CoCo partners with Skillshare.com to create a new kind of learning venue in the Twin Cities
Working with Skillshare.com, CoCo is setting up a community-powered school that focuses on big ideas…and the tools that make those ideas reality.
Beginning in July, CoCo will open its doors on weekday evenings to host classes that are created and taught by experts in the Twin Cities community. Depending on participation, classes will most likely revolve around business, entrepreneurship, technology and creativity.
Skillshare is a social learning platform – a marketplace that connects learners with people who have something to teach. Using Skillshare, wannabe instructors can organize and promote their own classes, while prospective learners can connect with other learners and find peer-taught class offerings online. Skillshare has become quite popular in New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia and is one of Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies in 2011. You can read about them in Wired, Forbes, NYT, TechCrunch or Mashable.
Skillshare School at CoCo is one of only a few “Schools” that have been launched since March and the first Skillshare School created within a coworking community. Other Skillshare Schools include General Electric, Ogilvy, Forbes, LinkedIn and Behance.
How does the Skillshare School at CoCo work?
- CoCo provides the classrooms - We’ll start out by holding classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights at CoCo Minneapolis, where we have five different learning environments with capacities of 10 to 50 people. We will eagerly add days and locations as demand increases.
- You provide the knowledge - Anyone can start a Skillshare. Do you have some big ideas you want to spread? Have you have mad skills? Then you can teach a class or lead a workshop. Teaching not only helps others, but is a great way to make a little extra cash and grow your network.
- We split the proceeds – CoCo will take care of the admin, bookkeeping and marketing and pay instructors their share each month.
- Classes are promoted online and off - All classes will be visible to the universe of users at Skillshare.com as well as on CoCoMSP.com. In addition, we will promote classes to the CoCo community and through friendly websites, organizations and trade associations.
- Companies and organizations can be “content partners” - Lots of companies have internal experts who could teach classes. So, imagine a mobile tech company having some of their people teach classes on mobile development. Employees learn leadership skills. The company gets to scout for new talent. It’s a win for everyone.
- Companies and organizations can sponsor classes - Some national companies are already sponsoring Skillshare classes. We hope to find some local sponsors to help subsidize class fees for classes at CoCo.
We’re kicking things off all proper-like with Skillshare Fair on Saturday, June 23, a free, day-long unconference that will give everyone a chance to teach, learn and share ideas on business, entrepreneurship, tech, marketing or whatever! Oh, and there will be beer.
- Classes begin in July.
- Want to teach a class? Read the instructor’s guide. We’re also happy to talk to you about your class ideas and answer any questions you have.
- If you think your company or organization would benefit from being a content partner, let’s talk!
Probably Asked Questions
Why are you doing this?
One of the most frequent requests we get is to have an educational offering. It almost goes without saying that knowledge workers – which includes more and more of us every day – need to keep up on the latest ideas, technologies and tools that drive business and innovation. The web definitely helps in delivering “just in time learning,” but learning from our peers is even more powerful. That’s why Minnesota has the largest bar camp (MinneBar) the largest interactive marketing association (MIMA) and one of the largest social media clubs (SMBMSP) in the country. The land of 10,000 lakes is the land of 100,000 learners!
What kinds of classes will you have?
The possibilities are endless. But it all depends on who steps up and what/how they want to teach!
Format-wise, Skillshare allows for multiple formats, including single classes, courses, workshops, lectures, study sessions and office hours.
Content wise, we hope to have two concurrent and complementary streams of classes:
1. Classes with a mind-bending, reality-altering, perspective-shifting purpose, such as:
- Helping people reframe and solve business problems
- Entrepreneurial and business strategy
- Trends in society, tech, business, consumer behavior, etc.
- General ass-kickery: motivational, innovation topics, freelance/consultant optimization, etc.
2. More tactical, skill-oriented sessions on such topics as:
- iOS development
- Android development
- Agile methodology
- Content Strategy
- Capital formation
- Interactive project management
See the instructor’s guide for more info.
Will classes be any different because they’re at CoCo?
Yes, indeed! We want to encourage sociability, so students of legal age will be welcome to bring beer, wine and their takeout dinners. CoCo will provide snacks and, of course, coffee. If we can get a beer sponsor, you can bet we will!
Beyond food and drink, we are hoping to “CoCo-ize” the classes themselves in a few ways:
- Classes will generally be held from 6 to 8 p.m., but we will open our doors from 5 to 10 p.m. to allow for pre- and post-class socializing and coworking. We hope to see cross-pollination between attendees of the same class and between attendees of different classes.
- Even though instructors will be able to hold one-off classes, we are encouraging the formation of courses that consist of two or more sessions. That way, students can experience a combination of instruction and practical application (e.g., hacking and collaborative work).
What will classes cost?
We are suggesting a minimum class fee of $50 per 2- or 3-hour session. This fee will have two effects: one, it will ensure that there is enough compensation to make this worthwhile for instructors adequate funds, while helping cover overhead, staff, etc. Secondly, it will encourage instructors to make sure their content is solid and justifies the cost.
Will instructors be paid?
Absolutely! This program is a great way to earn extra income. Skillshare takes 15% off the top.
The remaining 85% will be split between the instructor and CoCo. CoCo will charge a per-person, per-session fee of $25 to help cover overhead, such as rooms, staffing and cleanup. See the instructor’s guide for more info.
How can companies and organizations get involved?
- Your organization can be an official content partner, which means you would encourage your own brilliant people teach classes at CoCo. That has multiple benefits:
- Personal development – Teaching is like blogging on steroids and forces one to quickly step up their knowledge and leadership skills.
- Publicity – There is some PR value in having your people serving as adjunct faculty at local colleges. There is arguably more immediate PR value in having your people teaching industry peers and being visible as leaders in an environment like CoCo.
- Recruitment – This isn’t rocket science but it’s often overlooked: the classroom environment is one of the best places to truly vet potential recruits for your company. Need to find the most adept mobile developers? Then you should be teaching classes on mobile development!
- The Skillshare platform makes it possible for local and national companies to sponsor classes, which means that they can subsidize part or all class costs for classes of their choosing. For example, in New York, Behance is sponsoring a series of design classes by subsidizing $10 of the typically $15 tickets.
We’re big fans of crowdsourcing. When we heard about Skillshare’s crowdsourced education model, we thought, “that’s brilliant!” We looked at ways to do something similar at CoCo, but the achilles heel was software. There was no software out there that could accomplish what the Skillshare platform does. So, this March, when Skillshare announced the formation of “Schools,” we knew we were a perfect match. CoCo has begun to coalesce a massive community of smart, innovative people. Skillshare will make it easy to create and promote classes and to manage registration and payments.
How is this related to d.school @ CoCo?
It isn’t, except that both programs take place at CoCo. Both projects have the word “school” in them, which we realize could be slightly confusing. But that’s only temporary, as we will be expanding the d.school effort to include some other curricula and will probably change that name to “CoCo Labs,” “CoCo Institute” or something along those lines.