How is it Monday already?? How is it January 14th already?? Oy!
I'd like to pick your brains about online workshops. I've taken a few of them, I don't remember them all though. I do recall taking ones on self-editing, plotting, and I think dialogue or characterization. Wow, must have left an impression.
I often start out well. I respond to the e-mails and do the mini-assignments. But after a couple of days or a week, I fizzle out. Most of the time I've just saved all of the documents from the workshop for future reference, but not taken advantage of the discussion aspect of the course.
When I choose a workshop it's usually based on the topic. If it's a topic I like, then I'll look at who is teaching it. Oh! And the price, that's a biggie. I don't think I'd spend more than $30 for an online workshop, unless it's taught by someone I really want to interact with, or comes with lots of useful handouts, like if Michael Hauge taught an online one. Those handouts would be worth the $30. Related to price, the length of workshop makes a difference. Is it $30 for two weeks or a month?
I'm also a bit irrational about them. I like that the workshop presenters give out assignments like, 'write a two-sentence hook for your story' and they proceed to give feedback to each one, on the loop. It's great to see what other people write and it helps me to write them.
However, that's a TON of e-mail. If you have 30 people in a workshop, each one posts their hook. Then the presenter responds to each. That's at least 60 e-mails in a couple of days. Then there are always people who respond further and ask more questions - it is an interactive workshop, right? The e-mail quantity adds up.
So I'll eventually set the workshop to digest, particularly if it's a month-long workshop. The problem is - either I forget to read the digest, or I miss the important nuggets of info from the presenter.
I took one workshop where the presenter set all of her general posts (assignments, announcements, tips, lectures, etc) as 'special notice' in the Yahoo Group. Then workshop takers can go into their Yahoo Group interface and change it from individual e-mails or digest to special notice only. That way they only get e-mails from the presenter, and can manually go into Yahoo to read other posts if they like.
That setup worked great for me. I really liked that.
How about you all? Let's take a quick survey.
1) Do you, or have you, taken online workshops?
2) What topics have you taken, or would you like to take if it were offered?
3) What price range do you look for?
4) Do you prefer 2- or 4-week workshops?
5) Do you use Yahoo Groups or another interface for them?
6) Any other comments on online workshops would be appreciated. Things that bug you, things that work well.