The answer to this question always makes me smile because I want the first answer to be, “Easily! Seamlessly.” Except, if you’re nervous about a new technology, there may be nothing easy about an online class. At least, at first.
Online classes are a way of taking a class at the times of day or days of the week that you most prefer in the comfort of your own home or favorite coffee shop during the specified duration of the class. In general, you can expect the following:
- Classes are offered for a specified period and are generally two to four weeks in length.
- The level of structure within a class varies widely based on the preferences of the instructor.
- Some instructors follow a defined schedule and hope to see feedback within a specified few days.
- Some instructors like the freedom students have with self-paced study.
- There are generally two to four “lectures” per week (text or video or a combination).
- Participants can log into the class whenever is most convenient for them.
- Participants have the opportunity to ask questions and post comments via a discussion board that works a lot like Facebook.
- Some instructors offer one or more “chat” sessions during the class, which are schedule for a specified time that allows participants to engaged with others in real time.
- Participants have access to the classroom materials for a couple of weeks after the class ends.
RMFW University runs on a classroom platform called Moodle (used by colleges and universities), which gives users a richer experience than available with a Yahoo group. To help people interested in classes at RMFW University feel more comfortable with the tools, there is a Quick Start that is a self-paced tutorial structured to emulate how most classes are organized. If you would like to see what the RMFW University classrooms are like before enrolling in a class, send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting access to the Quick Start. The tools are so simple to use, this tutorial should take you no more than an hour to figure out, even if you regard yourself as technically challenged.
A list of upcoming classes is posted on the RMFW website under the tab for Education and Events. If you have ideas for classes that you’d like to take, please let us know. Or, if you’re a person with a skill that you’d like to teach others, let us know that, too! We are actively expanding the catalog of offerings.
What could be easier? The classes are reasonably priced, and you can attend wearing your favorite faded PJs and slippers. We hope to see you there soon!
Sharon Mignerey (www.sharonmignerey.com) is a long-time member of RMFW who was recognized in 2016 as one of RMFW’s Guiding members. She is the 2000 WOTY, and she has been published with Silhouette, Zebra, and Steeple Hill. She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction, and she has a passion for sharing the tools and techniques of writing and story-telling with other writers. She divides her time between the Texas Gulf Coast and a family cabin in Colorado’s mountains.