system for review.

All courses must follow our standards and review process.

How do I create a video lecture for my course?

Here are some general tips on what makes a good video:

  1. Audio is everything. If audio quality is bad, crackly, or low volume it won't work. This is the number one factor which creates negative student experience. To get the best possible audio quality, record where there are no background noises and use an external microphone. Do a short test recording to see if the microphone is picking up any unwanted sounds.
  2. High definition video (720p) is the standard for new recordings. Export recorded screenshare videos as an .mp4 file or equivalent using software like Camtasia.
  3. Student engagement drops after 30 minutes on average. Have a goal of 15-30 minute videos and if your lecture is longer than that try break it up into multiple videos. Just keep in mind engagement will drop off after about 30 minutes.
  4. Follow our standards for approval and remember to keep presentation branding light and don't include dates on the slides to extend the video longevity.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, more specific topics are always better than general ones. For example, solar design expert Ryan Mayfield created an excellent free short course Arc Flash Calculations and Insulation Resistance Testing. The topic is extremely specific, which narrows the audience, but the people who sign up know exactly what they're looking for and what they'll be learning about.

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What are good materials for supporting assignments?

In our definition, every item in a course is labeled an "assignment." A supporting assignment can be very simple. It should function as a complement to the lecture video. Many instructors simply create a PDF version of their presentation slides and upload that as an assignment. Students like being able to download the full slides, and some print them to take notes.

Other ideas for supporting assignments include a spreadsheet calculator, white paper, related article from the Internet, or automated quiz.

There are 6 types of assignments available on HeatSpring:

1) Video - If you choose this option, you’ll upload a video from your computer (ideally in .mp4 format). Video segments should be no longer than 20 minutes long; 10-15 minutes is ideal. These are creating using a screen capture program like Camtasia.

2) Text - If you choose this option, whatever you type into the Description field will be the assignment. This is meant for assignments like a prompt for students to post on the discussion board or instructions for a homework project.

3) Download - If you choose this option, you’ll upload a file from your computer (like an Excel spreadsheet or a PDF) that students will download and read or use. You can add instructions or explanation in the Description field.

4) Resource - If you choose this option, you simply paste a URL (i.e. link to a website) into the box that is provided. Students will see the link and also a preview of the page that is linked to (if the site allows this).

5) Quiz - If you choose this option, you’ll create a quiz and then select it from the list that appears. Students will click the assignment and automatically be taken to the quiz, which will be graded by the system.

5) Student Upload - This option lets you collect student files. You can use it to collect a homework assignment, a final project, or anything else. Each student file upload will have a private discussion thread where the student and instructor can discuss the file privately. Uploaded files are only accessible to the instructor, and not visible to other students in the class.

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How to utilize the course discussion board

The course discussion board is a great tool for interacting with your students and checking in on progress within the course. Your first step should be to a look at this support article on the basics of using the course discussion board.

One thing to keep in mind is that as an instructor, anytime you create a post on the discussion board, a notification will be generated for all students in the course. So you can use the discussion board as an announcement system for students.  This is only true when you post a message, not when you reply to an existing message. When you reply to an existing message, only the author of that message is notified.

For more advanced topics on the discussion board, please see these related support articles:

 

Understanding copyright restrictions when building your course.

This is a resource to help our instructors understand copyright boundaries on materials used when building a course. As an instructor, you're responsible for understanding copyright on assignments you create and making sure you are in compliance with copyright laws.

We encourage instructors to curate lots of great content in their courses, whether they have authored that content or not. We recommend including lots of links to external resources (websites), PDF documents and other helpful resources for students.

When using external materials, not created by or owned by the instructor, instructors must consider copyright restrictions around those materials.

The main takeaway is, if you are unsure about copyright restrictions for materials you are using in your course, create them as a 'resource' type assignment. This will link directly to the external website where that material lives and will also give credit to that website for the content.

Here are some other good rules of thumb:
 

  • Anything you get from a government website (DOE) is in the public domain. You can do anything you want with that content.
  • "Creative Commons" rules apply to anything you get from a company or individual. The copyright holder can specify the rules of what they allow us to do with their copyrighted material.
  • If the copyright holder does not specify, and most sources probably don't, the default is that they have full copyright protection.
  • If you are unsure about copyright restrictions for materials you are using in your course, create them as a 'resource' type assignment. This will link directly to the external website where that material lives and will also give credit to that website for the content.
  • If you own the copyright, or have written permission to use the content, then you can use that material in other assignment types (like videos or downloads). The main distinction here is where the content lives. If its a video or download type assignment, the content lives on HeatSpring servers and we must follow copyright restrictions. If its a 'resource' type assignment, then the content lives on the publishing websites servers and linking to that content follows copyright laws even if you don't own that material.
  • If a copyright holder asks you to remove their content from your course, please do so immediately and let us know.
  • In many cases, the copyright owner will be happy you're using their material to teach. You can send them an email and get approval - a simple email that says "OK" from the copyright holder means you're all clear.

We know this can be confusing, so please contact us if you have any questions about specific content you'd like to use in your course and we can help you figure out how to correctly use it.

How do I upload my first video assignment?

To upload a video assignment follow these steps, as always you can reach out if you need any help with any of these steps:

  1. You can use any screen capture / editing software, just look for an option to export a .mp4 version of the video.
  2. Log into your account at https://www.heatspring.com/my_account, then along top menu in the upper right hand corner under your name choose "Instructor Dashboard".
  3. Along the left menu select 'Courses' to see all your courses.
  4. Click into the title of the course.
  5. Click "+ New Assignment" in the module where you'd like to add the video
  6. Enter a title and optional description, then choose the assignment type of "Video".
     
  7. It will then ask you to select a file (a), you'll select the local .mp4 file (b) you created in the first step. Once it is 100% uploaded (c) click 'Create Assignment' (d).

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How are membership earnings calculated and paid to instructors?

HeatSpring Membership is an offering that has evolved over the past few years. Customers pay a monthly fee ($19) for a basket of benefits, including:

  • Extended access to paid courses that have expired (can't post on discussion board)
  • Certificates of completion for free courses
  • The ability to enroll in designated paid courses for free

We share Membership earnings with instructors in a way that is similar to course enrollment fees: 50% of gross margin.

Here’s a breakdown of how one-month of membership earnings are calculated:

  • Revenue: $19
  • Cedit card and video hosting fees: $9
  • Gross Margin: $10
  • Gross Margin x 50% is the instructor share: $5

The instructor share is then divided equally across ALL courses that Member has ever enrolled in. In some cases this is one course, and that instructor recieves the full instructor share. In other cases the Member is enrolled in ten courses, so each course instructor receives 1/10th of the instructor share.

Membership payouts occur monthly and are bundled with other earnings from paid course registrations and affiliate earnings. You can see a full breakdown of your historical earnings, down to the individual transaction level, on your instructor dashboard.

I just got set up as an instructor. What's next?

You just got set up as an instructor on HeatSpring. How can you navigate around the instructor dashboard? How can you start building your course?

We made this quick demo video to show you how to get started.

If you still have questions, you can always reach us at teach@heatspring.com.

Ready to become a HeatSpring instructor?

Teach on HeatSpring

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