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Sunday, May 15, 2011

One of a Million

I love taking online classes geared for writers because I can get a lot of cool information. Craft classes you can find anywhere even locally, but where else except online can you find classes on how to work undercover? Let's face it, writers need to know weird stuff to make their books accurate.

There is one huge drawback, though, to these online classes--the size.

The writing organization sponsoring the class is trying to make money. The teacher who's leading the class also would like to make some money, but I find it extremely frustrating. In fact, I'm going through it right now. The class size is so big and the numbers of email so overwhelming, that it prevents me from participating.

This is what happens in almost every class I've ever taken: I sign up, I wait eagerly for the class to start, the teacher posts the welcome and lesson 1 while I'm at work, the other students immediately start responding to the teacher, and I arrive home in the evening to hundreds of class emails.

Hundreds. No lie. On day 1.

I have rules set up to auto-sort my mail, so I look at the number of notes in the class folder and I feel overwhelmed. There's no better word for it. Now, instead of going in, reading the teacher's email and the emails from my classmates, I read nothing. Somehow, I now have to find time to wade through all these notes, read them, and delete the ones that don't further anything.

On Day 3 of my current class, I have nearly 600 email in the class folder. Day 3. ::sobs::

My wish is that these online classes would cap enrollment at a reasonable number so that everyone can participate if they want to. There has to be other people like me who have the best of intentions, but drown under the mass of notes. I know it's a balancing act. That if there are too few people, the class fee has to go up, but I'd be willing to pay $5 more to have a smaller size.

BTW, I have had one class that was a nice, small size and it's the most fun I've ever had in one of these things. I'd love to have a similar experience again some day.