Tag Archives: online courses

Choosing an ecourse

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” ~ Ray Bradbury

As a creative person, I want to hang out with other creative people.

{Let’s be clear, here, that I believe that we are all creative – makers by design – but this innate creativity is not an important aspect of many people’s self-definition. They simply don’t think of themselves as creative types.}

So what I want is to hang out with other people who think of themselves as creative… and to learn cool, new things.

Finding these folks – your creativity tribe – can be tricky when you live overseas and one excellent way that I have found to meet this need is through online/ecourses.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve enrolled in five ecourses and have been thrilled with four of them. In the case of the solitary not-so-great course, I had simply not done my homework before signing up. I knew almost nothing about the people running the course and, after we began, I discovered two bits of bad news: there would be very little shared in terms of instruction and there was a weird and unexplained tension within the group. This made me feel uneasy and reluctant to share which is unfortunate because:
a) I am a big sharer
and
b) This course cost more than twice what the other courses have cost.

{You know that I’m not going to name the course because I am NOT a slagging kind of blogger.}

While this course seemed to meet the needs and expectations of many of the participants, I was not able to get my creative groove on and this experience has taught me to be more careful when I sign up for online learning opportunities. Let the buyer beware… especially when she is buying online.

Here are the questions I now ask when signing up for an ecourse:
1. What is the format of the course? What kinds of lessons are offered and how often?
2. For how many weeks does the course run?
3. What does the course cost?
4. Is there some kind of forum or comments section where learners can share their insights, challenges and other good stuff?
5. What do I know about the facilitator? Is this person equipped to make the online learning space feel inviting and safe?
6. What is the policy regarding refunds?
7. If I still have doubts, I’ll email the facilitator for more information and/or listen to the small voice saying, “You should pass on this one.”

The good news is that I’ve just completed the first week of a six-week course called Superhero Photo: Elevate the Ordinary facilitated by Andrea Scher of Superhero Journal. Although we’re just a few days into the course, I felt warmly welcomed by Andrea and my fellow photographers and there’s already been a flurry of activity on Flickr as participants check out each others’ work and leave encouraging messages and comments.

Over this past week, I’ve been living the photography recommendations from Andrea’s Superhero Manifesto. I have begun carrying my Leica with me all the time (even though I don’t yet have a proper case) and that makes it much easier to notice the small things. Just like a little kid, I’ve been standing on my tip-toes and crawling on the floor to get interesting shots and the experimentation has been paying off.

This is an ecourse that I am happy to recommend.

What are some ecourses that you’ve been happy with?