Friday, 3 May 2019

Online Art Courses versus Classroom Art Courses

Blog 18

For the past couple of years, I have offered classroom courses and workshops through the City of Ottawa as well as in my home. As online workshops and courses are getting more and more popular, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two different ways of studying art.

Let’s start with the advantages of online courses:

1) Flexibility
Registering for an online workshop means that you can watch the video at any time from anywhere. You avoid travel costs as you do not have to get out of your house. This is a big advantage, especially in the cold and dark winter months, or if you live in a rural area. You will never miss a class due to other engagements. You can also replay the workshop as often as you like, stop and play the video according to your needs, and even watch it in slow motion. This way, you can adjust the speed of instruction to your personal needs. You might also be able to take a course that you cannot find in your area.

2) Convenience
You do not have to pack up all your materials and carry them to the course and back home, risking to forget something that you need. Especially, if you work with a slow-drying or messy medium or on a big piece, you do not have to worry about any transportation issues. You can also avoid distractions from other participants who might monopolize the teacher with their questions.

3) Lower Price
Online courses are often offered at lower prices as the instructor does not need to provide a classroom and to be present after the production of the video, except for online support of the students.

Now, let’s look at the advantages of the classroom experience:

1) Personal Connection
For most people, art classes are not alone about learning new skills, they also enjoy the social aspect of being among like-minded people. Many good friendships have formed among people who have participated together in classes. The teacher is available to help and support you directly, giving you suggestions according to your specific needs. If you are in a class setting, you can also learn from the struggles of your fellow participants. When you are frustrated with the progress of an artwork, the feedback from fellow participants might help you to see your piece with a fresh eye, and show you possibilities to continue your work.

2) The Chemistry between Teacher and Student
As every person is unique, you will also find that you will connect with some teachers immediately while you do not feel comfortable with other instructors, or their way of teaching. If you know and trust a teacher, you will be more open to asking for help and accepting constructive suggestions to improve your work.

3) Limitations of Video Technology
Some painting scenarios cannot be captured with a video camera, e.g. creating the experience of a plein air painting session or painting a still life arrangement as the regular camera is limited to displaying a two-dimensional image. You cannot touch the surface of an object. The colours of the originals objects might not be the same as the ones you see on your computer screen. Just move the screen of your laptop a little backward and forward, and the colours will already change depending on the light that falls onto the screen.

4) Customization of the class
Especially, if you take private or small-group classes, the teacher can customize the classes to your personal needs and wishes with regard to materials, techniques, and subjects.

As I find the person to person contact very important when I am teaching or taking courses, I will continue to offer in-person workshops. To make it as easy for the students as possible to come to my classes, I provide the materials and set everything up for the workshops. To serve you and your needs better, I encourage you to let me know how I can help you to improve your skills and to have lots of fun and relax at the same time.

If you are interested in my workshops, I encourage you to visit my website regularly. I have lots of new workshops and painting parties planned for the summer months.

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