Setting up an Online Class for Visual Arts

Here's an overview of what you need to offer an online class for visual arts. This includes painting, drawing, journalling, photography, graphic design, animation, or any class which requires the students to submit the assignments in the form of images and videos.

To get started, you need: 

  • a payment processor where you can accept credit cards (for example, Paypal or Checkout)
  • a mailing list/group to manage your class subscriptions (I recommend Google Groups since you can also embed the group on to your own site reducing the need for students to remember multiple links)
  • an account in a photo sharing site where you and your students can share classwork (you can use Picasa, Flickr, or Google+ for this)
  • OPTIONAL a place for your PDFs and other documents (you can use Google Drive for this)
  • OPTIONAL a place to upload videos (if you want to include videos - YouTube for public/demo videos and Google Drive for private videos that only your students can access)

To conduct the classes, you have the following options:
  • Option 1: Use a private Blogger blog and have your students post their assignments as blog posts. 
  • Option 2: Use a Google group to manage sign ups and have your students post their album links in the discussions. You can post assignments as sticky posts to make sure your students don't miss out on them. 
  • Option 3: Use an embedded Google group in Google Sites. It will work in the same way as Option 2 but you also be able to add links to sections of your site, future classes etc. Here's an example of  a Google group embedded in a Site.
  • Option 4: Create a community on Google+ for your class. Students can post updates, share images and videos on the same platform and start hangouts for live discussions.
  • Option 5: Install a MOOC like Course Builder to help you manage signups and content delivery. This requires some technical skills to configure the platform.