Should you build and operate your online class by yourself?

I just got a phone call from the company that repaired my computer last week.

Yes, I had somebody else repair my computer, even though I knew what was wrong (the power supply), and how to do it myself (order and install a new power supply). I’ve just been breaking and fixing computers all my life, thank you.

As it turns out, I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. After the technician completed his diagnosis, it turns out that the motherboard also had a bad capacitor on it. Great job – I’m glad that that got caught and done right – saved me time and frustration.

At any rate, I picked up the phone and an automated voice recording on the line told me that my computer was ready for pickup, and gave me several helpful options for scheduling a pickup. This would have also been great, except, I picked up my computer last week. And, it’s the third call I’ve received about this.

Feeling a bit annoyed, I hung up, got back to work, and contemplated how many more times this would happen before the system gave up. If the person who had fixed my computer had been making the call, I just don’t think that this would have happened. That would have been nice.

Score? Humans: 1, Computers: 0.

Automated systems are great. When technology works, it’s like your magical assistant that’s always by your side. But that can also give you the illusion that you could simply run technology systems without giving it any more thought or anybody working on them at all.

Except it never works that way. Computers may be good at repetitive tasks, but human pride is a funny thing. I was taught that too much of it is bad. But somebody who takes pride in their work? That person does the best job for you every time.

In the study of economics, shadow work refers to unpaid labor in the form of self service. Pumping your own gas. Booking your own airline ticket. Operating complex equipment without training. Sure, it sounds like it’s all fun and games, and oh, so efficient, but are there any possible consequences? A 2007 study found that 38 percent of the American work force felt fatigued.

I wonder what that number is for business owners. Have you ever felt like there just were not enough hours in the day to get everything done?

Specialists such as travel agents can be pretty helpful. Sure, it can be nice to feel like you’ve got a good understanding of what the current airline prices are after hours spent over weeks of research. But it sure stinks when you show up at the airport and realize that you booked the wrong day, that you were running behind and didn’t have time to get through the self-service kiosks, or end up on a 12 hour flight in the seat right next to the bathroom.

I hope that none of those have happened to you before, I’m embarrassed to admit that they sure have to me.

I actually used a travel agent last time I booked. Yes, they still exist, and it was a great experience. It saved me time, aggravation, I got helpful suggestions from somebody who does this all the time, and even without factoring those in, I’m not even sure that it costed me anything more. Just like you, I appreciate transparency and knowing I’m not being taken for a ride, but I also like service.

At Ninebricks, we don’t consider ourselves a self-service platform. We consider ourselves to be your partners. We’ve helped schools to quickly build high quality products that increase their revenue. Quickly, meaning, up and running within weeks – not 6 months or a year down the line, maybe, depending on if your computer-whiz, brother-in-law’s nephew is up to it or how far you get in all of those computer books you ordered from Amazon.

We’ve helped schools to quickly add value to their business, and improve student satisfaction with their instructor. We’re able to do that because it’s not something that we’re leaving you and your students on your own to manage. We’re here with you every step of the way, from course concept all the way to delivery. We support both you and your students, not with automated phone calls or politely suggesting that they search through our extensive ‘knowledge database’, but, with actual people who help them figure out why they can’t log in or access a module. Feeling supported is an amazing thing.

At the end, you get a better product, a better business, happier students, and less fatigue all around.

Ready to talk about how we can help you make this happen? Give us a call at 407-982-7940 and we’ll get you going.

Request Demo

Has a student ever asked you to record your class?



What is it that a student is trying to do when they ask you if they can record your class? Is the student creating some sort of study aid, based on your teaching? It’s not that easy to listen to a voice recording, it’s hard to find specific sections to focus on or move through easily.

Could you help that student to create an even more valuable resource than a voice recorder could? Would such a resource be valuable to all of your students?

Call us at 407-982-7940, we’ve got some ideas for you.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Do online videos mean that we don’t need teachers anymore?



We live in interesting times. Breathless headlines talk about how the robots are getting ready to put us all out of jobs any day now. Sure, I have days where I wish that it were true. Could it be possible to just record an instructor and let students learn from the recording without an instructor?

No. Think about it this way. Facebook is an amazing way to communicate with your friends. But is it a substitute for getting together for lunch or coffee? Not really. It has a place, but it doesn’t replace.

Same idea. If most students were good at learning without an instructor, then teachers would have been unnecessary as soon as books were invented, and online learning classes would have already taken over the industry. Instead, you know as an instructor that most students find that the online experience is lacking. It lacks structure, it lacks an environment of learning, it lacks interaction with classmates, it lacks the ability to ask questions, it lacks … you, the instructor, the relationship you create with your students, and the environment that you create together. These are things that happen when you put people in the same room – with no laptops and cell phones off – not interacting through the internet. Does self-learning work for some people? Sure, if they can sit down, read, and structure their own learning and work well in isolation, they may not need an instructor or their classmates, all they really needed was the book. But, not for most people. For most, learning is a lot more enjoyable and more effective when done together.

Your students know it too, and they tell you this all the time. They could have taken the class online, but they came to class because online learning is not a substitute for teaching. Video classes have been around for a while, correspondence classes mailed on VHS, or even video streaming classes with remote instructors have been happening for decades. Nothing new here. Most students don’t like them, they never finish them, they never learn the material. When it comes to learning, you know that you just can’t beat face to face instruction. And you can’t beat the learning environment that a classroom creates.

So then why do online video?

Simple. While it doesn’t replace, there is a place for it. We think that the thing that everybody’s been getting wrong up until this point is that it’s always been either / or. Either in-class instruction, or online/distance learn-it-by-yourself. But, for the first time, consider the option of: both.

Both in-class, and online.

Do you give students handouts? Many instructors use handouts to help students remember specific points. What if you could give your students a handout that could speak to them? If they could hear it, and it could ask them questions? Making sure that they understand the material and can apply it? What if that handout could remind them of the stories you told in class to illustrate the points, what if that handout was you? I think that that would be just about the most amazing handout ever. Think about online video supplements as a set of handouts that your students can use to really hammer the points across. Handouts don’t replace classroom instruction, but they have their place.

Until now, putting together this material has always been a complicated and expensive undertaking. But, today, you can do it. At Ninebricks, we strive to help you.

The best technology has always been the technology that you don’t have to think about. It doesn’t cry for your attention or tell you what you did wrong. It stays at your side, and assists you without you even having to think about it. That’s what working with Ninebricks does for you.

And how does your school benefit from working with us? Working with us means more confident, more prepared students. Higher first-time pass rates – we’ve seen schools that use similar techniques hit 90% first time pass rates – that’s right: 90%. What would that mean for your school? Higher revenues. Higher enrollments. More confident students. More repeat business. More referrals. More knowledgeable agents entering the industry.

Ready to talk about how we can do this for you?

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Five students who did not pass the Florida Real Estate Exam the first time


We know that month after month, less than 50% of students pass the Florida Real Estate Exam. What are the reasons that students don’t pass the exam on their first try? Let’s take a look at a few common scenarios.


Susie is getting her real estate license. She is a traditional student and comes into class the first day. She doesn’t know anybody there, and doesn’t quite understand something. A lot of her classmates didn’t understand it either, but they either didn’t know they didn’t understand it, or were hoping that somebody else would ask. Getting no feedback from the class, you move on to the next topic.

Would Susie benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Susie can go back home, work on some practice questions, and if she misses them, now she knows that she should review the material. And, now she understands what you meant. She can ask her classmates questions. She can answer her classmates questions from her home. Just like on Facebook. Her teacher sees that there were some questions that came up, and goes over it again in class the next day. Now Susie, and all of her classmates “get it”. On to chapter 2.


Scott is getting his real estate license. He doesn’t have time to go to class, he is a busy guy with better things to do. So he purchases an online class from you. Scott skims through chapter one, answers the end of the chapter questions, and just barely answers them. He starts to realize that this isn’t much fun, and goes to work on other things for a few months. Then, a few months later, he hurries through the entire material so he can finish up. He guesses through the answers, and finishes. Did he pass the state exam? If he even bothered to go take it, you already know that he didn’t.

Would Scott benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, as soon as Scott realized that he wasn’t really understanding the online class, he could switch over to see how you would have taught him the material. Sure, it’s not the same as being in class, but when Scott is ready to take his 45 hour post-licensing class, who do you think he’ll go to? That’s right: you.


Jenny doesn’t speak or even read english that well. She didn’t grow up here. She has an electronic translation dictionary she brings with her everywhere. She hardly understands every third word you’re saying in class, but, there’s only so much you can do about that. She takes the state exam about 12 times, did she pass? Not yet.

Would Jenny benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Jenny can review the material again at her own pace, as many times as she needs. She can keep up with the class by working harder than everybody else, to overcome her language issues.


Jerry hates math. He just barely got out of high school with the minimum number of classes required. His dad always told him to just focus. He’s just not a math person. He takes the state exam, sees a math question and shuts it out. He gets a 0 out of 10 on the math questions, and fails by 10 points.

Would Jerry benefit from having online review material?

Yes. With online review material, Jerry can specifically focus on subjects he struggles with. He can work through practice math questions until he gets it. We’re not asking him to prove Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Just some prorations, and other things he should understand as an agent. With some work, he can get this, but he needs private tutoring that he can’t afford, and more time than you have to spend on the topic in class.


Karen did fine in a traditional class. She followed through chapter by chapter, did all of the assignments, and passed the class test with a good score. But, when she got to the state exam, she found that they asked all of the questions in a different way. Sometimes she missed the question because she didn’t read it carefully enough. Other times, she missed the question because they asked it in a different way than it was discussed in the textbook. If they had only asked it on the state exam the same way they ask it in the textbook, she would have been fine.

Would Karen benefit from having online review material?

Yes! With online review material, Karen can go through the material again in a rapid manner. She’s already been through the class, she mostly knows it, but, she doesn’t quite know it that well yet. It’s a lot of material. She needs to review. The state exam asks things differently to see how well she knows it. We can’t give her all of the questions on the state exam for her to study so that she won’t be surprised or confused. And reading things carefully will be an important skill for her as a professional who represents buyers and sellers in negotiation. Reviewing and studying helps her to really get it, so that she can answer the question no matter how the exam words it.


Knowing the material is the best way to pass the state exam. How many students do you have that fit the above descriptions? How many of them are falling through the cracks, or just taking the exam multiple times guessing until they pass by luck? Makes me nervous.

Of the students that don’t pass the state exam the first time, we would venture to say that the majority of them would fall under one of these reasons. Sure, you occasionally get the student who really is in the class for the wrong reasons. Perhaps that student will eventually grow up. Perhaps this just isn’t the right career for him, I certainly couldn’t tell you which it is.

But for everybody that is coming to you to start their career, the knowledge that you’re teaching them is the foundation upon which their professional career is built. Helping a student to pass the exam with confidence in their knowledge means that more of them will feel that they’ve gotten value from you as their instructor, that you have prepared them for this first step into their careers, and will refer their friends to you and be back for more of your courses. It’s good for the industry. It’s good for your business.

At Ninebricks, we’d like to see more people passing the exam on their first try, wouldn’t you?

Ready to talk about how we can help you make this happen?

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

How online classes help learning


build your own online video course

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” – J.D. Salinger

We think about learning a lot here at Ninebricks. Humans have been storing knowledge, teaching, and learning since the beginning of time. Monks recorded their wisdom and knowledge on expensive parchment. Then the invention of paper and the printing press came along and meant that books could now be printed and distributed cheaply, and ideas could travel far and wide.

This was amazing for the intellectuals, who dedicated their lives to understanding through study and meditation. But for knowledge to really reach the masses, these intellectuals became teachers – sharing their knowledge in the churches and temples and mosques. And the classrooms. Trusted instructors, guiding learners through their own journey to understanding.

And this is how it has been for a long time. The innovations of the past meant greater access to more people, and greater support for learning. Learning, like everything else of significance that we do in our lives, has always happened through relationships. For the intellectuals, it’s the relationship you have with the person who wrote the book, as J.D. Salinger talks about. For everybody else, it is the relationship you have with the person guiding you through that book, your teacher.

Still, as a real estate instructor in Florida, you only have 63 hours to help your students to learn, and you cannot simply impart your knowledge directly into your students minds. You can only provide guidance. Many people still struggle. We see that struggle on the Florida real estate exam’s pass rates hovering under 50% month after month.

We’re excited here at Ninebricks for what’s happening today. To us, online learning is providing an opportunity to extend the relationship that you as an instructor, have with your student, helping them learn. And that is why we work with you to create online video classes. So that you can extend your relationship with your student outside of the classroom, improving learning outcomes and improving your business.

Ready to get started? Let’s talk.

Request Demo

Recording styles for your online class

Ready to start recording, but don’t know how you want your video to look? Take a look at a few examples for inspiration.

Neutral background

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In office

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Studio environment, using a TV for multimedia presentation

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Outdoor or on site

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Interview style

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 4.17.24 PM

Dark background, cut over to powerpoint presentation

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Green screen with multimedia overlay

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In classroom, chalkboard presentation

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How would you like for your online class to look? Let’s talk about how to make it happen.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Engage your RE students beyond the classroom

Engaging your students outside of the classroom.

This week we’d like to look at the idea of engaging students beyond the classroom and how to build a solution to improve student success.

Education is changing and so is our audience.  Students today are now “digital natives”, comfortable with using technology.  We can help you to connect with them.

A strategy for engaging today’s student

  • Accessibility: Make sure your students have access to everything they need, starting with the instructor.  Have a plan for how your students can find anything they need, as well as open communication with you for when they can’t.
  • Community:  Consider engaging with students on social media. This will create open discussions, bring out the shy students, and create a wealth of useful information.  With an active community, you may even find that questions can be solved socially by the “community”.
  • Content: With so many great ways to deliver content, make sure your students have the resources to come to class prepared, and are able to supplement their learning at home.  That extra effort makes all the difference to success.

Online video has proven to be the most engaging and easily accessible for students (it’s no mystery why YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine).  At Ninebricks we make it extremely simple to offer your own review material or full classes through an engaging and attractive video learning platform. (Schedule a demo)

Ultimately there are many practices and strategies that your school can take to increase engagement beyond the classroom, improve student success, and build your school’s brand.  We hope that this provides a simple understanding and basics to build an infrastructure for your students. A business owner cannot be expected to spend too much time on this when they have a business to run, but with a little effort and the right tools the market will reward you.

Need more suggestions for how to improve your online strategy?  Schedule a Call with a representative.

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Online education for Real Estate Schools

Using YouTube to grow your Real-Estate School

Did you know that YouTube® is the second must used search engine?  We typically don’t think of it a a search engine, but it’s true.  Think of how many times you have gone to YouTube for research.   The top brands are using it to connect with today’s consumer and there is no reason your school can’t too.  Not to mention the content greatly helps with SEO.

3 strategies for making the most out of YouTube® for Real-Estate schools: 

1. You have a personality, show the world!

In today’s information economy your customers want to get to know you before committing to spending a week learning from you. Youtube is the perfect channel to introduce your business and instructors through a fun and engaging format. Introduction videos are very easy to make, display your personality and show potential customers you are the thought leader in your industry. Tip- Also add this to your “About Us” section of your website.

2. SEO 

Now that you have invested time into making videos, the most inexpensive way to draw attention is to make sure it ranks high on Google and YouTube.  Here’s How:

  • Research: All great SEO starts with research. Use the Youtube Keyword Tool to find top keywords for your industry.  Remember to think like your customer and what they would be looking for.
  • Title: This is one of the most heavily weighted aspects of your video.  Pay special attention to words you use.  Start with your top keyword phrase, then end with your company name.  For example “How to grow your RE school through video education –
  • Description: The second most weighted aspect.  This section allow for much more content, make sure you have your top keywords as well as all the information about your company so viewer can get to your website.

3. Promote your video elsewhere

Through links and embed, YouTube makes it simple to use your video as much as possible.  Add them to your website and blog and share on social media. Tip: A great way to maximize the content is to create 4-5 updates for each video and share them over time through social media with a link to the full video.

Now that you have mastered Youtube, Ninebricks can help help add an entire video education aspect to your schools education.  We take care of all the logistics and technology, you simply record your class and start growing your reach through video.

Request Demo


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What is a flipped classroom?

The flipped classroom is a relatively new concept that has been facilitated by the development of classroom video delivery over the internet.

In a traditional classroom, class time is spent with an instructor covering the material and sending students home to work on activities designed to further the students understanding of the material.  In the flipped classroom the student covers the lecture at home and comes to the class to ask specific questions, engage in discussion, and work on activities designed to further understanding of the material with the instructors and other students.

One study of college freshmen found impressive gains in pass rates using this model of instruction.  We think that it’s an exciting new idea that uses technology to help students succeed.

Data, Data – Everywhere. The data science of learning

One of our goals is improving online classrooms for real estate schools, and one of the ways that we go about doing this is by keeping meticulous track of how and what students are doing in our online classrooms.  Did a student re-watch a particular video multiple times, how do students fare on average over a particular section.  Where do students typically stop, and how long do they typically watch for in a sitting, or over a week.  How do all of these factors affect student performance?

We use all of this information and share it in aggregate with our educational partners and make suggestions as to what can be done giving the schools we work with a deep understanding of how to develop their courses.