Zoo Lions (layout made in Building Pages class)
Since my local scrapbook store closed, I've become more interested in taking on-line classes. In choosing an on-line class, here are some of the things I consider:
1. What kind of a student am I? I am a jump right in with both feet and complete all the lessons kind of student. It bothers me to sign up for a class and then not "do it." I am also a student with a very varied, "to-do" list a mile long. I only take classes that will help me accomplish something on my list (which includes everything from catching up in my scrapbooking to improving my photography to working on mixed media art).
2. What is the media? I don't sew, and I don't do digital scrapbooking/art journaling, etc. So, I don't sign up for classes that work extensively in those media. That actually eliminates a lot of potential classes.
3. What is the duration of the class and how frequent are lessons posted? My attention span for a class runs about three weeks - four weeks max. If it's longer than that, I don't think I'll stick with it. I also like classes which post lessons two to three times a week. More frequently than that, and it's hard for me to keep up. Less frequently, and I get antsy. Both of these are related to my answer to question #1. I can handle shorter classes with daily posts, but they need to be shorter (Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas is a good example).
4. Cost. This is tricky, and I'm still not sure what my price-point is. I have never paid more than $50 for an on-line class, and I'm not sure I would. Not sure why, but that seems to be a tipping point for me.
5. Community. I really like to have a forum where I can post my creations and have people ooh and aah over them. Conversely, I also like to be able to look at other people's creations and learn from them. This usually means it helps to take the class "live," when it is offered, rather than an archived class from a site. I find that forums like the one that Shimelle uses works well. I hate Flickr and have run into some other forums that are hard for me to use.
6. Instructor Feedback. It's so helpful to have an instructor who is on-line, participates and answers questions. Again, not all archived classes offer this, but I have to give props to Dina who monitors all her archived art journaling classes. Taking an archived class with her is almost like getting a private lesson!
7. Materials. I have noticed a move recently to PDF lessons and videos. I find these both very helpful. I prefer classes with long, meaty lessons and lots of explanations and examples.
What are your thoughts? What do you look for in on-line classes? Have you taken any that you would really recommend?