New AV equipment will aid in the production of the video for my online course.

Wow! What a response to last week’s post about my intention to produce an online fabric collage course. I received over 140 comments, by far the most of any of my posts. It was so positive and overwhelming I felt I needed to respond with this special edition of my blog. Don’t worry, your regularly-scheduled post, which will include yet another video tutorial, will be in your inbox tomorrow morning.

Not only were the comments plentiful, but they were very helpful and encouraging as well. It’s now clear that, as I had guessed, there’s a lot of pent up demand out there for instruction in what I do. Lots of you who left comments expressed a clear desire to try the class out once it’s launched.

You’re free to read them yourself, if you wish, but here’s a summary of what I gleaned (in no particular order):

  • You want it all. Most who expressed a preference wanted the class to cover the entire fabric collage process beginning to end. Some wanted it that way because they were beginners. Others had some experience but felt that having the class as a refresher would be helpful.
  • You want series of classes. A significant number of you said you’d like to move from beginner to intermediate to advanced. Which obviously can’t be done in one online class. There’s just too much to cover. It makes sense to break them into separate courses so that beginners won’t be overwhelmed, and as they progress, they can move on to more advanced topics.
  • You like Craftsy. Craftsy seems to be the most popular platform for online quilting instruction. I also have some colleagues that teach through Craftsy. Another option that I failed to mention is self-hosting. There is software that would allow me (with help from my assistant, Tom) to run the class myself. That’s the way I’m leaning now. Though I will probably use Craftsy as my model. Be sure that I will try to accommodate all the other options you found useful.
  • Feedback. You want to be able to ask questions and get answers in a timely manner. However, several of you were kind enough to mention that I shouldn’t try to take on the task of providing feedback to everyone forever. There has to be a limit imposed, either by limiting the number of students taking the class at one time, or by limiting the length of time a student can ask questions or both. One brilliant bit of advice was to offer a discounted version of the class without feedback. That might help to reduce the number of questions.
  • Community support. You want to be able to discuss your projects with other students. Being able to post pictures of your work was also important. Some suggested a private Facebook page, which makes sense to me. One or two were Facebook foes, for which I have some sympathy, but Facebook is so ubiquitous and relatively easy to use. I’ll explore other options but suspect that Facebook may have to be the solution.
  • Price. You’re used to classes being relatively inexpensive. Some even spoke about waiting for Craftsy classes to go on sale. I understand that, but have mixed feelings in that I want to make sure content does not suffer due to a low price. This would be most relevant if we do the production ourselves as there is equipment and software to purchase, and my assistant has already informed me he doesn’t come cheap. Truly, Tom already puts much time into these blogs, though he does seem to enjoy the challenge.
  • Support materials. You like having something written down that you can refer to. Segment outlines, materials list, FAQs—these are all things that seem pretty mandatory.
  • Permanent access. Once you purchase a class you want to be able to refer back to it forever. In other words, you want to own it. This seems more than reasonable. I would want that, too.
  • Some of you live in the boonies. Just kidding. A few mentioned having slow internet access or only having limited internet access, making downloading videos difficult. One solution to this is to produce a DVD.
  • Your expect high quality AV. Some of you mentioned that in the sample video I provided in last week’s post the sound was a little low and that the lighting was a bit harsh. With that helpful criticism in mind, we have already purchased a better microphone and some professional lights. I hope to produce a new video or two with the new AV equipment for tomorrow’s regularly-scheduled post.
  • I should find some guinea pigs. Some suggested I try the class out on a small group. This would give the me an opportunity to change things that aren’t working before launching “worldwide.”
  • Mini Classes. More advanced students may find a lengthy beginning-to-end course unnecessary. They might prefer Mini Classes that cover a specific topic—something like the fabric selection video from last week, though a bit more involved, perhaps—might be a better option for them. This fits nicely with one idea I already had, which was to “update” previous blog posts, such as those on gluing, value, and making a pattern for fabric collage, with video tutorials.

This list isn’t the end all and be all of my thinking about developing online courses, but it takes me a long way.

Thank you. I’m grateful for the advice you have shared. Feel free to continue!

Djinni and I say sew long until tomorrow.

52 Comments

  • This sounds great Susan. One thing I like about craftsy that was not mentioned is that it can be downloaded to view offline once you have purchased the class. I have done this with Pam Holland and I have studied it often just to reassure and build confidence in what you are doing. Good luck. I will be buying for sure.

  • Really the most important thing is that you do not stress yourself out over this…. This is supposed to be fun for you and Tom also, so.. if it just doesn’t work out people that care will understand.. the others need to get a life and understand how much work this really is.. lol……. I loved your class that I was able to take so if this happens look forward to getting it to continue on my journey!! Thank you so much for all that you do

  • I didn’t react last week, too much happening over Christmas but you can add me to the 140! I also love your work and tried to get one of your books but alas out of print. I live in the uk so the chances of actually taking a live class are zero but online would be great. I have used ruzuku, which was easy and worked well. I know about craftsy but haven’t actually used it. FB is easy to use and have no problems with that. Charge a price that pays you for your work! Inexpensive is all very well but putting a course together takes time and effort and has costs involved as well. And be careful what resources you make available as there are always those who will ‘share’. Really looking forward to what comes out of this.

    • Thanks, Hanneke. You know, you can get my book through my website. It’s not “in print” but I still have copies for sale!

  • I also didn’t leave feedback, but will definitely be signing up. While I like a bargain like the next person, you do need to charge commensurate to your talent and experience. Look forward to your course/s.

  • Wow …… I am sure that your class will be amazing.
    – What a great idea breaking down the class into sections. There are TONS of us who have your book read cover to cover many many times but have never taken a class from you and then there will be those for whom it is all new territory.
    – I thought that the video you presented last time was just great. You came across loud, clear and concise with your information. I found the lighting bright and the fabric selection easy to see.
    – Craftsy is a great platform but…. they seemed to have stalled and have not put any new classes up there for a long time. Presumably for you, the producer of the class, on a purely cost basis it might be a better deal for you to produce independently.
    – I think that mini classes sound like a great idea. The very few collages that I have made with your book as my bible I have certainly run into areas where it would be lovely to ask questions. Glueing was certainly a problem – I went with a glue stick which also has problems. Tule…. ugg, that was a biggy. Different types of tule, how to sew it etc, whole cloth or pieced background to name but a few.

    Happy Creating – I really look forward to your class.

  • I’m looking forward to any videos you produce… I’ve begun the introductory spiral quilt and have referred to your mini vid on fabric selection a good number of times already! It’s a good resource in conjunction with your book.

    Even tho we are all clamoring for ‘net classes, take your time & enjoy the process, otherwise it becomes a job, and they ain’t no fun for nobody … My own “assistant” isn’t cheap either, and you know good help is sooo hard to find! 😄

  • This sounds wonderful! I would love to volunteer to be a guinea pig as a true beginner! Mini classes even for beginners would be great! I’m looking forward to this!

  • Sound great Susan, yes please do this I have not been able to attend your classes in person, but having your classes available online is the best. I do many classes online like youtube, craftsy, and craft university. Please do this you will not be disappointed.

  • I think a mini test class would be great…and would like to be part of that…as I suspect most people would…so instead of trying it out on a limited group, why not do a test mini class for a perhaps nominal fee where you can find any glitches, and then present your regular class. Or just start with your beginning class and deal with the glitches as they present themselves…there were no observable glitches in your test demo on choosing fabric…I would say don’t waste your time on trials…just go for it. I had no problem with the lighting or sound, in your demo, and since you have upgraded, you have probably resolved those issues. Leah Day produces her own classes on her own platform…maybe check out what she does. Ease of accessibility is also important…too many steps or passwords to access the class would be frustrating. This is a wonderful idea…just dive in and do it…you cannot anticipate every potential problem…just deal with them as they arise. Something I tell my online students…don’t panic if there is a problem…just email me and I will fix it for you…no worries. Good Luck! Looking forward to the finished product and chance to sign up!

  • Yes, that sounds really good. Outline is perfect. Make the beginner video first and then you could just sell chapters if people want to buy mini class. I think self production should give you more profit although that’s more headache. You need to host and then figure out how it immediately is available after they pay…without you doing anything. I will surely watch it! You have your book to use as guide so that’s half outline. For the advanced class it could be Portraits and capturing the soul of the subject. It all sounds like a sound business venture for you! Happy new year!

  • I am a great admirer of your work and technique; have your two books and got a friend to bring me the Specimens catalog from Houston. I’ve even seriously considered traveling to one of your classes but thought I needed to start by making one of your patterns from the book in order to be more ready to learn from you in person. (This sounds like cleaning up the house the day before the maid comes, doesn’t it??!!) All that to say I’ll be eager to see the online plans in place!

  • Susan, this is such exciting news!!! I love the suggestion to offer separate classes for different levels of experience. I would definitely be in the beginner class. And offering DVDs of the classes is also an excellent idea. I know this will take some time to develop, but I can’t wait!!! Thank you!

  • I am so excited about this endeavor! Looking forward to being able to take a class with you once you get it put together. Exciting news!
    Thank you for sharing all that you do!

  • I will be delighted with anything you offer! I thought your video on fabric selection was just fine, so I’m sure I’ll be happy with your next videos. It just thrills me that you are heading in this direction. I will take your online classes, and would also purchase a DVD if offered, just so I would know I had the information no matter what my laptop does! I have taken a few of the Craftsy classes, buying them with the knowledge that I can access them at any time. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this. I’ve followed you since your class 801 on The Quilt Show website. And that’s been a while!! I also buy the TQS DVD’s for the same reason as above.

  • Yea, I’m very excited about your plans and will definitely be one to take your class. I have taken one class with you and would really benefit from having the opportunity to learn more from you.

  • Susan,
    I, like a few others, did not have any input to the survey, but I did read the post today. I was very surprised at some of the requests. I am new to quilting, and I was so excited to discover your art quilts and how beautifully done they are. Would I like to learn your technique, of course, but not at the risk of you feeling “boxed in” by how you should do classes. I was excited to see that I could access your book through your website, and plan to purchase a copy. I also was Thrilled to see you will be in Kalispell again this year, for two sessions, but unfortunately for me, but fortunate for you, both sessions are full. I live in Bigfork, so close, but by the time I saw the class, I was too late, wish I could be a fly on the wall. Your quilts are a true art form, and if you decide to do on-line classes I will be signing up. I appreciate the time and work you put into your quilts and understand that this is not a technique that can be learned in one or two or several classes, or at a price that diminishes your efforts, so please let us know what your final decisions will be. I wish you the very best in 2017.

  • I can hardly wait for you to be in my living room with me. Personally I prefer DVDs over Craftsy or any other online platform. Good luck with this new venture…I know what I’m going to ask hubby to give me for my birthday.

  • Yes! I will be ready when you are. One comment on the lighting in your blog photo…hopefully you will have better lighting on you from the front…it is strong from the sides and the back but not great on our side of the camera. Can hardly wait to start with whatever you decide.

  • I didn’t reply the first time either, but, WOW! this is great news! I have only taken two online quilting couses and they were on Quilt University with Marilyn Belford. And I’ve taken several online photgraphy courses through Creative Live. Also last year I took Ricky Tims Photography class which he hosts himself. It was a year long class with a lesson once a week. If you know Ricky, I’m sure he’d be willing to share his experiences of self-hosting.

    I think being able to post pictures of what you’re doing with your class project AND getting feedback as you go along is critical to success. I’m one of those who live in the boonies, so although having a DVD would be great, I’d hate to give up the posting and feedback loop.

    As far as how long the feedback should continue, at Quilt University, as I recall, you could still post your work and get feedback for 3 or 4 weeks after the class ended. There should definitely be an end date to when feedback should end. Otherwise the rest of your life will be taken up with answering questions from people who took the course 5 years ago.

    I too would be willing to be a guinea pig. If not, I’m looking forward to being a paying future student! Thanks for thinking about taking this on!

  • Hi Susan, I would love to be a guinea pig for you. I live in New Zealand and would be thrilled beyond words to get some online tutoring from you. Looking forward to any and all opportunity to learn your techniques. Thanks Pam

  • I am so thrilled to be on this list and to have the opportunity to receive your help. May I say that I totally agree with Martha and Hanneke!!!! Your time, as well as Tom’s, is valuable and I hope your offer can stay safe and that you both see thatyou are both amply compensated for your help, work, enthusiasm and brilliance!!!!! I can’t wait to begin!!!!!!
    Christine

  • I don’t know how I missed last week’s post, but I am super excited about this. It wouldn’t be feasible to come to one of your classes in person for years, but online is something I can do at home. Thanks

  • This sounds great! I have taken some classes from craftsy and tons of classes from quilt university when it was around and I highly recommend this type of forum. I actually did better with the quilt u classes because there was an “end” to when you could correspond with the teacher, so you had to participate and keep up. I have several craftsy classes that I have only looked at the first couple of lessons because they will always be there whenever and are easy to put off. Everybody learns differently, do what is best for you.

    I would love to be a Guinea pig if you need one.

  • I would love to have an online class available and would definitely utlize the Craftsy site but I would take from any platform. I took a class from local quilt shop and wanted to learn more, more, more.

  • I missed the original post as well. This sounds amazing, I have had both your books for years and find myself reading through these very often. I even snagged an overhead projector last summer just for a SC project. I would love a class and or dvd and a big bump to start. Sadly, I still don’t know where to begin.
    Sign me up, I can’t wait haha!

  • I didn’t get a chance to respond earlier, either. But others hits the main things I would have said. So excited, I have followed you and your art for awhile and have 2 of your books – but I havent had the courage to start. I think a video class would be just perfect, I havent been able to take a live class. Good luck getting it going, cant wait!

  • I didn’t see your first request for your on-line course but I want to put a resounding YES to everyone else – I love Craftsy if that is one venue you are thinking about. Put me on the list, I’m ready.

  • Holidays for me were to busy. What a joy it was to read today’s information from you. Please add me to the 140 too. You have my support. I’ve wanted to come to your workshops for two years now but, could not find the time or finances to do so. This will be so cool because it will be like you coming here. Yippee…

  • For sure I would love to be part of your on-line classes, and would welcome being a guinea pig. Though I have two of your books, have made four small fish hangings (all donated to charitable causes), and have a collection of pieces ready-to-go, I consider myself a neophyte. There is soooooo much to learn .. which can be quite overwhelming. Several sequential short classes sound appealing, but I’m open to anything. It would be good to have contact with other Susan Carlson ‘fans” and proteges’. Please keep me on your class mailout list. Thank you for your thinking and planning in this regard.

  • Your work is beautiful and your processes intriguing. I don’t do quilts, but I do make wearable art. I’m wondering how your techniques could be applied to wearables. Just a thought. Regards, Frances

  • What a great idea – I’m in the UK and looking forward to hearing more about these opportunities having read your books. Good luck working it all out, and yes, along with others I’d say to make sure you do not under-price your own and your husband’s work on this.

  • Please count me in. I have only recently come across your work and I absolutely love it. Being a UK resident I am unlikely to ever be able to attend one of your workshops in person but would love to do an online workshop with you. I have done very few online courses but have found that Craftsy seems to work pretty well.
    Feedback from yourself would be wonderful, but obviously if you have a lot of people following the course this would not be practical for you. There would simply be not enough hours in the day. Limiting numbers might solve the problem, but that might mean the cost puts the course out of reach for some people and I would be very disappointed if I missed enrolling because it was the middle of the night or I was looking after grandchildren or shopping at the time it became available.
    So. I would love to start with a small project, specified by you, where you can give us detailed instructions on how to progress. We each have our own fabric staches so results would be different but we would be guided as to shadows and highlights etc. and
    the use of sheers, nets etc.
    I will be keeping my online eyes and ears alert hoping you will go ahead with an online course of some sort.

  • Thank Goodness I found you! Have admired your work so much…saw your class online in Wisconsin and followed the link and signed up for newsletter and blog notices. I take many classes online and will jump at the chance to take your class in whatever Media of your choice. I will be watching…

  • Please add my name to the 140 who responded. I do live in the tech boonies with slow dial-up Internet and I would LOVE to have the opportunity to have a DVD of the online class if my computer just can’t handle your class video format (some work and some don’t). I have been wanting to explore your collage technique and I have actually used it on one quilt so far. You do fabulous work!

    Nancy

  • Susan,
    I love love love your work! I’m “in” for whichever way you decide to present your classes, I know there are many of us out there who are in awe of what you do and happy for any kind of instruction coming from you.
    Thanks for your posts and I’ll be waiting to see (and purchase) your videos.
    FYI, I like the idea of the beginner, intermediate and advanced format presentation.
    Kathleen Watts
    Chilliwack, BC
    Canada

  • Hello Susan, first I would like to say you are an amazing artist! I have been following you only for about 6 months now. I have been a quilter for about 6 yrs but just getting into more fiber art in the last 2 yrs. I am looking forward to working on my Gecko pattern I ordered from you. I have done a few of my own works just using a photo and then working in up in fabric but I have always been more of a realistic look, looking forward to working from a different approach. I did just finish a giraffe picture I would love to share it with you but I was not sure how to email you a picture. Thank you looking forward to following your blog and hopefully taking some of your on line classes.

  • Live in Holland, am a starter, what you do is what I have been looking for. Thinking out of the box, the colours! I have ordered your books would love to follow your lessons, if you were in the U.K., no problem, but you are a bit too far away.
    Look forward to more news. You are an inspiration.
    Thank you …… Irene

  • Hi Susan, your work is fabulous. I would love to learn your collage method. I have many Craftsy classes and love the lifetime access. Having said that, I don’t expect questions answered years into the future. I do however, steer away from purchasing classes that have an end date where I no longer have access after a period of time. Now I always avoid classes without videos. I took classes at what used to be Quilt University and do not like the format without video. I have taken classes where there is video but you only have access for 4-6 weeks. I no longer participate in those because life gets busy and I may not get everything done by the time the class ends. Looking forward to seeing what direction you move toward. Good luck and Best wishes. Helen

  • Hi Susan,
    I can’t wait for your online classes! I have gladly subscribed to your website,as your fees are extremely reasonable

    I would be happy to be a ‘tester’. I was a technical writer by trade, and could provide detailed feedback. I am at the beginning of learning your process. I would appreciate a blog about learning to ‘see’.
    I would also love to hear from other students how they resolve design issues as they create.

  • Susan,
    I have just recently been introduced to you via a friend who saw your lizard quilt online somewhere. Today I visited your site and WOW sister, you have an amazing eye and imagination that produces spectacular work! I ‘ve just shopped for your book online and am anxious to spend some time learning from you. I have taken many classes on Craftsy and echo that it is a well done learning platform. I will absolutely follow you and sign up for your online class when/where it becomes available. My work schedule doesn’t allow me to attend onsite very often due to other demands on my off days and the online format works for my work/life balance.
    Keep up your fabulous work and I look forward to getting to know your work and learning from you.
    A longtime quilter and avid student,
    Carol

  • Susan, this is exactly what I came to your website for! I was hoping to find an online class offered, as I don’t have funds to travel to another state, nor the time off work to participate for a week. Having something offered on Craftsy, where I could watch it when I’m able would be so amazing! I hope this is something that you can pull together by tomorrow (smile).

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