Monday, October 24, 2011

How do you "use" an online class?

Shimelle's current class, Pretty Paper Party, has been going on for a few days, and it has really helped me find my scrapbooking mojo and given me some nice blog content. As the class has proceeded, I've begun to think about how I "use" an online class and to wonder about how others do the same.  
1. For me, I rarely follow the prompts precisely or follow a sketch exactly. Part of my issue is that I have a very distinct style - it's very linear and it incorporates a lot of photos. I almost always make two page layouts.  This is very different from Shimelle's style, which tends heavily to pages with a single photo.  Instead, I tend to use the prompts as a jumping off point or inspiration to create something.  Today's layout, for instance, was prompted by a post about mixing polka-dots and stripes. I didn't do the mixing on this layout, but I did use her sketch to build the page on the left-hand side.  The rest of the layout flowed very easily from that starting-point.
2. I also use classes as major motivation. I'm not sure why participating in a class gives me the freedom to set aside time to craft, but it does. And I'm really happy to be making progress.
3. For some classes, I use the class forum a lot to meet people and to discuss ideas. I haven't done that so much with this current class so far. But I really want to (and will this weekend) because it helps me connect with others and make new blog friends.
4. Some on line classes give great instruction via the PDF's or videos. I think that Shimelle's description of putting together a "kit" or "collection," for example, was fabulous!
5. Finally, I love using classes as blog fodder. Since my blog focuses on my art, it's nice to have new artwork to share. It's also nice to discuss the various prompts in the blogosphere with others who are taking the class.
So, I'm curious. How do you "use" an online class? And for those of you tired of the vacation photos and this kit/collection, take heart! I only have one more layout left to go!


Amy said...

It really depends on what I want from the class.

I do like some that are heavily technique focused, like a photography class or a digi scrapping class - with these ones I am more involved with 'homework', this can also end in tears though as these are the sorts I usually end up falling behind in .. there can be too much of a commitment, or, I am not good at time managment!

Mostly I do not follow prompts or sketches in a class like a LSNED or a JYC, but, then, in DYL I followed carefully.

I really enjoy open-ended classes, the sort that allow for individual interpretation and have an emphasis on journaling and journaling ideas.

I don't use classes for blog fodder as often as I thought I would, I think that depends on how much involvement I have on the particular forum. Oh, and forums, they can be wonderful and terrible ... modified involvement is the key! ;-)

scrappyjacky said...

I think I use classes in much the same way as you, main reason for doing them is inspiration....and Shimelle's are particularly inspiring....even though I often don't exactly follow the prompts....I like that they can take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to try new things.
Classes definately motivate me to create.....and I always create more during a class.
I also sometimes take a class with the aim of learning something completely new....such as with the She Art class.
I'm not so concerned with the forums....apart from Shimelle's which I always take part in...not quite sure why I particularly like hers....but it is so supportive and friendly.

scrappyjacky said...

I also meant to say how much I like the page that is almost entirely brilliantly.

humel said...

I'm not tired lol! Looking forward to seeing the next one too!

As for classes, I can identify with a lot of what you've said here. I do sometimes follow a prompt or sketch exactly as well, but mainly I get inspiration and motivation from them; I do enjoy being involved on the class forum when I can (I missed it during this year's LSNED - I kept up with the project but just didn't have time for the forum and felt slightly detached from the class as a result); and while I don't set out to find blog fodder, I enjoy sharing my projects so I do end up with plenty of posts from classes! Particularly this one - I've got enough material for 2 posts a day till the end of October, and that's without the new layouts I confidently expect to be making through the rest of the class!

laurie said...

i like to start a class, get some ideas, run with them and have a great time but i rarely ever "finish" the class. i blame that on lack of time but i am also easily distracted. :-)

Irene said...

I have taken a few classes online and rarely follow prompts. I do prefer a live class setting where I can get and give instant feedback from other students. I never get tired of knowing your family through your photos.

Heather said...

I agree with what Laurie said above!!

Terry said...

Honestly, most classes bore me! I know that is sad, but I lose interest really fast! Now if techniques are involved, then I am good to go. I have taken a couple of online classes and with those, you can make it more to your own personal liking! Either way, learning is a good thing! And speaking of learning, I hope you will come play at GM!

Alison said...

I too identify with much of what you've said Rinda, though have found myself following prompts more with this class than JYC and LSNED. I'm enjoying the sketches this time too, but haven't found as much time to get on the forum, as I have in previous how you've used so many pics on your LO!
Alison xx

Cheryl said...

I love taking classes but I do not follow them to the letter and usually use them for a bit of inspiration. I love your LO the photos are just gorgeous and it works so well x

Anonymous said...

Like Amy, it depends on the class. If it's a photography class, then I'm focused on technique and I usually participate on the boards since I'm looking for constructive criticism, and want to learn from the other participants.

Classes like Shimelle's current class, I use primarily for motivation and inspiration. Once in awhile I'll follow a sketch closely, but not too often. I used to participate on the boards a lot, but now I feel lucky to have the time to create, and have had to realize that I can't do it all!

I've also taken a couple classes specifically to learn how to use equipment or to expand the ways I use some of the materials I own. I took a great class on the Silhouette when I first got it, and I use it much more often because I developed some confidence during the class.

I'm not at all tired of your vacation layouts!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Mostly I use them for inspiration & blog fodder. I'm erratic about forum participation, it depends on the class size. I take a lot of daily prompt type classes & I NEVER get things done daily. Not ever. I tend to save prompts up and do several pages at once or even combine prompts into a single page. Sometimes I blog the prompt and weeks later manage a layout.
And I am going to admit I never watch the videos. I don't watch any videos online really, maybe the occasional youTube but my internet speed is such that video watching is painful & I've had to skip some photo editing classes because they were mostly video based.