How to Teach Online Art Classes

Using instructional videos to teach online art classes can be intimidating at first. Because you are physically removed from your subjects, it is harder to read the room and the current mood or expressions of your students. At the same time, it’s difficult to plan for a class that could have dozens or even hundreds of students in it.

To simplify the process and ensure you have everything you need to prepare live online classes and instructional videos for simple crafts, painting, or other artistic endeavors, here are some specific tips for structuring your time with students.

The Approach to Teaching Online

The first step to teaching online art classes is establishing how you will actually teach the course. This isn’t particularly different from teaching an offline course. You must decide what you will teach, what you will hold back, how you will present certain concepts, what you will use to help students verify new knowledge, and what the format for your live sessions will be.

When it comes to introductory art skills and simple crafts, one of the most fundamental aspects is technique. While it’s important to discuss the supplies needed, the creativity that drives the activity, and the specific styles of art that your students might get into, it’s best to start with fundamentals. This is especially true in an online setting where it’s harder to give direct one on one attention (outside of a separate session).

When you provide all the tools your students need to understand the art – the “how” of it – they won’t have to worry as much about those factors and can instead focus on how to present the ideas they have.

Here are some additional tips for how to start outlining technique and creating the structure of your online course:

Demonstrate multiple techniques for future reference – By demonstrating different techniques (various brushstrokes, blends and dry/wet combinations when painting fro example), you can show your students what all of their options are. Having them follow suit and create examples for future reference will help as well. A sheet of paper with each of these strokes on it and a label of what each is is immensely valuable. The same can be done in many arts and crafts disciplines.
Provide references and detailed instructions – Group class sessions in Yondo allow Participants to submit questions and discuss what they are watching with one another. This allows you to query the class and provide additional information. It’s not the same as walking around and holding or touching what your students are working on, but it allows you to provide specific references that can then be discussed in greater depth.
Everything should be as visually stimulating as possible – There are plenty of topics you could discuss without the benefit of visual aids, but for a live online art class, visual representation is vital. Lighting should be bright and clear, audio should be tested in advance to ensure it is clear, and the workspace should be clearly visible to the students watching. You may opt to stay off camera for part or all of the session and show a close up of your hands and the work you’re doing, but don’t forget to show your face on occasion. The connection is important to keep students engaged.

Teaching anything online presents specific challenges, but for an arts and crafts class that focuses on developing a tactile skill, it’s incredibly important that your instruction is as tactile as online video allows.

Preparing for and Presenting Your Class

Before holding your first class, record a couple of practice sessions that you can share with friends, family, colleagues, or event some of your students. If you already teach offline classes, this will be an easy process – ensuring your offline techniques translate to online video – but if you don’t, it will be good to get that second set of eyes as validation that your course materials effectively convey what you do and how you do it.

When you hold your online class, don't be shy to ask for feedback and questions! Click To TweetThe platform allows Participants to ask questions easily and engage in the class actively. Remind them this is live and that their participation will drive how you present the content. This will only add to the experience.

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