We’ve been engrossed in teaching Photoshop Elements Essentials I, which started a couple of weeks ago. We are having so much fun. The students are great and are learning so much. It’s wonderful to witness the “aha” moments. We’re answering students questions at all hours of the day (okay, so we have yet to answer between the magic hours of 4am – 8am), but since we have students all over the world, some of them may have received their answers at that time, their time. Or was that yesterday? Time may be a jumble for us, but not the great work the students are posting.
As this class winds down, we’re already looking forward to teaching Essentials II February 9 – March 1, 2015 (3 weeks). We will go over all the essential tools and manipulations we know fiber artists and non-sewers alike will use the most. Won’t you join us? Beginners and those needing a refresher course are most welcome. Please go to our class page for more information and to register.
Virginia Spiegel, mixed media artist and fellow SAQA member, has been organizing auctions of fiber artwork since 2005, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society. This year it’s called The 100 Fundraiser for a Cause. Virginia invited 100 artists (including us, an honor) to donate an artwork that would be auctioned off for $100. On February 4, beginning at 10 am (Central time), donors can place their order. The first one hundred people to donate $100 will receive one of the artworks chosen randomly. We then send the artwork to the donor. This all seems very exciting, and we’re happy to be part of raising $10,000 for a good cause. Kris lost both her parents to cancer, and Deb lost her brother-in-law and childhood friend to the dreaded disease. We are happy to participate in this cause. Here’s our donation. It’s called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The Balancing Act” (8″x 10″ matted). Please consider donating to this cause. You might get this piece!
We love teaching, and we love technology, but teaching and technology don’t always work together. So why do the Pixeladies bother teaching online? It’s convenient–for both the student and the teacher. We have students from all over the world, and we don’t have to be up 24 hours a day. We post our class materials, and students can view them whenever they like. In pajamas, even.
There is one thing I really miss, though. I miss seeing the students’ eyes. You can actually see light bulbs turn on, but you can also see blank stares when you just haven’t explained it right. And I can’t walk up and look at their monitors and see what they are doing. You know what I mean. “It’s not working!” she cries. So I go over to her and ask her to show me what she’s trying to do. And it works perfectly . . . as long as I’m standing there.
Teaching online is kind of like doing a puzzle. You have to try to figure out what the student did differently than instructed. Is it user error or some glitch in the program, computer, or internet? I have to ask lots of clarifying questions–many that have nothing to do with Photoshop. PC or Mac? If you restart Photoshop does the problem go away? Do you have your Caps Lock key on? Are you standing on your head while clicking the mouse?
But teaching is fun for me. Of course I’d rather teach in person. But I’m “meeting” lots of talented, fun people from all over the world. So are the students. And isn’t that part of learning?
My favorite part about teaching online is that we can have a lot more students in a class than we could if we taught in person. And as Deb said, it’s students from all around the world. The community we create online is truly unique. The way we get our students connected is through Moodle. Moodle is an open-source learning platform that you can modify to your own needs. For example, we have the grading system turned off. (Whew!) The class has a weekly schedule that we can set up ahead of time and release when the time comes. As a control freak, I love that part of the program. We can also check to make sure everyone is accessing the site and not falling behind. Click here if you teach online and would like to read more about Moodle. We highly recommend it. We hope you can join us for a class soon. Click here for more information.
This is a friendly reminder that our next Photoshop Elements class starts Monday, January 12. This first class is really suited for beginners and for those who want a refresher or need help finding their way around the Photoshop Elements 13 workspace. Both three-week classes come with videos, handbooks, and three live webinars. Students tell us they really appreciate the individualized feedback. We hope you can join us! Click here for more information and to register for classes.