This week, I wanted to venture out into the website I found at the start of the semester: Skillshare. I had originally found this class which focuses on hand-lettering. Unfortunately, I realized that to access full features on Skillshare, you have to have a paid membership. Due to being on a student budget, I ended up watching the initial free video and then going into the completed project examples in the class for inspiration.
This was a completed project in the course by user Stephanie:
I decided to recreate it with my own spin using the lettering I’ve practiced!
This brings into question the idea of online classes and their merit. The Open Education Database states the following benefits of online courses:
- Variety of programs and courses: From traditional four-year universities to completely online career colleges, higher education today offers a variety of options for students. This means that no matter what students study, from nursing to neuroscience, they can find the courses or programs they need online. Students can also earn every academic degree online, from a career certificate to a doctorate.
- Lower total costs: Online programs prove a more affordable option than traditional colleges. Though not all online degrees offer less expensive net tuition prices than traditional colleges, associated expenses almost always cost less. For example, there are no commuting costs, and sometimes required course materials, such as textbooks, are available online at no cost. In addition, many colleges and universities accept credits earned via free massive open online courses (MOOCs), the most recent advance in online education. These free online courses can help students fulfill general education requirements.
- More comfortable learning environment: Commercials that feature online students studying in their pajamas only skims the surface of one of the benefits of online education: no physical class sessions. Students listen to lectures and complete assignments sent to them electronically, with no need to fight traffic, leave work early for class, or miss important family time.
- Convenience and flexibility: Online courses give students the opportunity to plan study time around the rest of their day, instead of the other way around. Students can study and work at their convenience. Course material is always accessible online, making special library trips unnecessary. All of these benefits help students balance work and family commitments with their education.
- More interaction and greater ability to concentrate: WWhile contradictory evidence about the rate of online student participation versus participation in traditional courses exists, one thing remains certain: Online courses offer shy or more reticent students the opportunity to participate in class discussions more easily than face-to-face class sessions. Some students even report better concentration in online classes due to the lack of classroom activity.
- Career advancement: Students can take online courses and even complete entire degrees while working, while in-between jobs, or while taking time to raise a family. This academic work will explain any discontinuity or gaps in a resume as well. Also, earning a degree can show ambitiousness to prospective employers and a desire to remain informed and prepared for new challenges.
- Continue in your profession: Even if someone wants to complete a degree, it may not mean they want to leave their current job. For most students today, increasing college costs mandate that some students continue working while in school. The previously mentioned flexibility of online programs enable students to keep working while also pursuing academic credentials.
- Avoid commuting: During snowstorms and thunderstorms, colleges may cancel classes to avoid putting commuting students at risk of dangerous driving conditions. Rather than miss important class sessions, students in online courses can always “attend” by participating in discussion boards or chat sessions, turning in their work on time, and watching lectures or reading materials. Many students also find substantial savings on fuel costs with no commute for classes.
- Improve your technical skills: Even the most basic online course requires the development of new computer skills, as students learn to navigate different learning management systems (LMS) and programs. The participation skills students learn within their online courses translate to many professions, including creating and sharing documents, incorporating audio/video materials into assignments, completing online training sessions, etc. Some schools even offer students free laptops or iPads.
- Transfer credits: For college students who want to attend summer classes, but live too far from their colleges and/or work summer jobs, taking online classes from an accredited college and transferring the credits to their primary college can be beneficial. Students can earn college credit while still enjoying their summer vacation or fulfilling the responsibilities of their seasonal employment. Similarly, if a college or university does not offer enough open sections of a required course, students can take the course online at another college and transfer the credits.
On top of these reasons, websites such as Skillshare allow people to take classes that can help them pursue their hobbies and interests, not just academic subjects. This can be a great way for people to look into courses that may not be offered in their local communities; rather, being offered on the global, internet community. There is also the matter of allowing people to be the ones doing the teaching! Skillshare allows people to set up their courses in whatever way they’d like, and is flexible for both the students and teachers.
Here is a YouTube video that explains a little bit more what Skillshare hopes to achieve:
And, since it seems like I’m practically endorsing this website at this point (I promise I’m not! Still on that tight student budget, haha!), I thought I’d do a little Skillshare-inspired calligraphy this week. Do you know of any other websites like this one that allow exploration of skill development? Let me know!