Online Correspondence versus Online Classes

This week I am giving you my findings as to the best way to present an online class.  I have been doing much research and speaking to people who have done classes as to the pros and cons and of course you have all come up with some very useful and helpful information so thank you for that.  Would appreciate it if you would come back with your thoughts on my thoughts………..

Basically there are two ways to do a class from a distance:

1.  Quick workshop type classes where you will learn the basics.  OR

2.  Comprehensive classes where you will achieve a higher standard of embroidery.

I think my books, kits and the DVD have covered all the basics and provided you with plenty of projects to get on with, so have decided to go with option 2.  What do you think?

In the old days we learnt via correspondence courses and this method still works well but now we have the option to interact and assess the work without actually putting it in the mail – i.e. can be done online.  So it would be more like an online correspondence class.  What do you think?

As we all well know one of the greatest challenges presented is to provide good high quality video clips using a webcam/other.  If the videos are high definition then they take too long to download – if they are too short then not worth viewing.  With needle painting it is virtually impossible to film a complete stitching session as each aspect takes too long to stitch so I have come up with a solution.

The student will receive an initial package in the post with a CD, printout and the materials for the class, which will be run over a 6 – 8 week period.  The CD will include a Power point slide presentation of the full class with video clips incorporated – in other words you will click on that video clip and it will play immediately, no need for download.  These clips will mainly be extracts from my DVD which are filmed in HD.  But you will also have a printout instruction booklet so that you have the option to sit in your own chair away from the computer and stitch the project.  What do you think?

Each week the student will have the option of uploading a photo of their work in progress onto a private hosting site for assessment and the critique will be emailed back.  Each student will have their own private folder so no one else can view their work and a password to access this folder.  The  password/assessment facility will only be available for a set period of about 8 weeks but the student can continue work at their own pace and complete the project in their own time.  What do you think?

All the student will need is Microsoft Power Point and some way of scanning or taking a photo of their work for assesment. Fabric with pre-printed outline,  needles and a list of DMC/Anchor threads will be supplied – the student will have to provide threads and a frame/hoop.  As I have to import the threads it is more cost effective to purchase your own.  What do you think?

The course will be aimed at ALL LEVELS  from beginner through to intermediate – the student will learn the basics, materials, preparation, designing a project, composition, stitching, adding details and completion.  The class will be split into one step for each week and accompanied by large step by step photos and hints.  I am working on a project that includes all these aspects.  What do you think?

You can stop thinking now! Have a great week and keep smiling.  Trish


57 thoughts on “Online Correspondence versus Online Classes”

  1. hola trishburr, dios te bendiga. que bordado tan perfecto. por favor dime en colombia donde puedo comprar el libro para aprender esta tecnica tan linda. por favor escribeme a sogujo@hotmail.comm mil gracias

  2. Trish:

    This is one of those tall tales.
    First of all, I am starting on the pansy project.
    My Mom has been dead for many years and I have all of her embroidery threads. . . .
    More than a shoe box full.
    I looked through this box of thread (I have cataloged it also) and could not find
    one DMC thread the color that was suggested.
    Well, I drove about 7 miles to my closest quilt shop and she carries all of the
    DMC embroidery colors. Wow!!! What a fun day this turned out to be.
    I just love the colors. Now I have a question?
    Other than the fabric you mentioned (Cotton Satin), do you have any other suggestions
    for a fabric or a place that this country (and I do mean rural) gal can order such fabrics
    via the Internet?

    I can hardly wait until your class starts, really looking forward to having.
    I have several DVDs of well known teachers that I re-look at when I am working
    on something that I need a refresher on which I am working.
    I hope that you will also have a DVD that I can order.
    I have purchased your book, The Long and Short Stitch and have your DVD.
    They are both wonderful. I am excited to add this new dimension to my own

    Jane L. Splawn
    Dawsonville, Georgia

    Jane L. Splawn

    1. Thanks Georgia, you can buy a similar fabric to cotton satin called cotton sateen. It is a furnishing fabric used for curtains. Other than that I suggest you go to a quilting shop and buy a good quality close weave (200 thread count or more) plain cotton. Best of luck with your stitching. Trish

  3. Hi Trish
    Sorry have taken so long to post comment – have had the decorators in for the last two weeks and hopefully they will be finished today!
    Like everyone I am sure, I am also very interested in the online course as I have previously said and I realise that a lot of thought has had to be put into it and I feel you have got it just right. I am inclined also to worry about the time scale and what commitments you have for the week to be able to keep up and make the most of the programme but I think for everyone time set aside for oneself is important and for those of us not lucky enough to have help in the house – the dust will still be there whatever!! I am somewhat concerned about the postage from SA but hopefully this will not be too much of a problem. I will await to see your next installment – bring it on it will be great. Luv El x

  4. Wow, you have really thought this through. Most of your ideas would work well for me but personally I would prefer a longer time frame for the password/assessment facitily. I usually have more on than I have time for and am a slow stitcher! Also, I can see why you would want student’t to have a private account for uploading the work but I would also like to see a communal gallery where those who would like to can share their progress with each other. Part of the fun of on-line classes is the interaction with other student’s.

    I have only just found the blog so this is the first I have heard of your proposes classes but I am already excited about them. I will add the blog to my RSS feeder to keep up with developments.

    1. Thanks coral-seas the extra time frame will certainly be taken into consideration along with your other ideas on student interaction. I will keep you posted. Trish

  5. Trish, I’ve already commented on this post, but I have been thinking about the class after reading some responses. Have you thought of posting your ‘lessons’ over an 8 week period, but allowing perhaps 3 months for people to complete the work. If students can’t complete within the original 8 week time frame. you will still accept and assess work up for to 3 months (just an arbitrary time), but this will be done by you time permitting – in other words, you will not guarantee when the individual assessments will be completed. If people are submitting electronically for assessment, then the pressure would be off for returning work. Am I making sense? Just a thought, since many people seem concerned with the time frame.

    1. Thanks Carol and don’t worry I will make sure you have plenty of time I can see this is a major concern for everyone – this is just a survey to get your thoughts and then I will compile it. Will post next week with more info. Trish

  6. Trish – I’ll certainly wait to hear from you as to the cost for this course. Just wanted to say that I have NO clue what cost might be as I’ve NEVER EVER taken
    a course like this, or similar to it, online. Thank you for your responses….it builds incentive and confidence for our future online community & teacher.

  7. Hi Trish,

    Unfortunately, your assertion that most computers have PowerPoint is only true if you’re talking about PCs. As a Mac user, I would very much prefer not to have to find some program to run such a class. I am currently taking an online correspondence course and it works via streaming the clips. Don’t have to download, just click what I want and it streams. It’s only available to me up until the exams, but I’ve found it is very handy. It also means that I can “take it where I go” as whatever computer I’m at, or even when using my iPad or a smartphone I can take it out when I have the time and watch a small bit. As I tend to do a lot of stitching not just at my own house, that facility would make an online course even more beneficial to someone like me.


    1. Thanks Meg. I can see that this is an area of concern for a lot of people and as mentioned I have been doing some research and come up with a way of making it available to everyone whether they have powerpoint or not. It is still in the planning stage and I will be ironing out all these little problems before the class goes live. I will take into consideration Mac & PC users too. Be assured I have everyone’s best interests at heart. Trish

  8. I am definitely interested in your “bravo” class. My problem is that I may not have all the DMC/Anchor thread colors and wonder if our personal substitutions, if necessary, would be acceptable. Also, if one chooses to follow your online course, but not upload our work to you for assessment each week, would that hinder our being able to participate in the project? Is there any way you could extend the time limit for the password? I have purchased your book and CD and have reread and replayed several times for total enjoyment in learning. Thank You.

  9. Hi Trish think this idea sounds wonderful. I have never tried anything like this but think it a wonderful oppertunity to learn new skills from a teacher i would probably never meet. So a big yes from me bring it on!

  10. I already have given my comments on the online course. There is another possibility concerning the homework. I’ve taken several online courses in Great Britain. Sending the homework is very risky (is that the good word??).
    Make a digitial photograph or a scan and send this by email. There’s no waiting on postal deliveries or worrying that your homework might get damaged or (worse!) lost. I’ve had the experience (only once) that my work got lost. Terrible but the good thing in this whole matter was that it was on the way home so the assessment was in the pocket. Hope this comment will add something to this all.

  11. Lots of comments here!

    Being in Tricia Nguyen’s Gold Masterclass, I will tell you that a huge number of us (half, or more) are NOT doing the class as it comes out each month. We have other deadlines/commitments/whatever.

    This works fine for Tricia’s class coz we can just accumulate the information and use when needed.

    You mention assessment being available for an 8 week period.

    I would love, love, love to do an on-line correspondance course with you but
    a) I have a number of projects promised to people
    b) I am quite ill, and can’t work on a ‘normal’ timeframe. There would be others that can’t work on a normal timeframe for other reasons.

    Individual assessment is a highly attractive component of the class. Is there any chance you could extend it?

  12. Hi Trish,
    Sounding so good – your consideration of and preparation for all details is evident, and will be much appreciated by all. Love that you will start with a course that will suit beginners to your techniques, as a first step to get all interested students on the way to more advanced work. This is really exciting! Ticks in all boxes. Btw, as a potential student, I do appreciate having the design on the fabric for me….life, and so on. Best wishes as your preparation continues, Ellaine

    1. Thanks Ellaine I appreciate that! Advanced needle painting can’t really be taught it is the next progressive step from intermediate. It is a case of practice, practice, practice and opening one’s thought to the possibility of “I Can Do It”!! So really all of you out there just be prepared to spend time learning the technique and once you have got the hang of it you can tackle those more advanced projects with confidence.

  13. It all sounds good to me – unfortunately, though, I don’t have PowerPoint on my computer. Probably there are some other that don’t and frankly, I can’t afford to buy a program that for me would be single-use. I hope I’m understanding correctly, though, that I could still take part without PowerPoint. Yes? No?

    1. Hi Barbara – I have done more research on this and there will be no need to have Power point on your computer to access the lessons. Anyone could take part no worries!

  14. Someone has been thinking really hard! 🙂

    By golly, I think you have got it.

    1. I like that the student will receive the initial package with CD.

    2. I like the student option of uploading their work.

    3. I would like to receive the printed fabric, needles and floss chart to provide our own threads.

    I am looking forward to the class.



  15. Dear Trish, Thank you so much for doing this. I’m going to ask my family to give this class to me for my birthday.

    The one problem I thought of was Power Point. I do not have the software for that. I have a Microsoft Works program but Power Point isn’t included unless you purchase it.
    This, of course, would be an extra expense.

    Please consider a way that we do not have to add an expense though it would be worth it. Can’t close unless I say I was one of the winners on Mary Corbett’s Needle -n- Thread which is fabulous. What a wonderful talent you both have and thank you so much for such beautiful books and thorough instructions.

    Sincerely, Lorraine Connelly

    1. Thanks Lorraine, thats lovely. You won’t need Power point I have done some research and it can be made accessible to all even if you don’t have the software. Thanks for letting me know that you won a prize on Mary Corbett’s site and hope you have enjoyed it!

  16. What a wonderful response—go for it —-just wish I could give of something appertaining to needle work—–but appreciate all that you give as regards your ideas and knowledge which seems to be apreciated all over the world—–my calm to fame is following my daughters progress LOL

  17. Hi Trish,
    My comments: it all sounds wonderful! I think two weeks is an absolute minimum for those of us who work and have other commitments – maybe three is better. I have Powerpoint on my mac but many don’t, so your alternate method of viewing would be good. I do own a full set of DMC threads, but I’m in the US, and the threads are different from the rest of the world, or so I’ve been told. Do you have any experience with this? I think the upload/critique facility should go on a bit longer than eight weeks so you can critique the final products. It would be good to see other people’s work on a Flickr or Picasa group.

    1. Thanks Cynthia – no I think DMC are standard throughout the world. Are you able to get Anchor in your part of the world? I will re-evaluate the time frame and assessment period. Thanks for your feedback.

  18. I think you have it all together. I am a beginner, even though I have 2 of your books, I am a visual learner and I think the CD with the print out instructions would work for me. I am also glad we will be able to send you pictures to critique. I always like to know I am doing right before going on. Looking forward to this class.

  19. Hi Trish, this sounds wonderful and I am eagerly waiting for a chance to sign up. Here are my thoughts

    1. Providing our own threads is definitely cost effective – I own a full set of DMC myself!
    2. A two week period between sessions would be nice, but is not really necessary if you are willing to assess work after the 8 wks is up. An 8 week course is not a huge investment in time, but a 16 week course definitely is.
    3. A Flickr group is a wonderful way of sharing our work, nice idea.

    Have you any thoughts on having an intermediate to advanced course?

    Sounds like fun,

    1. Thanks Carol – I agree a sixteen week course would be too labour intensive. The course I have set out at present is over 8 weeks including preparation and practice for beginners so could be achieved in 6 weeks by a more intermediate stitchers. Still under revision though – your comments are invaluable. The project I have in mind will take you up to the more intermediate – advanced level after that it is a case of putting it into practice and you can tackle an advanced project on your own no problem! Trish

  20. Hi Trish

    I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I bought your books: Redouté’s and Long and Short Stich. I loved both!

    I agree with your ideas on how to handle a course on line. But I think to overseas, you should allow a greater time for delivery of the initial package. What do you think about?

    I’m looking forward for the begin the course.

    Regards, Angela

    1. Thanks Angela will definately take the postal delays to overseas countries into consideration. If I can find a way of making everything accessible online that would overcome this problem but then you will have to transfer your own outline onto the fabric (which is not a bad idea and something you should all learn to do!) Trish

  21. Just what I have been waiting and hoping for! An individual course but with a group feel as we would all benefit from your instruction and help with common problems.
    Sounds wonderful – I will anxiously await the start!

  22. Hi Trish

    What are we waiting for?
    The only Q is what are the cost of a class like this

    Kind Regards

  23. I can only say: it sounds GREAT.
    And of course there will be students who need extra time for we all have a life next to the course. But you’ve been thinking about that.
    So what are we waiting for????? 🙂

    1. waiting for me to stitch the project and get all the fine details ironed out, plus finish off preparing proposals and projects for my overseas teaching and then we are away. Thanks Cis.

  24. You have certainly done your homework and here are my comments.

    1. A week is not a long time and as you say there must be a deadline maybe we could be given 2 weeks to de each part. I work so this will have to be done at the weekend.

    2. Apart from having our work assessed it would be nice to have a page where we can see how the others are progressing. You can learn a lot by looking at other peoples work. Providing everyone gives their permission.

    3. I don’t have Power point. I have an Apple Mac so the programes are different. Will I be able to read and follow the instructions?

    4. The idea of buying our own threads is a good one as we all have a lot in our homes.

    Nothing more.

    Keep thinking.


    1. Thanks Gillian. In answer:
      1) Yes I can certainly make it two weeks thats no problem.
      2) I can set up a flickr group where you can all upload your photos and share.
      3) THis is no problem I am looking into converting the slide show presentation to a video which means you can watch it on any computer (Mac/Pc) and possibly even your television. Will be able to give you more info on this later.
      4) Glad you agree on this.

  25. Hi Trish

    This all sounds good and I would be very keen to participate. Would you be able to suggest the best place for obtaining the threads?

  26. It sounds like you have really done your homework – well done! I think your course outline sounds very good. Will there be a reasonable time limit applied for finishing the sections? (Some of us are slower than others).

    Regards, Catherine

    1. Thanks for your question I know this issue is always of concern to a lot of you but also feel that some sort of deadline is required to encourage the student to complete the course. If you are like me it will just go into a bottom drawer!
      You can take as much time as you want to finish each section (I know life gets in the way sometimes). However, your user name and password access will expire after a reasonable given time period and you will not be able to share your work for assessments. I may be able to arrange for a student to send in their final assessment by email after this time, but have to put some restrictions on this otherwise we could go on for years!! Next year I will be overseas teaching a lot and not always available to answer emails.

      So the answer is you will have plenty of time to finish each section (at least double the time you would have in a workshop) but there will be restrictions. Trish

  27. “All the student will need is Microsoft Power Point”

    What I think is that this is an expensive software purchase requirement, depending on what portion of Power Point the student will need. May I ask why the student would need this software? Is there a different option available that is low to no cost in software?

    I otherwise think the rest sounds wonderful.

    1. Hi Kimiko
      Most people have Microsoft Office installed on their computer which comes bundled with Power point (I think I am right in saying this?) However if you don’t have power point on your computer you can download the power point viewer free from Microsoft which I can include the link for in your notes. I also think you can run it from a CD without having power point will look into this. – thank you for pointing this out. Trish

    2. Hi again Kimiko
      I have looked into this and there will be no need for you to have powerpoint to watch the slide show. Will post more info next week. Trish

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