We Need Your Opinion!

Sunday, October 21, 2012
by Martin Bamford Flickr.com
As writers, we often like to share our opinion--on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. We hope someone out there is listening and will chime in if they are feeling the same way. Well, we WANT your opinion on a couple of things we are planning for 2013, and we are going to listen!

First, we are thinking about changing up some of the formatting in our WOW! classes. We are thinking about possibly offering some FREE one-hour workshop type classes on general subjects (such as "Show, don't tell" in fiction writing), providing the opportunity for one-on-one coaching, and holding writing workshops with critiques and teleseminars. But before we make final plans, we would like to know if you took a WOW! class or any online class, what format would you prefer? Here are our choices:

  • Teleseminar
  • Webinar
  • Video chat
  • E-mail notes/discussion
  •  Listserv
  • Private forum or blog
  • Social Network group
  • Other (please leave details in comments)
We would love to hear from you. Leave your responses in the comments section!

Finally, we are also wondering what themes are interesting to you to read about in our e-zine for 2013. Themes we have recently covered are: Make Money as a Freelance Writer, DIY Self-publishing guide, the Portable Writer, and The Art of Storytelling. If you have a theme idea for an entire issue, leave it in the comments section below. But we would also love to hear what article ideas you have--sometimes we can create a theme around these!

So, we are polling you, so let's hear from you!!!!


Eleanor said...

Hi, Margo and everyone,

Thanks for the opportunity to respond to this.

Obviously, I think the idea of a FREE class on a general subject is great! However, the teleseminar option is probably not workable for me because I'm in Europe and the time difference would make it difficult to organise anything in "real time". That also rules out webinar and video chat, for me. But that's just one person.

I have no experience of Listserv, so I can’t comment on that.

I liked the private group on Facebook for the Social Networking class that I took with you, Margo; and I particularly like that I can remain part of the group when the class is over, and maybe join in conversations with new students next time round. Other private groups tend to close down shortly after the class is over. For me email notes and discussion are probably the backbone of any class. The email remains in my possession for ever, unless I choose to delete it; and the notes are mine to do with as I please. But they need to be supplemented by some other form of interaction.

As regards themes to address in future issues: recently, as I read, I'm irked a lot by bad spelling, misuse of words (“immigration” for “emigration”, that kind of thing), and general sloppiness in writing - even on the websites of people who should know a lot better. Perhaps you could include something on that in a future issue?

Thanks again.
Cheers, Eleanor

Ally (Allena Tapia) said...

Angela and Margo, I've been thinking about this since I pitched my class Friday.... I had suggested using a Google hangout for it. This has both pros and cons. I suggested it because I've learned from experience that many people feel more comfortable accepting advice and paying for the expertise of people whom they can SEE. It's the "personable" aspect, I think. A trust issue. In fact, I have had enough clients want to meet on skype that I made an intro video for my website.

However, at the same time, it's an extra stress for me when clients want to meet on camera. Since I work at home and dont leavt the house until 4ish to pick up my children from school (unless I have local clients to meet), I dont need to be professional-looking. I wear yoga pants and graphic tees. So meeting online is an extra step (which Im happy to make for my clients BUT my point is I dont to discourage students or require "extra" steps or anything that distracts from our work).

So one compromise of this is the instructor making videos, OR using skype, which I believe allows the main person to be shown and everyone else gets the choice to be on or off camera.

My 2 cents. Excuse typos/on my droid.

blancolin said...

I,too, have no experience with Listserve and I don't know how a private FB group works. In the past, I've taken a class or two with Gotham and what I like about their set up is that they create a private space where participants can respond to the online lectures and where you enter submissions for critique and feedback from the teacher and from fellow students. What's easy about that setup is that you can find posts without having to search hundreds of emails. They are all on the same site,though under different topics and in general, they look like responses to blog posts. So I'd like to see WOW classes set up as a private forum/blog.

Unknown said...

I like the privacy and ease of email.

Unknown said...

I would love some free one-hour workshops! And I would love e-mail or private social media group. And I'd like to hear topics about publishing eBooks, and whether writers who write social media are really writers. Heavy stuff, please!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Ladies! Thanks for your fantastic feedback so far. :)

I just realized that we didn't explain what a "Listserv" is. It's an e-mail list (like Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups) that allows participants to e-mail the whole group and share files.

Allena, I just checked out Google Hangout and it's a really interesting option! It says you can video conference up to 10 people, which is coincidentally the max size of most of our classes. But I totally get what you're saying. A lot of people don't want to have to dress up for class! A lot of people don't like being on video. I'd say the majority of people.

One of our instructors, Karen Cioffi, uses anymeeting.com for screen sharing, where it only shows the screen and what you're doing on it. It works well if you're explaining how to do something on your computer technically...like create an e-book or set up a blog. But you can also use it for one-way video, like an instructor presenting to the class and the class watching.

Marcia Peterson said...

I've always liked e-mail and list groups/forums. I like to read things, think about them and respond in writing. I also like having something I can save/print.

Not everyone uses social media comfortably. Some people can't participate in chats that happen at certain times. However, maybe I'm just used to old school ways!

Rose said...

I would enjoy free workshops! I have had two classes with Margo this year and I enjoyed the format she uses. I like having the private group and e-mails. I don't think I'd like to use video chat because I have little ones at home. If they start hollering I can stop what I'm doing and take care of them if I am just reading an e-mail. If I'm live chatting with someone, it will limit the times I'm able to do that (or I might have to take the lap-top in with me while I change a diaper and carry on the conversation.....j/k) When it's e-mail and a group forum I can work while they sleep.

Unknown said...

I'd like the free workshops, the group emails and private group.

Margo Dill said...

First of all, thank you to everyone for your comments! :) We hope you keep them coming.

IT looks like the free one-hour conferences would be a hit! What if we used anymeeting.com for those? I think you can record it, and we could keep it available for some time after the workshop was over for people who couldn't attend. I have a little one at home, too, so I know what it's like--it's hard as an instructor to find quiet time, too. I will have to have someone take my daughter away. . .:) LOL

I've used a private blog, FB group, and Listserv as well as email with the classes I've taught. As an instructor, I think the private blog is my favorite and easiest to use. As Blancolin said, it is easier to find posts and information instead of skimming through a bunch of emails.

@Eleanor, thanks for the theme/article suggestion!

Stephanie Carroll said...

I think I would like a video of a class or a private forum. Interactive videos make the commitment more of a chore because I would need to be looking nice and prepared to actively engage people, which takes effort if you a shy person.

Stephanie Carroll

LuAnn Schindler said...

I like the idea of the one-hour workshops. Lots of possibilities.

I've taken a few classes online, and the private blog works the best. Easy to find posts and other info. Most of these have included one-on-one coaching via email.

The video option is interesting, but the time difference makes it impractical, IMO.

K said...

Free classes would be wonderful, especially from the staff at WOW! I've used Google groups before for classes and it works well. In my struggles to become a better writer I've tried to use all kinds of books and websites about the craft to teach myself, but ultimately I need teachers and classmates to help me as well. But as a novice writer it is hard to earn money to pay for classes to become a better writer, so a free class would really help me improve my writing. Thank you for thinking of us writers!

The e-zine always is so diverse and addresses a range of areas of writing. Here are a few topics/areas that I am interested in reading about: 1)how to make the reader connect emotionally with my writing, 2)ways and reasons to not give up as a writer, 3) how to personally develop my own writing improvement program, and 4) finding writing mentors and becoming a writing mentor.

Thank you Margo and Angela!!

Margo Dill said...

K--Free classes are coming--hopefully one a quarter if we can get the technology and scheduling all figured out. Bear with us! :)

Thank you also for your theme/article suggestions. Those are extremely helpful! :)

Keep writing and thank you for your support.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Kim, those are excellent theme/article ideas--all of them! Thank you!

BECKY said...

Love the idea of the one hour free class, too! Since I've never taken any online classes, I don't really have a favorite way of doing them....so I'll leave that up to YOU, the experts!!

Online Tefl Course said...

I prefer the social network and video chat from the both way we can gain good results and its very effective as well.

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