Take Your Workshop Online-Part Two

You know your craft, you love to teach, and you even have chosen the platform you want for an online class.

What now? How can you make the best presentation?

Jennifer Rashleigh talks about her process

Get comfortable with your equipment and prepare for any challenges. This may seem obvious, but it is surprising how many people overlook this. Practice your presentations, record them and imagine you are a student when you watch your recording.

Check your lighting. No back lighting! If your using a cellphone to record, make sure it is set to horizontal (landscape). Have someone hold it for you or mount it at the right height in a dedicated holder.

Check your camera angle. If you will be opening your class by facing the camera to welcome the participants, be sure to line up the camera with your eyes. No one want to look up your nose when you are talking! And don’t get too close to your camera. The closer you get, the more distorted your face will look. Find your sweet spot and stick with it!

Test your audio and play it back. Consider getting a separate microphone, so that you can be heard and understood as you step away from your welcome screen to demonstrate your project. There’s nothing more annoying than watching a good demo with crummy sound. So test, test, test.

Hands are key! If you only have one webcam, you may want to prerecord close-up scenes of your hands actually doing the techniques you are demonstrating. Participants in an online class really appreciate the fact that camera angles allow them to see up close details they might not see in a classroom situation with other students crowding in. Make the most of this opportunity to show the techniques from various angles.

Have a clear plan for teaching. An old rule of thumb is “tell them what they are going to learn, teach them, and then tell them what they learned. Treat your session like a play with three acts. Welcome them with warm appreciation and enthusiasm. Teach them enthusiastically, as if they are right there with you. And wrap up with a quick recap and an invitation. An invitation for another workshop, to visit your website, to follow you on Instagram, to invite others. It’s your choice. But be sure to invite them to continue connecting with you.

Follow up. Keep track of your students, and them to your contact list, and even share them with SCA if that is appropriate. Send a follow-up email that reviews the lessons in the workshop. Offer them limited access (say two weeks) to the recording of the workshop. Show that you care. Ask for feedback and take it seriously if you get it.

And most of all, have fun!

Share Your Process and Earn a Stipend!

MARV, the Medford Arts Resource Vehicle, is looking for artists to present online art events during this time of social distancing. Possible events could include a demo/tutorial about your work process, an interactive art process workshop, a “behind the scenes” look at your studio or introduction to some of your art, or a talk on an art-related topic of interest to you. The event can either be held live or can be recorded to be shown at a future date. Since in-person shows, fairs and events are cancelled for the foreseeable future, this could be a fun way for you to share what you do with a larger audience, while also showing people a potentially new art medium or technique. Accepted artists will earn a small stipend. If you’re interested, fill out this form, and they will get in touch with you soon.