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I'm so excited to present this roundup of information to you. I've made a few friends I've made through Skillshare and I'd love to know what advice they can give to newbies.
If you aren't sure you want to post a Skillshare class yet, take a tip from these 5 ladies, and know that success can come to you via Skillshare.
In no particular order, here are responses from some of the most talented Skillshare teachers.
1. I wish I would have know that you don't have to be on camera to teach.
I'm pretty camera shy. If I really had to, I could do it with some coaching and a little creative editing, but the introvert in me is way more comfortable hiding behind my computer screen. Luckily, screen capturing exists. Pretty much 98% of my classes are me showing you how to do what I'm teaching while watching me work in photoshop or illustrator. No talking heads required!
2. I wish I would have known that a quick, straight forward class can be successful.
For some reason I had it in my head that a class needed to be long, in depth, and cover a ton of techniques. When in reality students appreciate it when you jump right in and get to the point. They don't need a entire semester's worth of information. Picking one technique and explaining it along with any other useful tips and tricks to accomplish that technique is really the best route to take.
One thing I wish I knew before I uploaded my first class to Skillshare is that it doesn't have to teach EVERYTHING! I wanted to teach a class on scientific illustration, and ended up teaching a class about almost all of digital illustration. In hindsight, I could have broken that class up into multiple classes, or broken the chunks down to be more simple. I've learned now that students appreciate simplicity and brevity rather than blabbering on and trying to fit everything into one long class. The video and audio quality of that first class also isn't as high quality as my newer classes, but these are all things you learn along the way, and improve with each class!
The one thing I wish I’d considered before posting classes to Skillshare is that the content of the class remains static, but sometimes outside factors can change that are beyond your control. For instance, I recommend a drawing app in my Pattern Design class, and about a year after the class launched, the app became unavailable for purchase for a little while, and it was also unavailable in certain parts of the world. Obviously this was beyond my control but if I could re-shoot those parts of my class I would suggest that the app was just one option of many — I’d encourage students to be resourceful and know there are many ways to do any given task and not get caught up on the specific app or tools.
Another piece of advice is to be very clear and accurate about what the class is about in the class description and what students can expect to learn, and any prerequisites that are essential to taking the class. For instance, make sure you state that students must know how to use certain software, or they may feel discouraged by your class if they can’t keep up. It’s best to be clear up front, so students aren’t disappointed by the experience or the class not meeting their personal expectations.
On a really positive note, one thing that I was pleasantly surprised by is that you can really grow such a positive community online — I had no idea it would be such a positive experience teaching people what I know. It was and continues to be a really positive experience interacting with people from all over the world who share the same passions for pattern.
To be honest, before I uploaded my first class, I wish I hadn’t stressed about it as much as did. It was Skillshare! A place I had admired and followed and watched courses on for awhile before I decided to teach. I was kind of nervous because I held Skillshare in such high regard. I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible and I definitely nit picked everything way more than I should have. I’ve learned the students on Skillshare are *amazing*. They care about the message, the content and the learning more than super stellar video quality or the ‘um’s’ you’d prefer didn’t slip by. I wish I had known not to stress because what I was offering was valuable and people would see + remember that far more than my um’s, or uh’s.
Teaching on Skillshare has been by far one of the greatest experiences of my creative career. The students are amazing and the atmosphere is so energizing. Everyone is learning and creating, and it's magical! There are two things I wish I had known before teaching on Skillshare. From an emotional side of things, I wish I had known just how rewarding it would be. Everyone from the Skillshare employees, to the students to even fellow teachers are incredibly kind and fun to work with. If I had known, I probably would've started teaching much earlier! From a technical stand point, I wish I had known how to best save videos for uploading them to the web. Let's just say there was a wee learning curve. Ha! I have since taught the Roost Tribe my best practices for saving videos, and Skillshare has also since provided excellent info for teachers. Now it's easy - I'm even working on developing a few more classes that will release soon!
Ana Victoria Calderon
Before teaching on Skillshare I had a lot of concerns, I really did wish I would have read a blog entry of stuff I wish I knew before teaching on Skillshare, so thank you for putting this together! I was very curious if there was a real chance to get some extra income teaching online, how I would be able to protect my content, how much video quality really mattered... just to name a few.
So to prevent any big surprises, what I did was reach out to a couple of super talented artists who I had met online or at trade shows, and sent them emails with my questions about teaching on Skillshare. They had (still have) amazing classes and if anyone could enlighten me it was them! I had lovely, kind, and informative responses from these ladies. This really encouraged me to go ahead and invest in teaching my first class.
I would also say teaching a few in person classes before teaching online helps. I have been teaching watercolor groups since 2011 and by this point I know where students have more concerns, Where they make mistakes, what aspects are confusing for them, all these things help a lot when you are teaching online! It's sort of like answering student questions along the way without them having to ask.
In conclusion, rather than wishing I knew something before I got started, I really did my research. I knew if I was going to teach online I would dive into it completely!
Teaching on Skillshare has been great! I uploaded my third class last month and would love to teach even more classes. My students and the people over at Skillshare have been amazing. Online learning is just so magical, you can be teaching someone on the other side of the planet and you create a beautiful community together, all united for the love of this one specific craft.