I’ve been taking courses online since the early 90s. When I was teaching myself computer programming, I did most of my learning online. Then as I progressed into computer graphics, again I found that my best route to learning while working was online tutorials.
So I’m no stranger to taking online classes. I’ve expanded my writing expertise in this manner for several years now.
I recently started a class called Building a Novel: Where to Start and How to Keep it Going. This is not a free course and when I noticed that it was nothing more than a weekly MS Word document and a request for 2500 words a week of my novel, and no interaction with other students – well, I was not pleased. Writers already work in a creative vacuum, as writing is a solitary art with little if any feedback, little if any return on investment.
So I requested a refund. It was denied. I will not give these people my money again. As far as I’m concerned, they stole from me. The teacher is Kathie Georgio.
I’ve had very good experiences with Mark Dahlby’s group, Writers.com so I sent him an email asking if there is a central clearing house, so to speak for people to comment on writing classes they’ve taken online.
I was surprised to hear from him that “There isn’t really a central place for posting comments. There are newsgroups but I don’t know how popular they are. Honestly, I’m never sure how people find their way to us, or how to get the word out the more people. Wish I did!”
I’ve taken several wonderful classes at three great sites, all of which I highly recommend:
The aforementioned Writers.com
Gotham Writers’ Workshop
Writer’s Digest University Workshops
These classes are NOT FREE but very valuable. I learned a lot, had the experience of critiquing others’ work and felt I got my money’s worth.
However, I would like to tell you about Coppola’s Zoetrope Virtual Studios. This has got to be the best FREE training tool I’ve ever stumbled across!
Like many such free writing sites, you must register and review 5 other writers’ works in your discipline before you’re allowed to post one of your own. The quality of writing is overall of very high quality and the reviews are brutally honest. If you can’t stand the heat, stay away from this place! But if you want to hone your skills, it is an amazing resource.
The virtual studios are:
As you can see, there is huge diversity at Zoetrope.
Considering how many years I’ve been taking online classes and using the internet as a learning tool, the fact that I only dissed allwriters.com is something of a miracle. Either that, or most people who do business online are ethical and give you good return for your money.