Monday, June 20, 2011

Online Classes: How Do You Decide?

Tip of the Day: It's time for the national sunscreen debate, which I follow closely because my skin is severely sun damaged. Although one of my state senators is trying to ban retinyl palmitate, most medical experts say it's not harmful at all. Ah, politcs vs. science!

I'm starting an online class today through Women on Writing. A close friend of mine works with the organizers of the site, so I know it's a portal I can trust. As I implied in my Tip of the Day, I have to go through a whole research process, deciding who I can trust, before I shell out $10 for sunscreen. You can imagine what I go through before I sign up for an online class.

I feel good about trusting Women on Writing, but the instructor has almost the same email address as a very funny friend of mine. So when my first assignment showed up today, I was like, "Hey, fun email address! This attachment should be ... wait, this is WORK!" And it's not just a little bit of work, either. She's quite serious. But those are the best classes, aren't they? After all, the goal is to get as much expert opinion as you can while you can, so the more work you do, the better.

It's all about who the instructor is, so it's important to Google his or her name before you sign up for the class. Writers' boards like Verla Kay's Blueboards and Absolute Write are great resources. Don't forget to ask your writer friends for recommendations.

Then there's the money issue. Have I heard fabulous things about Highlights Founders Retreats and Media Bistro courses? Sure. Can I afford them? Well, not this year. Or last year. Or the year before. But obviously choosing a class by picking the lowest bidder is a terrible idea.

So, do your research, find a class you trust, then figure out if you can afford it. If you sign up, remember that the more work you put into it, the more you get out of it. Interact with the instructor as much as possible about the subject you're studying (keep on topic). I'd love it if you added your online class tips to the comments!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages


DeenaML said...

Yay switch from day job editing to doing your own writing! Have fun and share your new knowledge, ok? :)

Emily Marshall said...

Have fun!