The Economics of the Course Proposal

For instructors and learning providers, course proposals are a form of currency.

While you may not be able to purchase anything with a proposal, they do hold significant, even monetary, value, if looked at in the proper light.

So let’s examine these two groups — instructors and learning providers — and how course proposals can be a vehicle to compensation and revenue generation.


If an instructor proposes a course, they are showcasing what they can teach. When a learning provider connects with an instructor and both parties agree to offer a course, a school or provider will collect a registration fee.

From these registration fees, instructors will get paid usually in one of these ways.

A percentage of the gross revenue

Ex. $59 cost of class x 25 students = $1,475 x 40% for Instructor Pay = $590

*A percentage of revenue is ideal when you anticipate being able to draw sufficient enrollment and want to maximize your earning potential for each course you teach. In most cases when teaching at a provider’s venue, they’ll receive a larger portion of the percentage split (ex. 60%/40%), but this oftentimes can be negotiated.

An hourly rate

Ex. $50 per hour x 6 hours of instruction = $300

*An hourly rate guarantees a fixed amount for your time, but there exists no upside if the class draws large enrollment numbers. If teaching the course with a new school bolsters your credibility or introduces you to a new audience of students, you may be okay with earning less. Over and above what you’re paid, the value created here could be more beneficial to your brand/credibility (ex. I taught/spoke at Prestigious College.)

No matter how you get compensated, it’s important to understand this:

By taking the time to complete and submit the course proposal, it creates an opportunity where the potential end result is monetary gain.

There’s even more to it, though, especially if we’re looking at the possibility of growing or scaling a primary or side business.

Your time is money.

One of our primary goals is to help instructors connect more easily with traditional, face-to-face learning providers. If you as an instructor only have to propose your course a single time in order to partner with a number of class providers in the areas where you live or travel, rather than at each individual school, you’re saving time. That’s valuable.

Think about it like this:

If you conservatively say your time is worth $25 dollars per hour (it’s probably worth much more) and you plan to propose a course at, say, 3–5+ learning providers in your area, how long might it take you to find each provider, follow and complete their proposal requirements, and submit to each one individually?

Your only chance of being able to recoup that time investment is if your course is accepted and the provider elects to have you teach it. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee your course will be selected and that you’ll be hired.

By proposing your teaching ideas on Courseography, we seek to make better use of your time by placing your course in front of many learning providers all at once. In this way, it’ll free you up to focus on other aspects of your business — sales, marketing, content creation, product development etc. In the background, your course proposal will be working to find your next teaching gig.

Building Your Following

Another equally compelling point is your ability to sustain your relationship with your learners wherever you meet them. When teaching a class through a learning provider, it’s imperative you only teach the class for educational purposes (no upselling of professional services) and follow a provider’s policies and guidelines. You can, however, under the proper circumstances, find opportunities to extend the relationship outside the scope of the initial course, including:

  • Asking students to follow you on social media or your blog

  • Subscribing to your email newsletter (by permission, of course)

  • Giving them notice of what venues you’ll be teaching at in the future

Think about how you can establish and nurture that relationship. The economic benefits here may not be immediate, but they do have long-term implications and it’s the kind of return on investment that can ultimately justify taking the time to propose a course and making the decision to teach. Remember, the learner you engage now may also pay you for what you teach or create in the future — as long as you continue to provide value to them.

Learning Providers

If a learning provider has access to a growing pool of course ideas and qualified instructors, you could very easily make the argument they’ll be able to offer more classes, more quickly to their student community and earn revenue for their program, school, or business.

Much like for instructors, the intent of Courseography is to create an efficiency for learning providers, too.

If you’re tasked with having to infuse your school’s lifelong learning program with new classes, your current process likely involves a variety of these:

  • Researching a given topic to see what courses your community might like

  • Contacting individual instructors and asking them to develop a course

  • Waiting for an instructor to propose a course via your online form or PDF and hope they submit it to you

If that’s the process you use, a couple questions come to mind:

How much time do you and/or your program staff take in developing new class ideas and recruiting instructors?

Let’s realistically say it takes the span of several weeks/months and 40+ hours of collective staff time (and we’re being extremely conservative here) in order to make a decision on whether you’ll bring in a cadre of new courses and instructors in any given scheduling window.

Now, what if you could simplify this process and shop for course ideas and instructors from one place? How might that impact the time it takes you to build your catalog and free you up to build your business in other ways?

If Courseography allows you to work smarter, how much might that show up in your bottom line?

How much is a great course/instructor worth?

Because your program or business will likely be funded from the revenue you generate, it’s critical to recruit and develop instructors who can teach great courses that resonate with your student community.

The more access you have to a qualified pipeline of teaching talent, the greater the chance you will earn the revenue you need to grow and sustain your business.

One new course or instructor can be worth thousands of dollars in revenue for your school or business. If the instructor teaches multiple courses, the return is even more significant.

In addition, a great instructor can attract students and this engagement can positively impact your program — not just financially, but also enhance the credibility of your brand in the eyes of current and future customers.

These are the kinds of instructors we intend to pursue to use our proposal platform. We encourage you to review our frequently asked questions to learn more about our services.

Courseography is free for instructors. We offer a free trial and affordable monthly and annual plans for learning providers.