What I Hope To Gain From Building My Teaching Business Online

Guest Blog for MOOC Participants

Please welcome the first volunteer guest blogger on our BTB Online Course.

Jeremy Nichols tells us his story about teaching online and what he hopes to gain from this course.

What is BTB Online?

It’s our Build Your Teaching Business Online Course for teachers who want to extend their reach and teach online. You can click on the link above to register and attend our opening ceremony today.

We’ve got 984 course participants so far and the exciting thing is that they come from so many different walks of life. It’s an eye opener to realise how so many different types of professionals see themselves teaching and reaching others on the cloud.

I’m extremely impressed by the calibre of participants we have. Some are already active in the online field and want to fine-tune their skills. others are dipping their toes in online waters for the first time ever.

We have something for everyone.

Although it might seem daunting to think about the substance we’ve got to deliver on this massive open online course to please our very real participants who want very real results, I am very confident about what we’re going to share and how we’re going to help.

That’s because we have already set the bar very high for ourselves.

It’s because we’ve been there, done that and remember what it feels like to start off independently online.

It’s also because we invited the best presenters to cover what we consider to be the most important aspects of teaching online

Finally, it’s because we’re all going to get our hands dirty, pitch in and help each other to build, share and create.


Over to Jeremy:)




What I hope to gain from participating in “Building My Teaching Business Online”

A long, long time ago, when all the world was very young, as a youngish English teacher I had just bought a laptop in Poland with a very big (and I mean huge) hard drive of 500MB (yes, you read that correctly). At that time the internet was exploding. Ideas about its potential were swarming in general conversation like bees. Imagine, we could communicate and do business instantaneously and worldwide! What was to stop us? We could reach anyone anywhere! Build me a website!

For a long time, of course, what was to stop us was the progress of the technology itself. If you remember when it was called the World Wide Wait then you’ll know what I’m talking about. After the initial enthusiasm calmed down a little, I relied on email for business like everyone else, set up a modest and static website, and carried on teaching English in classrooms, using books and cassettes and marker pens as always.

I came back to the idea of teaching online much later, and by accident. Now back in the UK, I had a Brazilian student who lived not far away from me, but our timetables clashed so that neither of us had time to drive to the other one and fit in a lesson. She suggested Skype. I hesitated because I wasn’t sure how it would work, how much I‘d be restricted in my teaching by not being ‘with’ the other person in the same room. What about a whiteboard? What about sound quality? What about sharing materials across the table? What about waving my arms to explain a verb? What about basic human rapport?

I dived in anyway, and I was pleasantly surprised by how effective it can be. Since then I’ve taken other online students, and got more comfortable with teaching this way. One thing that I think is a positive difference from the traditional ‘real’ classroom is the simple fact that you and your student are sitting in different countries during your session. This can bring a ‘real time, real life’ element into the exchange.


In what real classroom can your student say, ‘Hang on, I’ll show you what I mean,’ and go off to another room to fetch their judo certificate/egg whisk/pet rat and show you? Or can you take your laptop to the window and show them what a relentless British grey sky really looks like?




It has some real benefits for lively learning, both for you and them.

Recently I’ve been exploring teaching sites for finding more students and expanding on what I’m doing. My search for better online tools and platforms than Skype has led me to WizIQ, and all the tools and networking possibilities it offers.

So what do I hope to gain from this MOOC?

Quite simply, I want to increase the number of students I have now, and build an online teaching business alongside my other activities. I’m finally convinced that the technology is available now to make it an effective method of teaching students around the world, without packing my rucksack again. (Though of course, as a TEFL teacher that rucksack is still an inseparable part of my spirit.)

I know that there is a huge amount of experience out there in teaching online, gained by all the explorers who have been working and experimenting with it since the dawn of the internet.

By joining this course I’m hoping to learn from them about what works and what doesn’t, and how to make both learning and an online business a success!


About Jeremy Nichols:

Jeremy is a writer, language teacher and translator based in the UK. After studying art, he lived in Poland for some years, where he taught English and ran a translation business. He’s worked in many roles in many places, ranging from fishmonger to being a PA to a millionaire. He specializes in teaching 1-to-1, with a focus on teaching overseas lawyers as he also has legal qualifications. He lives in a beautiful rural area and enjoys nothing better than walking in the forest with his terrier and meeting the occasional wild boar.

Special thanks to Jeremy for this great personal story. I love the personal slices of life and captured moments of the pet rat, British weather and judo certificate. Stories are everything. They connect us to each other, inspire us, and personalise the way we work – even or especially with massive professional development projects such as the one we are now embarking on.

This is an open invitation to our MOOC participants to send me their stories. There’s no need to worry about clogging up our blog because I’ve got a special social tool up my sleeve that will make this blogging extravaganza inclusive to all.

I will finish of this post by giving you a bird’s eye view of the many different professions & walks of life represented on our course participant lists so far.

I collected introductory comments from our very active coursefeed and posted them here. This cork board tool called Linoit allows anyone to contribute. This is my invitation to all course participants to ad their own comments and professions to my sticker board.

Click on the link to browse and uncover the many layers – there are so many that they are not all visible:))


Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

1 thought on “What I Hope To Gain From Building My Teaching Business Online

  1. It was pleasure reading Jeremy Nichols experiences of life. It is encouraging to plunge in the Ocean of technology to to keep pace with the changing moods of time!

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