Learning online and in real life

File 18-02-2016, 15 17 43 File 18-02-2016, 15 18 08

This week, I started a new online comics course with Matt Silady, called Comics: Art in Relationship. This was great timing as I have been missing the Writing and Drawing Comics class I finished recently with Summer Pierre. I have been missing my wonderful classmates and that sense of being part of a group, watching each other take creative leaps.

This week’s assignment is a 2-page comic that communicates something about yourself (see above). As I got to work, I realised just how much I learned in Summer’s class. A couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have known where to begin with an assignment like this. I’m sure I would have fluffed around, sketching things out in pencil, erasing as I went, drawing again.

One of the most liberating things I learned in Summer’s class (and there were many!) was to trust my line. This means no fiddling around with pencil and eraser! It was scary at first, but over the five weeks I did learn to trust that pen, my pen. There will be a time, I’m sure, for returning to pencil. But for now I feel so much more gung ho about just launching in there with my uniball.

I also discovered just how rich an online learning experience can be. I have always loved the immediacy of being there in the room with the teacher and my fellow classmates. There is an energy and intensity that comes from us all being together, in person, focusing on the same thing.

The online experience is different but it brings a wonderful quality of time and reflection into the process.

  • Assimilation: There is time to take in the course material, reread the notes, rewind the videos if you missed something.
  • Feedback: In a real-life classroom, it can be a challenge to make sure you see or hear everyone’s work. Often there is feedback you might give but it doesn’t come immediately. In an online classroom, there is time to really look at each other’s work, to give thoughtful feedback, to be inspired by it in turn.
  • Connection: I was surprised at the connections that can form between classmates. There was a very real sense of camaraderie and encouragement that developed between us. I am still in touch with several of my classmates through tumblr. We can see each others work progressing and say hi from time to time. The sense of community is still there. And I was delighted to discover that one of my classmates lives in London. We plan to meet up next week to draw comics together. I’m looking forward to it!

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to be taking part in this new comics course. One week in and I am already enjoying myself, making connections, and learning all sorts of new things about comics. Matt is a great teacher, and you can really get a sense of his love for the comics medium, both in the class videos and in the forum discussions. I have the feeling this is going to be an exciting journey.

One of the most incredible things about the class is that it’s free. Yes, free! So, if you ever wanted to learn about making comics, this is an amazing opportunity. You can still sign up over at the Kadenze website. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

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3 thoughts on “Learning online and in real life

  1. Your remarks regarding assimilation, feedback and connection are spot on – I discovered this doing my OU Creative Writing course. I am still friends with some of the people that I ‘met’ on the course and I went on to meet them for real. We still exchange writing ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

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