Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Online learning

I've been watching a lot of online tutorial workshop things the past few weeks. Mostly I've been making my way through the Skillshare library that is available to me during a month-long free trial. I am finding it surprisingly delightful for a few different reasons.

I've been pretty randomly watching the classes that catch my fancy. I haven't actually done any of the coursework or contributed anything to the discussions, so far. I don't know that I will. I'm pretty content just watching and listening. And thinking, of course. I have no doubt that I am absorbing stuff that will find its way into my work at some point.

One thing I'm struck by is the wide range of video quality—some of it is pretty janky. The lighting and sound quality is not always very good, and even in the best of them, there is frequently a weird camera wobble, like whoever was filming suddenly needed to scratch their nose or something.

With the presenters, there are typically a lot of "umms" and "uhhs" and "oh wait, no, let's try that again?". Which surprised me a little. No doubt at some point (when they've proved to be profitable?) people will polish these sorts of things up—spend the time and money to script and edit. Make it seamless and TED talk formulaic. But for right now it's early days and there is a lot to like about the sort of shoelace and gum production values. At least when the teachers are at the level of Chip Kidd and Peter Mendelsund. It's sort of refreshing to watch them share their knowledge in an "uncanned" format—the artlessness of the production creates a sort of intimacy that I think is kinda great.

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