Why I Chose Skillshare for my First Online Class

As I’m sure any follower of my Social Media accounts is aware…I completed creating my first online class. It was a difficult process for me as I was learning new skills (video recording and editing) and overcoming my fear of the camera. I’m happy to say I’m MUCH better with the skillset and still working on looking more natural on film.

I’ve gotten some questions on why I decided to publish on Skillshare. I did a bit of research before choosing that platform and I thought I’d share that with you:

Cost of Class

One-time Fee vs Subscription

This took quite a bit of research before I even started on the class. There are several popular sites for online learning: Skillshare, Udemy, and Craftsy are three of the biggest in the creative field. Both Craftsy and Udemy offer a one time price for each class. After you purchase a class you may watch it anytime, including offline. At time of this article, Craftsy is closed to new instructors and Udemy seemed a little overwhelming plus I read some negative feedback from instructors on their sale policies and other issues.

Skillshare is a subscription style service. You pay a monthly (or for a better price at yearly) fee and can watch unlimited classes. I had subscribed to Skillshare in the past and had been a subscriber a month or so before starting to work on my class. While I’m not a huge fan of subscription-based price,I do find Skillshare’s pricing structure an extremely good value for what you get. At the time of this writing their yearly price is $96 which is $8 per month for access to over 15 thousand classes. That’s less than the price of any individual class sale!

You can almost always get the first month for 99 cents or for free if you use my instructor link. That allows you to evaluate to see if you’d use it. I figure if I only watch one class a month (when really I watch 2-3 per week) then I’m still getting a bargain.

Personal Use

I’m a life-long learner. I am constantly reading, signing up for classes (free and paid) and listening to podcasts. Skillshare has not only creative classes but writing, marketing, business and technical class as well. In fact, I was watching Skillshare classes on how to do videos to help prepare me for my class!

Although I initially joined for creative classes, I have found myself watching videos on writing, blogging, marketing and, of course, videoing. Most classes I have encountered are 15-30 minutes in length and broken down into 1-5 minute videos. This is great when you have only a short break or get interrupted often. You can easily stop at the end of a lesson instead of trying to remember what point you stopped the video.

Supportive Community

I’ve used Skillshare so much and have been so happy with their setup, it felt natural to pick it to do my class on. When I decided to teach my class, the support was incredible! Skillshare runs a Challenge every month for instructors and provided deadlines with prizes (I won the first one so they are real!), guidelines, a teacher handbook, question and answer sessions plus several ways to get feedback from other instructors and students.

I even received help from other users. The video editing software I am using is quite a bit out of date and. I couldn’t find any video tutorials. Another student/teacher (lots of people are both!) found a link to the manual for me. While I initially chose Skillshare from my own learning experience, it was reinforced by the support I received from Skillshare and the online community during the class creation process.

So if you are a life-long learner like myself or have something to teach the world (or most likely both!) you’ll love Skillshare.

Beginning…again

The year was 2006 and the season was spring. I was teaching art at a local private school and gearing up for my last child to enter kindergarten in the fall. I decided to teach more ‘full time’ and turn my front rooms in my home into a studio/classroom. I started with 3 students: my son and two of his friends. They were all boys and in 2nd grade. We studied Art Parts (Elements of Art and Principles of Design) and created self-portraits with acrylic paint on canvas. It was an awesome beginning!

The teaching and my art sales business grew over the next 3 years. I taught in my home studio/classroom, afterschool programs at a local elementary school, Moms programs, MDO programs and homeschool coops. I guest lectured at local art groups, libraries and even Collin College. I loved what I was doing but always thought of making and selling art as the ‘main’ part of my career.

In the fall of 2009 due to the recession and some personal changes, I felt I needed a break from art. I enrolled in graduate school to study another one of my passions, environmental design. Three years later I emerged with a Masters of City and Regional Planning concentrating in Sustainable Development.

I went to work for a nearby city in their Environmental Education department. Somewhere in the middle of teaching preschool through adults on how to be good stewards of this earth, I realized how badly I missed art…especially teaching art! The light dawned on me while preparing an Art from Nature class I spent my entire weekend ‘off the clock’ prepping and coming up with more and more projects. I was very, very happy and looking forward to what I was getting ready to teach. That was my ‘aha’ moment and the beginning of beginning…again.

So I turned in my notice last summer, dealt with a very serious health issue which resulted in a surgery in the fall. While recovering, I plotted and planned. By spring of this year I had redesigned my website, started painting again and got my artwork hung in a local gallery. This summer I partnered with the gallery and taught summer art camps for ages K-8th grade.

While hauling my many supplies up and back from the gallery, I realized it was time…the front room needed to be a studio and classroom again. So we moved out the exercise equipment and moved in the tables. My excitement has grown over the past month as I’ve moved supplies down, reorganized the bookshelves and planned the lessons. This time around has been different. I still paint (and love it!) but I’m more excited about teaching. This time it isn’t about me and my art, even though that is a deep part of me, but about sharing what I know and love.

Even with different goals, I have had a weird since of déjà vu during this process. That same child that was getting ready for kindergarten is now in high school. My little 2nd grade son will graduate at the end of this school year. Yet, today I’ll welcome in three new students. They are all girls and way past the second grade (8th actually). It will be the first time I’ve taught classes and not had one of my own kids in at least 1 or 2. But I’m so ready to begin…again!