thinking about online classes

We’ve got Spring! Actually, we seem to be getting near summer temps so these won’t last very long.

I am taking a class with Diane of Craftypod fame on how to run an online class. Now I have so many questions! Whenever I announce that I am going to run a class at my house, people pipe up and ask me to do an online class- that is why I am looking into the technicalities of it all.

Now that I am actually having to think about the specifics, I’d love some feedback. My confession is that I have only ever taken one online class and that was probably about 10 years ago. I can hardly even remember it!

What kind of class do people want? I can only really imagine (at this point) teaching the Tiny World Pattern. What would someone want to get out of an online class that would be so much better than just buying the pattern? Or should I be thinking of a completely different kind of class?

How long would a class like this go for? A week? When I teach it at my house, the class runs from 10 am to 4 pm and most people don’t finish. I know people probably don’t sit down for a whole day and go through an online class- or do they?

One of the fun things about having classes at my house is that I have all the materials and fun tools to play with. Are people going to feel comfortable collecting everything they need? Do most project-type classes have kits with the supplies?

On top of that, if you have taken craft project online classes, what do you like best about them? Why do they work for you? Should I go try out a few classes? If so, got any recommendations?

I’d love to hear your feedback! If I can get some ideas that will narrow things down, I might do a survey but at this point, I wouldn’t even know what questions to ask!

11 thoughts on “thinking about online classes

  1. That’s great that you’re thinking of having an online class. I’d say start with a different project than your pattern. You want to offer something that’s not already available as a pattern (PDF or paper).

    I’ve taken quite a few online doll classes through Doll Street Dreamers .. I think all of them were by doll designer Angela Jarecki. She tends to have them run 4 to 5 weeks and has a new chapter available each week. I think by the end of the class I have anywhere from 50-60 pages of instruction with lots of color pictures. Also during the class time period she answers questions. The class is hosted at yahoo groups so each class member can post pictures of their progress to get help.

    The difference between a class and a PDF pattern is all the extra pictures (some teachers also have video demos) and the one-on-one attention via email.

    I hope that helps. :-)

  2. I’m doing an online class right now with Craftsy ~ it’s the block of the month ~ and really enjoying it. And I’ve done a lot of tutorials online.
    I really don’t have any suggestion (I just read Tami’s comment, it’s good) but I’d be excited to take an online class with you!

  3. Dear Mimi,
    I am a brazillian graphic designer, from Rio de Janeiro. A 48 years old girl that had her life changed since I first saw your pattern of that lovely dolls in Purlbee.
    There is so much to say, and so many thing to I would like to show you, that I could spend all day writting.
    But let´s, first, be objective: for me, online classes woulb be spectacular.
    Just to see you working, how do you do your “endings”, hou you hold the materials… would be delightfull.
    Whatever you do, I’m IN!
    Thanks a lot!
    I am having A LOT OF FUN doing my dolls!

  4. If I were to pay for an online class, I’d like to learn about things like techniques and designing. For instance, how to go about designing a doll, then tips and methods for the construction. I’d rather learn about HOW to make my own doll, rather than make a copy of what you do or follow a specific pattern.
    My breath is taken away whenever you post your new work, at the detail you put into your pieces…I’d like to learn how you do that!

  5. Tami- Thanks! That is exactly the kind of info I’m interested in.

    Beth- That would have to come after I have some experience with the online format. I should start making a list of possible classes!

    Lots of things to think about so far. Thanks for your input!

  6. I have taken a couple of online classes and although I didn’t take full advantage of either, I was happy with both. An online class with Mimi Kirchner would be my dream. Do Tiny Worlds, do fish, owls, kitties, dolls…anything..I am there…something other than available patterns would be great but not a game changer for me. I know this wasn’t very helpful but meant to be encouraging!

  7. Hi,
    I’ve taken lots of online classes from various providers. Some post a weekly lesson, some are work-at-your-own-pace, some give access to lots of downloadable PDF instructions, tutorials, pictures, some are a series of video demonstrations. Although it’s more trouble for some people, I like best the ones where you upload pictures of whatever you’re doing for the class and get some feedback from the teacher and from your fellow students. And you can give feedback on theirs too, and ask questions, so the learning is multiplied.
    Good luck!

  8. Mimi,
    I can only imagine what will have to go into putting an online class together, but whatever it is I hope you decide to do it. I have every one of your pdf patterns and am constantly inspired by your blog. Being able to actually see you working on a doll/fish/owl/anything would be wonderful. When you get to the point where you will be shooting video, make sure that the person you choose has experience tutorial videos and has the proper equipment so that you get the best footage possible. Once you have shot everything you might want to think about offering your classes on DVD. You could offer pdfs as well as DVDs in your Etsy shop. As for the classes , I like the “work-at-your-own-pace” that Susan mentioned above. There is never enough time in a day…
    Good luck and we can’t wait to see what you do!

  9. Mimi, I have taught online classes and taken a few. Online classes offer the user the ability to work at their own pace with a yahoo group, message board or some other type of communication available to them for questions. I have found that most students don’t ask many questions, unless they are beginners. Doing an online class takes LOTS of time to put together. You need to cover ALL aspects of the project, thinking like a beginner so you can reach the most students. The more advanced students will work it out for themselves while beginners will like the option of communicating with you. Be prepared to photograph almost every step in your process. Students like pictures. Make your directions clear and concise. In lieu of pictures, excellent illustrations are also great. I don’t like online classes that release chapters of the project over a period of time. I tend to lose interest, then wonder why I spent the money at all. If you must set a time frame, make it reasonable AND offer the complete class in a download too. Remember, your time is your own, don’t let the class intrude too much on that.
    Hope this helps in your decision. Personally, I’d love a Mimi class online.

  10. I know about you from Dollstreet, where I have taken some on line classes. To tell the truth, the one from a “well known” doll maker was a complete expensive fiasco. The patterns did not match her instructions, 3 of us complained with the same problem and got no satisfaction. From then on, I swore I would not ever take an on line class again. I am a mini doll maker, my won patterns too, so I’d be interested in seeing what you have to offer.

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