Top Instructor for 2014 on Udemy | Adam Marelli
Why learning is part of the process
A ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Over the holidays, one of my friends sent me a congratulations. I had no idea what he was talking about. Had I won the lottery and forgotten to check the ticket? Not quite, but he said that I received the “Top Instructor Award” for my Udemy courses. Curious to see if he was pulling my leg, I followed the link and confirmed it was true. The students who enrolled in the “A Room for Improvement” course had the highest engagement rate of any course. Which means, more students completed my courses than any other program. With over 22,000 courses, offered by 12,000 different instructors, it was a nice surprise that the program won an award.
Comment threads unlike anything on the net
The real credit for the award goes to the photographers who have enrolled in the program. As of today there are over 600 photographers in the program. And unlike any place on the Internet, the courses offer discussion groups where you can find positive, critical conversation, and suggestions on how to improve your submitted images.
Forget about collecting likes on Facebook, where can you go to have a group of like minded, equally educated peers discuss the merits of your work; not how much they like it or how badly they would like to touch your camera gear?
Lessons in Humility
While some people have commented that I am a “natural teacher,” the process has felt more like riding a horse blindfolded. It’s exhilarating, but feels anything but safe or predictable. A major lesson I learned in the last four years of running workshops, seminars, and now online classes is that people learn differently. The challenge humbled my approach to photography, teaching, and to being, in general.
People learn differently
Sounds obvious enough right? And as long as I was not teaching, it never mattered. Most of my teachers were firm, hard people who did not take any bullshit. They would tell me very frankly, to cut the crap, stop being a pussy, remind me that it was shit, and that if I paid enough attention I would eventually get it. And, in most cases I did. It was not an easy road, but it worked.
The challenge as I switch roles from an artist to a teacher, was that I can not teach the way that I was taught. It was too rough. Hard lessons are learned quickly. They save time, smash any ego you had going in, and are designed to strengthen you by breaking you down and building you up again. Between my educations in university, construction, zen monasteries, and drawing classes…you know which one was the roughest? Drawing classes, by far.
My goal, as a teacher is to simplify the diverse education I went through, format it in a way that is easy to follow, and deliver it without all of the rough edges. It is a work in progress, but it feels like it is headed in the right direction.
The Next Episodes
Over the holidays, there was a hiatus from filming. My videographer came back from India with a parasite and I was under the weather, without a voice. Not exactly the best condition to deliver a video course. We postponed shooting, but will be back on schedule starting in February with the next episodes of A Room for Improvement. Until then, make sure you finish the assignments from episodes No 1, No 2, and No 3.
In the upcoming episodes there will be some changes we hope will improve the delivery and experience of the courses. There will be more images, easily downloadable PDFs of all the artists and my pictures in each episode, and a few more bonuses along the way. In the end you will all learn to see like artists.
If you have not joined the series, here are the links below:
See you there!