What I learned... (Text on the Surface)

Starting today (Monday afternoon), there's a five-week course at the Southwest School of Art -- Text on the Surface. If you're in SA and are interested, I think there is an opening for one more student.-

This was the course I attempted to design as an online course, only to discover that I am "not-so-good" at teaching online (as the kids say). Thanks to all the text test pilots who suffered through it! I suspect that I could get better, but I am not sure I want to until I can't get out there to teach in person any more.  I have a hard enough time with my interpersonal intelligence skills (or lack thereof) in person and trying to interact online in a teaching situation certainly pointed up my weaknesses. (I am the kind of person who can spend an entire evening with a feuding couple or two in the clutches of an extramarital affair and never notice anything.) The nuances of interacting online often evade me, whether it be via email or listserve. So while I have certain technical facility with it all, I seem to lack the ability to make the charisma leap -- or something!

Perhaps just putting out an e-book would work -- but I had a really hard time trying to interact, give feedback and provide guidance in an electronic "classroom." Fostering community online evaded me. And I suspect, as with realtime teaching, that that is what all of us want in an educational situation. 

Believing that its always better to work from one's strengths, I am sticking to the actual world for teaching and facilitating for now, So if you were waiting to hear about an online course, wait no longer. This working from one's strengths means that sometimes you do just make a u-turn. Find another way; back up and begin again.

It smarts. At 62, I, like a lot of people my age, don't really like being a beginner at anything. We prefer to stick with our success stories. We often do know what we like to do and how we like to do it. On one hand, that focuses our attention and keeps us from wasting the time on the planet we have left, but it can also lead to stagnation and boredom. So even though I am not continuing with the online adventure, I'm glad I tried it out and learned something new about myself.