Discuss Home · Bootstrapped Podcast · Scribbleton Personal Wiki · HelpSpot Customer Service Software

Request for feedback: An online version of my security workshop


#1

So I run an in-person security workshop for about 16 attendees. The day is split into exercises where I get the attendees to pair up and break into example applications that have a specific vulnerability.

I’m trying to come up with an online version of the security workshop I run but there are a few things that make this altogether a worse experience for the attendees:

  • Since they’re offline, there’s no real way that they can ‘pair’ on an exercise. This means that if someone gets stuck, they will require a little more hand-holding via chat/video than I may be able to handle (in pairs normally between them they can figure the exercises out).

  • Sitting at your computer for eight hours straight is a bit of a drain! I’m thinking of combatting this by splitting it into two 3-4 hour sessions over two days.

Can you think of any other ways to provide value-add to an online workshop (as opposed to an in-person one)? The plan is to funnel readers of the email course to buying the online workshop + book/screencasts when they’re done.

As before I’m pretty scared of running this workshop and it not being great, so like I did with the in-person workshop, I’m tempted to do a cut-price edition first to test the waters and then do a full-price version once I’m a little more confident in the offering.


#2

Great idea! I may be in the target market for your workshop being a Rails freelance myself :slight_smile:

One of the features which makes online workshops or courses appealing is that you can learn at your own pace and follow the lessons in small pieces, which makes it easier to find time for them for a busy developer.
On the other hand having complete freedom on when to study and do the exercises may result in indefinite procastination, i.e. signing up for the course and never completing it (it happened to me several times :frowning: ).

The large MOOC providers out there (like Coursera) use a mixed approach that seems to work: the lessons are pre-recorded, but the exercises have a deadline for grading and the forums which are used for office-hour type of support from the teacher are active only during the time-frame of the course.
So you have both freedom to see the lessons or do the exercises whenever you want, but you have a slight push to do them while the actual class is running.

I think that Amy Hoy is using a somewhat similar approach for some of her workshops (prerecorded lessons + live chat during a fixed time-window)


#3

Can you think of any other ways to provide value-add to an online workshop (as opposed to an in-person one)?

Well to me the biggest value is that I don’t have to move from home, and that I can do it on my pace, including breaking the course in much smaller sessions (think 1 hour or so, my schedule is fairly tight with consulting, my SaaS and two young kids!).

Heck, I can definitely pay for that :slight_smile:

Please do not cut the price because you don’t feel confident. Maybe try out the full price on a couple of people, or offer a discount to a limited amount of people that would help you “debug” out the course, maybe.

Your course is I believe going to sell like hotcakes :slight_smile:

PS: hand-holding via chat or skype is probably going to be fairly complicated to handle at some point, maybe just plain email support could be enough to get started?

Raw thoughts!

hth,

– Thibaut


#4

Absolute solid frickin’ gold feedback, thank you!

So hmm, I’ve only been considering the one-shot workshop approach, but the more I read of your feedback the more I’m thinking an online course is perhaps a better idea…

This sounds a lot more manageable for the students than what I was thinking (the one-shot workshop) but might potentially result in a lot of work for me, especially as I intend to be running more than a few courses at a time. If I manage to sell out multiple courses every month at my current fees though… I’d probably have enough to bring on staff to help.

Once again, thanks a lot for the feedback, it’s given me a lot to think about :smiley:


#5

Interesting! Like I said in my previous comment I’m only just starting to consider a longer-form course rather than a one (or two) day workshop, but phrased like that makes it easier to sell to time-strapped freelancers.

Thanks for the support! I’m going through a bit of a “OK, so how the hell am I going to do this!?” freakout at the moment and I need all the encouragement I can get :tada:


#6

You welcome :slight_smile: I definitely went through this hehe, especially when defining pricing!

Don’t give up in all cases!


#7

As part of the training package you can make available a walk-through of each exercise for students to use when they are stuck.