On-line vs. In-person Classes

Before 2020 very few students took courses on-line though I had. I also took a course through TV (PBS) once.

I find it sad that the vast majority are choosing on-line over in-person classes, but I kinda understand too. I got my MFA completely online (in ‘09). It was perfect for a writer because we weren’t being judged for our looks or personality but completely on our writing.
We didn’t zoom & could do the work whenever we wanted. Some students were in other countries; some even in war zones.
It saved hours not having to drive & find parking (or even shower!)
But there’s nothing like being in a classroom with a group of like-minded people. It’s too bad colleges & universities never tried to find a way to make that experience more nurturing.

The MFA in Creative Writing mostly seemed to be for teaching writing although yes, we did turn in work & were critiqued in the majority of my on-line classes. Because much of it is peer critiques, the quality of the program depends on the level of the other students, as well as how involved the professor is. Of course, this is true with in-person classes too.

Most of what I learned about story arc & character arc, I learned on my own. Later I took local courses that reaffirmed what I taught myself about story structure, etc. I am fortunate that we have SDInk here with many courses & amazing instructors, some of whom are college professors. Others are here from Hollywood. I, personally, need the classes to keep me writing, especially at the beginning of a project. I need the feedback.

I don’t watch YouTube videos. Not to learn. But others do. Seems to be a man thing. So, if it works for you: Go for it!

The other thing I discovered when you are not getting a degree is that the instructors bring their heart into their teaching. The No. 1 instructor I have had to date is Marni Freeman, a woman who would stab herself before she’d ever allow herself to make a student feel bad. Whenever she makes suggestions, she asks how you feel about it. I have even cried about the memories I was writing about & she came over & hugged me.

Of course, Marni is a therapist, so she understands how important it is NOT to make someone feel bad about themselves. She also teaches memoir so she is in the perfect field for her skillset (and heartset).

  • I Forgot to mention that many of the SDInk courses are now done through Zoom with us submitting our work thru email (except for those savvy enough to show them on the Zoom screen).

Sherrie Miranda’s “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans” follows the dramatic story of naive, sheltered Shelly going to “The Big Easy” to prepare for El Salvador, but has no idea she will encounter sexism and witness racism as well as illegal activities by government agents.
https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08KMHNNDK
Author, Sherrie Miranda’s husband made the trailer for “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” He wrote the music too. 
https://youtu.be/7_NL-V9KEi4
Review: Shelly’s journey in “the city that care forgot.”Sherrie Miranda’s new novel “Crimes and Impunity in New Orleans” puts the reader into a whirlwind of political protests, abusive police, sexist attitudes towards women, and “good old boys” racism in 1980’s New Orleans. Miranda’s second novel follows Shelly, the young northerner, as she quickly finds out that she “isn’t in Kansas anymore” while encountering a slew of picturesque, colorful characters. Reading her book makes you wonder if justice and respect for blacks, immigrants, and women can be reality in America.

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