FACULTY GUEST BLOGGER: Sue Jenkins
Sue Jenkins: Aside from teaching web and graphic design courses at Marywood, for the past few years I’ve had the honor and privilege of creating new design courses for Lynda.com, the number one worldwide training provider of online courses for design professionals which was recently acquired by LinkedIn. This past summer I created my fourth course for Lynda.com, entitled Moodboards for Web Designers, which was just released in the Lynda.com library on Sept 30, 2015.
The process of creating an online course is quite interesting, especially to the outsider who only ever sees the finished product. Here’s an overview of the simple trajectory of a course from conception and approval to development, production, and release.
The Idea & Pitch
The first thing I do, as the author, is come up with a fun and unique idea. I then work up a proposed Table of Contents and pitch my idea. Upon approval, contracts are drawn up to outline the scope of work and time frame. After signing contracts, the next step is to develop the course. This entails determining how many videos will be included in the course, along with writing course content, building PowerPoint slideshows to accompany each section, determining when and where to do screen capture along with my audio, and creating all the sample projects and supporting graphics for each video.
The Development Process
Developing a course can be quite a lot of work and it often needs to be completed in a relatively short time frame anywhere from 2-5 months. The best part of this process is having full creative control. During the writing phase, I’m assigned a Producer with whom I communicate regularly to get feedback on each video’s components. Revisions happen both during the writing stage as well as at the end of the writing to ensure there’s a nice flow of information throughout each video and from one video to the next within the course. It’s the perfect blend of creativity and productive continuity.
The Production Process
Once the course materials are “in the bag” so to speak, it’s time to schedule a flight out to Los Angles to film the course. Lynda.com is located in picturesque Carpinteria, California, roughly 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The number of days filming depends on the proposed length of the course. This year, my course is expected to run roughly around one hour, give or take, so we planned to film for two days plus a third day for “on camera” work and supplemental video clip production.
Upon arrival to the studio, I get to record the videos for my course in a professional recording booth. My producer, along with audio and video specialists, help ensure that everything looks and sounds great. We record each video one at a time in sequence to keep things organized. At the end of the filming, we move to a new studio where we film video clips to accompany my voice as well as my on camera course introduction. Lynda.com has a reputation for hiring the most kind and competent professionals and I can tell you from personal experience that’s 100% true. The entire process was smooth, relaxed, and enjoyable.
When my part of the recording and filming process is complete, the producer finishes his/her paperwork for the course and hands the recordings off to the post-production professionals who do wonderfully mysterious things to prepare the videos for the Lynda.com library. Once that team does their magic, the course officially gets added it to the Lynda.com library. Shortly after that announcements go out on the Lynda.com website, over email, on the Lynda.com Article Center, and through social media so that viewers can watch what’s new. So exciting!
My Online Courses
Making these courses is fun and rewarding. There’s also nothing better than getting feedback from a stranger saying how watching one of my courses made them into a better designer. Love it! Here are links to my current courses at Lynda.com:
- Moodboards for Web Designers with Sue Jenkins
- Productivity Tips for Web Designers with Sue Jenkins
- Design Aesthetics for Web Design with Sue Jenkins
- Designing Web Sites from Photoshop to Dreamweaver with Sue Jenkins
One of the many things I love about Lynda.com is that you need not be a subscriber to view some of their course videos. In fact, within every course in their library there will be a handful of videos that anyone can watch for free! This means you can watch a few clips from multiple courses to see if you like the content before you subscribe. Lynda.com members gain unlimited access to their entire library of video courses for just $25/month (or less if you pay for a full year in advance). They also offer a free 10 day trial if you want a taste of what membership is like.
Thanks for reading!
Sue Jenkins is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Art at Marywood University