Managing Online Classes

The Diversity Outreach training team is trying to streamline our operations and hoping the meta team (@iandunn, @coreymckrill, et al.) might be able to advise and/or help us. As discussed with Ian at WordCamp Vancouver, posting this here for community input.

We currently run trainings for meetup and WordCamp organizers once a month or so. Trainings are conducted online, typically via Zoom. We hope to increase the frequency and scope of trainings as the program grows.

We communicate with our trainees via Helpscout. We currently list class dates on a Google calendar and manage attendees via Helpscout email, using tags to classify whether they are interested in taking the current class or a future class.

So far it looks like Helpscout isn’t the ideal tool for managing this. We could automate some of the correspondence with its workflows feature, but that wouldn’t give us a way to manage event details. If anyone knows a way to do that in Helpscout, we can stick with that tool.

Ideally, we’d love to have functionality that is a bit more than a calendar but less than a full-blown course management system. Ideally, a tool that would let:

  • us specify and set training class times
  • us set (and change) event details, such as the link to the online meeting, time, etc.
  • us send confirmation notes to both students and trainers after folks sign up
  • us send automatic reminders to registrants (and trainers)
  • students pick from a list of already-scheduled training times
  • students view class times in their own timezone (nice to have; UTC could work fine)

Do folks know of

  • a WordPress plugin that does this (ideally one that we could install at .org, but we could host somewhere else, too)?
  • other tools that check off most of the items on this list? (we’ve looked at using Meetup, Eventbrite, and similar tools, but each has limitations)

Do others in the community routinely schedule online classes or other events, and if so, how do you handle registrations and student communication?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer,
@laryswan
@jillbinder