As you are building your course consider how students will get into it and pay any registration fee you are intending to charge.
- Are you intending to build a Website that anyone can access at any time? Or, will you require students to "sign-up" to take the course?
- Are you charging them a fee?
- If so, how will you collect that?
- What type of payment methods will you allow?
- If you allow credit card and check, how will you ensure that people paying with check have the same opportunity to register as those paying online with a credit card?
- How will students know they are registered for the course?
- Will you send them an email or letter?
- Will they get an automated response?
- How will they get a receipt for the course? (Most people who get institutional support for attending CE will need some written proof of payment for reimbursement.)
- How will you control access to the course?
- Will there be a start and end date?
- How do students get added/purged from the course?
- How do you refresh the course so it is ready for new students?
These are just some of the questions you will need to ask yourself as you consider registration options.
The three most common ways of handling registration are:
- Through a University if it is supporting the course offering
- Through a contracted service
- Association (such as the Medical Library Association)
- Online course management software (such as Blackboard)
- On your own
If you are working with a university to offer your course, for example a library school, it probably has a procedure for handling continuing education registration and you may have no control over the management of this process. In this sort of situation, it may be the school or department that decides how much to charge students and how much you will be paid as well. If you are considering whether or not to work with a university, here are some questions to ask.
- How much will students be charged to take the course? Do you have any say in setting the cost of the course?
- How will registration be processed? Will time be allowed to process purchase orders from other institutions or for mailed in checks, or does the institution take the first people who insert a credit card number into a Webpage? Do they have a way to handle credit card registration?
- Does the University have the capacity to handle international registration?
- Where in the registration process do you take over communication with students? Does someone affiliated with the University confirm with students that they are registered, or do you have to do that? Who tells students how to access the course?
- Who handles getting the students any necessary IDs and passwords for accessing the course or electronic reserve materials?
- How/when do you get a list of registered students?
- What information will the University collect from students when they register? Do you need home addresses? Email addresses? Telephone numbers?
- Who will send MLA CE certificates to students upon completion of the course?
- What kind of technical support does the University provide?
- How will you handle people who drop the course? Is there any refund?
Like working with a university, if you use a contracted service, you will need to negotiate which details they will take care of and which you will need to handle. Depending on the "automated" nature of the service, there might be a flat rate for basic registration processing. In other cases, you may be able to contract a level of service based on what you are willing to pay.
Two services available are:
- Blackboard - this is
a course platform and also provides technical support for an annual
- MLA Headquarters - services through MLA are handled on a case
by case basis. Contact the Professional
Development Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request services.
On Your Own
You can also handle registration on your own. You can accept payment
from students by check or money order through the mail. You could
also set up an account through a service like PayPal
(http://www.paypal.com/) to accept credit card payments. You will
be responsible for filling out additional IRS tax forms at the end
of the year if you choose this option.