Lessons From Creating An Online Class

Udemy Course

Udemy Course

I can’t believe I finally figured it all out…

Learning the Basics of Chinese Dietary Therapy is now LIVE on Udemy (you can check out a few sections for FREE). It only took three to four months but I persevered and now, hopefully, I will reap the rewards of my hard work. Putting this class together was much harder than anticipated. Maybe it’s partly due to the fact that I’m feeling farther and farther behind on technology; it takes me so much longer to figure out stuff.

What I did first was upgrade to MS Office 2019 after facing several frustrating issues with my old limited-ability software. It was a good decision that followed getting Windows 10 uploaded to my older laptop (which I bought refurbished over six years ago – wahoo Toshiba!). Now it runs like it’s almost new and I can’t believe how much faster it is, nevermind enjoying the perks of the new software. 

The Devil’s in the Details

I gained a new appreciation for the detailed work involved in creating each slide in PowerPoint (13 sections with 6-15 slides per section); that alone took around two months. Thankfully I had already done several live seminars and had my book in a PowerPoint presentation. Breaking it down into doable sections (per Udemy’s instructions as to font size, etc.) took a greater attention to detail and I became frustrated more than once through the process. Once the slides and sections were completed I had to go back and narrate/voice-over each slide as well as create an intro page for every course section (see above).

Sounds easy, right?

Except….

Lesson After Lesson

I learned a valuable lesson during the narration process. I learned that my voice changed with my mood so I had to re-record some of the slides because I didn’t like what I heard (it was easy to tell when I was in a bad mood or a good mood). Some had to be re-recorded because I spoke incoherently (it didn’t seem so when I was recording).

We all think we sound normal, articulate and intelligent but hearing oneself in a recording, over and over again, gave me insight to how much I had to focus on these aspects: speech pattern, enunciation, timing (moving from one sentence or paragraph to the next), word usage (avoiding big or difficult words), context, word emphasis, etc. There is definitely a rhythm to narrating that must be learned over time, with experience (which I need more of).

Once the narrations were completed, I had to save each section and every slide as video/mp4; this took several hours over a course of several days. It was the main reason for my technical upgrades, because my old software couldn’t save the .ppt as video and the old Windows system took too darn long.

Once that was done, I had to go into my Udemy Instructor Dashboard and download each section, one by one and complete their checklist of requirements. In addition, I had to download any section-related documents in .pdf – this was the easiest part since I already had what I needed from the seminars. From there, I submitted the class for review and awaited approval. In less than a week, the class was approved and went live online.

Whew

All I can say is, at this point, I’m glad it’s done. The only extras I’ll need to add in for an upgraded version are in .pdf and won’t be difficult to do. The hardest part is behind me but I’m glad I did it. A challenge accepted and completed. One more adversity ticked off the list.

Lessons learned and shared so someone else can have an easier time with it.

#chinesedietarytherapy #chinesemedicine #onlineclasses #udemy #nutritiontherapy #teachonline #fiveelements #healthyeating #wholefoods

(COVID) Times, They are A’Changin’… For Writers

Sac free library

Little Free Library, Sacramento, CA

The New Normal

Times are changing, for sure. Life is most certainly different as a result of this pandemic. Same ol, same old isn’t anymore. Everywhere I go, I hear the phrase “this is the new normal.” We all have been changed by this virus, internally and externally, personally and globally. How it affects writers has been nothing short of upheaval, including the sad news of a huge loss to the writing world. Last week we lost Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a prolific writer with an uncommon knack for vivid storytelling. His collection of books, including The Shadow of the Wind, (which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog) excited and intrigued me in a way I’d not experienced since I’d read the Neither Wolf Nor Dog trilogy. I recently re-read that book, devouring every page with gleeful delight; it is now a permanent part of my home collection.

I discovered the slightly ragged copy in a Little Free Library in midtown Sacramento. The box in the pic is where I actually found his book, among many others that have provided me with amazing trips down Imagination Lane. Best idea ever, these Little Free Libraries (littlefreelibrary.org for a location near you). For writers, it’s free advertising!

Welcome to The Digital Life

Where are we headed? Into new territory, for many, but familiar for others. Social distancing has forced writers to find new avenues for marketing their works. Some of the safe-distancing options are digital (eBooks), audio (Audible), podcasting (storytelling and reading to audience), and FB groups (among other popular SM).

For those of us not quite comfortable with the digital life (that would be me), I have to think about how to be creative in this new world. Instead of pushing the book itself, I recently decided to turn it into an online course so I can teach the concepts in the book. What better way to get people excited about their health than to actually have me walk them through the information? Since my book is a non-fiction, it’s a no-brainer. I’m a lively speaker and reader, so I know students will enjoy learning along with me. Better retention and they’ll feel they got their money’s worth; win-win.

Oh, The Choices

Options for fiction works may differ; for example, poets can offer a poetry class. Have you considered whether you could teach someone else how to write something? Do you have a degree in Journalism, English, or Communications? The digital life is now in full swing as millennials and many others take advantage of not only the social distancing aspect but also prices for online classes – they’re greatly reduced and there’s a multitude from which to choose.

Maybe you need to brush up on your MLA style or grammar and syntax in your sentences. Maybe you need help with plots and characters. Or writing a mystery. Or a comedy/farce. Whatever your need as a writer, online classes can surely fill it. Lots of experts out there so find classes taught by people with experience and know-how. Yes, we are smart to learn from our own experiences but it is the wise (wo)man who learns from the experiences of others.

Times are certainly changing; adaptability is key to not getting caught behind. Survival of the fittest, Darwin postulated. Change can be a good thing, if you’re willing to go along for the ride.