While I usually blog here about my art works and travels, I just wanted to share the story behind one of my other major projects which is the opening of Ingrid Creates Online Arts School. This project has taken up a lot of my time recently- well since coming back from my overseas tour in May. Since then I have painted here and there, but in the last two months, I've been super busy with this project (among a billion others).
You can read about how Ingrid Creates Online Arts School all started here. In this post I wanted to share with you my pedagogic (teaching and learning) and business philosophy behind setting up the school, which I don't talk about at the school site. Essentially I wanted a make an online place to share, inspire, learn and create with other artists, art lovers, hobbyists and creative people- which put into practice the mission of my company Ingrid Lee Enterprises.
It's been a LONG time developing, and because I'm the lone monkey running this circus...the behind the scenes and producing the videos, site set up, marketing etc...it's taken a while to learn it all and make it work (I'm waiting for the day I get some admin support, but at the moment, it's me 😉 ) I must say, I have really enjoyed the challenge so far, it's been a wonderfully creative journey, and it's opened another part of my brain which has been a little stagnant since retiring from teaching in schools and university. Funnily, it's something my Head of School once told me to do early in my academic career at university, open a school- I don't think we ever thought it would be an online one 😉
Finding the best software to match my pedagogic requirements, and that also reflected my philosophy for developing the type of creative learning environments I published in my Masters thesis, was a challenge in itself. That process took about a year and a bit to find, learn and integrate...actually there are always tech problems as I'm finding, but it's all good. In saying that, it's amazing how technology has changed a lot since my first online shop 6 years ago and working as a ghost online social media marketer and website developer (LinkedIn profile). It was only a little over a year ago, where I was still relying on skype to teach online classes and conferences, see here.
Check out the online school for yourself CLICK HERE
Now with my online school set up I can teach:
- individuals through my courses who can learn at their own pace and time, and have evergreen access to their paid courses;
- to POD groups (POD classes are online courses for larger communities any where in the world, you simply connect your computer to a big screen TV or projection screen.They involve the same webinar system as all classes here on Ingrid Creates and include live chat with Ingrid Lee (at a convenient time for both you and Ingrid) during the course.)
- The courses cover my unique techniques and methods for porcelain painting, acrylics, mixed media drawing and inks, silk ribbon embroidery, developing creativity as an artist, and Premier courses.
Features of the courses:
It was important to make learning online is easy and achievable, and to do that, the courses are step by step with close up video shots, just like you were sitting next to me...actually even better than just next to me, they are super close for the important bits.
Here is an example of one of the support materials for the first course, which premiers in November, it's a little smaller here, because of my page size requirement for this blog, but I think you get the idea:
- AND there are Free tutorials, I don't have a basic beginner course. I decided to give the basic techniques or know how you would need to complete a course available for free, via short videos and articles on the blog. They are short and sweet, so that you can start the course you really want to learn as soon as possible. They are free to access so long as you are a registered user of the site.
Is it only a school with classes?
There are plenty of online school sites, or places you can download art classes from or watch video classes. I wanted to create something with more possibilities for collaboration with my students and interactivity with each other, and build a community where we can hang out and be creative, not just focus on the selling of products.
I also wanted to make sure there were a lot of support materials for each class, aside from the videos, so there are great photos on each course page so you can see the details, a course basics e-book to download to use and make notes, and free designs. The courses are evergreen, meaning once you have paid, you can keep coming back to the site to watch it when you need to- next week, next month or in a year or more time; basically whenever you want to do that class again.
When I had my first art gallery and teaching premises over 15 years ago, the best way to encourage learning and inspire creativity was through our art chat nights, or when students would just pop by and hang around even if it wasn't their class time...I had the same when I taught in schools. I really liked the feel of that atmosphere, and it was inspiring all round, and most importantly, my students loved it too. This was an important understanding from my research for improving student engagement in schools too. So, I asked myself what else was possible with the technology that's available, where I could create that environment online? At the moment I'm using webinar to create those environments, and other ways to share ideas and other artist's works too.
Watch our first webinar here:
If you want to join our next webinar, click here.
Now, I have started the ball rolling, and this is only the beginning of the site and other projects 🙂
As part of fostering a collaborative creative community online, there also will be:
- A forum for our students to chat with me, share and inspire others.
- Webinars with free demonstrations and sharing industry information and host live webinars as mini tv shows with interactivity and video embeds with sleek registration processes and branding which has 'flow.'
- VIP ART Chats olnine with guest artists and more demonstrations.
- Online shop for materials sourced and supporting Australian companies, and my new range of fabric prints and books (I'll tell you more about those later...yeah, I sleep maybe 4-5 hours a day, in case you were wondering, and I have a new organisation system which helps me keep on task). It is not a requirement of my school to buy my supplies at all, rather it is an option made available. I don't sell kit projects/classes with prescribed materials, rather I recommend materials and students can use or what they have at home or can buy from their favourite store or from me. Why would I do this? Well, there's a good reason, keep reading further and I'll explain why.
- My merchandise store which will open in 2015, called Ingrid Creates by Design which has a range of interiors, home wares and other gifts with my studio art- and I say studio art, as it is not reflective of my fine art for collection and investment, it is a studio range of affordable products.
Seriously when I read all that, I'm like REALLY???? Girl do you sleep, have a life? Paint???? And the answer to that is YES, I think I have discovered the secret to fitting 48 hours into 24, but really it's my new management system 😉
Do you want to attend a free webinar event, and see it all for yourself? Get on the list CLICK HERE
Okay, so what's the deal about not selling kits and materials as a course requirement?
Well, that's an interesting point of view isn't it. Yes, I have lots of Free stuff on the site through video and articles, and some webinars, and I'm not forcing people to buy things in order to learn with me, other than pay for the course itself. Well, I know myself, that there were times when you have money to spend on extra materials, and times when you don't- especially when you already have plenty of materials in your studio or work space which are sufficient you start to weigh up the odds over even doing the course. That's an important point for some people, especially when it comes down to affording a course over affording extra materials which you might be able to substitute as well. For some people it doesn't affect them, and that's great, we cater for everyone. Essentially, it's about having choice and being inclusive. I have many followers who teach small groups of women in countries which have varied economic situations, and I still believe they should be able to learn and use what they have to share creativity with their groups of women too- Share, Inspire, Learn and Create.
The materials I sell are in collaboration with Australian companies and small boutique businesses. For example, we have created collections of products, I have selected the colour packs of hand dyed ribbons by Australian business Clarence River Rainbows. These colour packs have the basic ribbons and mix of colours like my own artist palette of colours, to help embroiderer's learn how to create embroideries with artistic flare in ways that they can keep creating from, rather than being restricted to a kit of minimal colours and amounts of ribbon. My focus for teaching is so that you can keep creating, not just do one project...creating is life long!
I know I've mentioned a bit about ribbon embroidery, and that's just because it will be the first course available at Ingrid Creates Online Arts School...
If you are interested in learning with me online, please visit Ingrid Creates Online School, if you want free access to the tutorials etc just register at the site.
Thanks for reading my story. What do you think about it? Do you have any questions? Please let me know in the comments, I'll chat with you there, I'd really like to hear your thoughts on it. Are you excited about the possibility of creating online?