Monday, September 30, 2013


I recently heard a quote that really hit home for me. While I can’t remember the exact words or who to attribute the quote to, it has stayed with me.  The best teachers are themselves perpetual students.

As teachers, we are always looking for new content and new ways of getting material across to our students. One of the best ways that I have found to energize my writing, my art, and my teaching is to go back to being a student myself.

In my own experience, there is really no substitute to participating in a “live “class with an instructor and other students. But work, family life, and volunteer obligations often make it difficult to travel outside the home each week for new learning experiences. The next best thing is to take advantage of the endless possibilities of online learning for credit or just for fun. From classes on writing and illustrating, new art techniques, teaching strategies for the classroom to just about anything else can be found on-line. Learning on your own time in the comfort of your home can be a real plus. With so much out there, how do you choose? Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful to look for when considering an online class:

1. Overall experience of the teacher or presenter-are you familiar with their body of work?
2. Access to class content-is the class only accessible for a few weeks or do you have unlimited time to complete the class?
3. Is the class all written material and photos or are videos of the instructor incorporated? Is a PDF of class content available as part of the class?
4. Is there a forum for sharing class work with other students and does the teacher actively participate in the forum?
5. Is the instructor available for questions and interaction?
6. Is there a sample video of the class that can be viewed before purchasing?
7. Is the cost reasonable for what you are being offered?
8. Are there former participating students that you can contact about their experiences with the class?

Like any classroom learning experience, some classes and teachers are better than others. It helps to know as much as you can about the class and instructor before jumping in.
As a teacher, are you ready to take your class online? There are even online classes about teaching on-line.

Happy learning everyone!

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