Monday, July 15, 2013

Distance Learning

Recently Daryl Lancaster blogged about her on line seminars via Weavolution.

I have not travelled to teach nearly as much as she has, but have certainly experienced my share of travel delays, time zone changes, and the general stress of modern day air travel.

As an instructor, doing more on line teaching is becoming more and more appealing.  What I would like to know is, do students feel on line learning is a viable alternative to learning in person?

One of the common themes about conferences is the expense.  And the 'bad' beds in college dorms.

So, would you be interested in more opportunities to learn on line?   Interweave Press is now developing 'webinars'.  Robyn Spady just did her first presentation.  Any feedback from the students about it?   Email me if you don't want to make a comment here....

Laura at laurafry dot com


Steph said...

I think I would love webinars. My lifestyle doesn't lend itself to attending many conferences at all and I would so love to be able to participate. I think budgets for all of us would benefit and maybe more learning would happen. Thank you for the opportunity to give my opinion. Stephanie

Gretchen said...

I think the webinars are a good idea. My budget will not allow for a conference, and most seem to be held on coasts, so travel is an added expense. I hope you consider this idea to see if it would work for you.

Nancy Garden said...

Sharing information with fellow weavers and immersion into a topic is energizing for me. I would be very sad to see in person, hands on workshops go by the wayside with a craft that is already solitary. Small communities don't offer many opportunities to share with others and I happily travel to do do that and fuel the juices to try something new.

Louisa said...

I prefer the Craftsy model where you can have access to your class whenever "forever". You can take it in very small bites if that's your preference or circumstance. The instructor is supposed to be available to answer questions but I'm sure that as time goes on it will be more difficult to get a fast answer. However by then often your question has already been answered for someone else. A big advantage is that you don't have to be online at a particular time to participate and there is a chance to sort out technical difficulties without missing the class/seminar entirely.

One of the reasons I personally gave up teaching classes was the need to travel to teach outside of my local area. I can't imagine how some instructors do that all the time as a matter of course! So much work and stress for not a lot of recompense.

One thing you miss though when you aren't in a "real" classroom is the interaction with other students and seeing them work. Although you can chat with everyone online it's not the same as up close and in person. And sometimes the most interesting participants are the quiet ones.

Just some of my thoughts for you, Laura!

Restless Knitter said...

I was going to say the same thing as Louisa. I've taken a couple of Craftsy classes and love it. The downfall is if there is a problem with your web connection or some other technical snafu. I do wish Craftsy would offer a DVD/CD for purchase for those that have problems. That would remove the asking questions/interacting with the teacher/other students thing though. Talk to Janet Dawson about her experience with them. I would love to see you do some classes with them. There's a way to suggest teachers to Craftsy and I've been meaning to ask Janet how to do that. Going to do that now before I forget.. again.

I do understand Nancy's concern about workshops going by the wayside with a craft that is already solitary. I would still attend workshops I think. But I think online gives those a chance to take a class that they might not otherwise be able to take due to travel issues, expenses, etc.

Finally, I'm not interested in Interweave's webinars. I want to be able to view the class when I can and their timeline doesn't always fit in my schedule.

Klara said...

Even commenting here is a time consuming business, so as long as I am stuck with my dial-up connection I don't see myself doing any webinars.

The other thing is that I love the personal interaction with students and teachers outside the classromm in a "school" setting. AND, if I travel to a course, it's a holiday (or at least a break from everyday activities) - once I'm there I'm free to concentrate on the subject to learn. At home there'd be a million things competing for my attention.

Gerri said...

I'm afraid to pay for a Craftsy class. I can't seem to make time for what I already could practice, let alone something new. Webinars are not of interest for the reasons stated above. I don't find online chatting anything near equal to in-person chat. The whole business with comments getting posted after the topic has changed really drives me crazy.

I can travel occasionally for craft and I love the time to focus while away.

If I couldn't travel, I would try to set aside a "creative weekend" at home and just focus. I managed that once in the last 20 years-but!! that proved it was possible and effective.

Sherie McManaman said...

I have taken a few Craftsy classes and have been very happy with the format. I've even watched on my iPad and brought it to the loom to view as I work. The questions I've asked have been answered within 24 hrs. I'm not able to travel to all the seminars I would like to so the online format is a good option for me. That said, I don't care for the fact that Interweave will only allow the information to be available for a few months. Craftsy's platform of being able to access your classes forever is a much better deal. I might need or want to review the information 4 months from now, or a years from now. I would like to always have that option. Just my 2 cents.

Laura Fry said...

All good points and lots to think about. As for 'forever' access, if you take a live seminar, you only have that one opportunity to absorb what you can while it is 'live'. As for the Craftsy classes having 'forever' access, as I mention in today's blog post, it seems as though it is more like DVD presentation, and if you bought a DVD you would have it 'forever' to watch again and again. OTOH, a one hour seminar is not a two day workshop or DVD, so having it for 3 months afterwards to review several times seems like a good compromise to me....

Anyway, I'm willing to give it a go and see what people think. If it truly isn't working we will at least have tried to assist people who can't take 'live' seminars?

Sarah Nopp said...

I have done online classes for professional advancement and never felt they were the equivalent of in person, one on one. Not that they weren't of value, just less value.
In terms of weaving, I can think of one big hurdle: We need to touch it to understand it. Sure we can learn from pictures and videos, but textiles are a textural thing, tactile.