Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I learned at our 'To Blog or not to Blog class'.

I recently produced a class on, 'To Blog or not to Blog?", I think I was channeling Shakespeare or something? Anyway it was a pretty full house. This was not a class on how to make a career out of blogging, it was simply a class on how to set up a blog and what you could do with it, a very beginner's basics.

The students were comprised of adults, most of which are retired. Some wanted to learn to blog about their hobbies or art, others had a small business and some wanted to blog about life. The instructor uses Wordpress, so we based the class around that (sorry blogger!).

Here was the challenges, some expected, some not.

First was preparing a handout for the class (the middle to older generation still likes handouts). It was hard to come up with a step-by-step of even the basics, in Wordpress. Since there is so much to learn about Wordpress, I wanted something to give as a guideline . I was surprised though that even Wordpress didn't have anything online, no PDF's, nothing to download. I ended up just doing a document listing resources and some links on how to get started with Wordpress.

Second challenge (and this was a big one), keeping everyone on the same page, or at least the same chapter. Each student brought a computer, and what should have been done was have them log in using one site, one theme and then just walk them through it. Instead each student started their own project, used a different theme (which caused it own set of challenges) and was at different levels of doing their own thing and learning.

Usually when we teach a Photoshop class we have everyone working on the same project. We still have the issue of different learning levels but by having everyone working on the same project it makes it more manageable. When you have everyone working on different projects, especially beginners, you loose control quickly and it is harder to maintain and stay on the subject's course. Which is sort of what happened here.

What did I learn from all of this? 1. K.I.S.S. When I do this again, we will keep it simple, follow some basic steps, have everyone working from the same page. 2. Keep the class a little smaller. 3. Do like we do when teaching Photoshop Elements, break it down and teach in segments. We tried to cram too much into one day. 4. Maybe have a class in Blogger:-)

BTW - Here is a link to one our student's new blog (the one she started in class) - Some of the names of the blogs were very clever.