On the eve of a new year, one does tend to look to the past and future at the same time. I realized that as far as this blog is concerned, I already offered a nice yearly wrap-up in my one-year anniversary post a couple months ago—no need to do more yet. But looking ahead, I do have a challenge for the new year that I think you can help me with.
I’ve often wished that everyone who wanted to take a class with me was able to.
But four factors—time, distance, cost, and accessibility—prevent many potential students from actually taking a class. I can’t control the first three factors. I can’t control how much time people have or how far away they live from the venues where I teach. I also can’t do much in terms of cost: I don’t control how much other venues charge, and I have carefully priced my own retreats to be as affordable as possible.
The last factor, accessibility—how many classes I teach—is the one I’ve been struggling with lately. As my husband says, I can’t clone myself—yet—so I can’t teach more classes than I already do.
Above: Can I take what I do in class and make it work online?
The solution, as with many problems these days, lies with technology. Not cloning technology—the internet. I’m currently developing an online course. There are limitations to online classes, of course. They will never truly replace the experience of attending workshops in person. However, the beauty of this solution is that, done right, an online course can address all four factors at once: it allows students to take the class at their convenience not mine, it can be done from anywhere, it can be relatively inexpensive (especially when you factor in travel), and it can be available to more students. I (and my husband, Tom) have been researching how it’s done. We’ve looked at various platforms and formats. But in order to do it right, I need your help.
If you have taken an online class in the past, especially a quilting class, I’d like to hear about your experience. Please use the comments section of this post to tell me anything you’d like to about the class you took.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Have you ever taken online courses?
- What venue did you do it with (such as Craftsy or iquilt.com, etc.)? What was it like?
- Were you satisfied? If not why not?
- What were the best things about your class? What could have been improved upon?
- Would you be interested in an online course from me? If so, what are you looking for? For example: Technique only. Short project. One-on-one video coaching.
Don’t feel like you have to answer every question. Whatever you can contribute is appreciated. Your comments will help to make the class as successful as possible.
Tom and I do have some ideas and the plan is to have an online class available to students by springtime. I know that’s a flexible deadline, but considering the size and complexity of the undertaking that’s as close as I can come.
As with any project, getting started is often the hardest part. So this week we jumped in. Tom set up the lights, put the camera on a tripod, and we planned the action, taking it down to the basic question: where do you start with fabric collage? Answer: with the fabric! The result is the video below—kinda like an audition tape—a short sample of what is possible.
Maybe it isn’t perfect, but we’ve been talking about adding an occasional video element to the blog anyway. This little test made me enthusiastic to see what we can do for an entire class. With your help I think it can be something special.
Oh, by the way, a safe and happy new year to you.