What triggered the creation of the school?
In 2013 Koos and Antoinette moved back from Chicago to Saltillo Mississippi, the first place they called home after moving to the United States in 1999. They looked at each other one day while still in Chicago, asking themselves what is the most important thing that Americans may need. They came to the conclusion that 3-dimentional (critical) thinking is in a serious decline. In a world in which Walmart and Home Depot with ready made products rule, it becomes harder to think creatively. They decided to explore online teaching of the arts.
When they started with the idea of creating an online class, they did not know where to begin and did not know if it may work; clay is such a tactile activity.
What is the objective of teaching an online school?
The couple wanted a platform where students can learn at their own place and their own time from a computer of their choice, while having direct access to the instructor for expert answers to student questions. They wanted to offer non-credit classes, with the content and substance of a college curriculum.
How are classes presented to the students?
The classes are presented as videos that are supplemented with reviews, sketches and images. Questions from students are answered by the teachers and shared with all the students. Each week of an e-course represents about one day of a traditional hands-on workshop. They recommend students to follow all the steps and projects of the instructions and to create the projects in the convenience of their own workplace at their own pace. Students can choose to do the projects or just follow the demonstrations.
During the recordings of the classes, instructors and videographer pay special attention to details. Students can see hand positions and actions close-up and from all angles. TeachinArt online classes differ from YouTube videos and DVD’s because students have direct access to the teachers for the duration of the workshop. Students can ask questions about any part of the videos, in the same way they would in a regular workshop.
Students may present images of their work or share personal problems regarding the work for commentary to the instructor. All students have the opportunity to mingle with other students while the class is running and have access to the group for as long as they choose.
Antoinette said "We are still in our infant shoes, with so much to learn, but this way of distant learning benefit students who work full time or who cannot attend a traditional workshop for some or other reason."
There is a gap of education between college trained artists and hobby artists. Therefor TeachinArt pay painless attention to creating quality courses for students who are interested in expanding their knowledge and expertise in the visual arts, without having to work through an extensive college curriculum.
With the first 2 years behind, 2017 is the first year that the school started overlapping classes in an effort to offer continuity in the programs. If everything works out according to the plan, they will produce between 6-10 new classes this year and hope to start adding jewelers, painting artists, sculptors and other fine arts and crafts in the near future.