Tomorrow, I’ll pull the trigger on my latest venture: an online course. It is called “Recreate Historical Swordsmanship from Historical Sources” and by the time it is done, it will be a clear and systematic way for people to learn how to do the academic side of historical swordsmanship. You know, the bit that makes it actually historical. The course is by no means finished: my plan is to have enough material up to keep people busy, and to use the feedback from the students to guide my creation of the rest of the course. I cannot reasonably predict exactly what every student will find difficult, or need extra help with, so I will create the necessary modules as the need arises. I have a fair bit of content up already, including all the homework assignments (which will tell you what the goal of each section is; if you can do the homework, you have acquired the intended skills and knowledge). I have a stable map of what the course will cover, and how it’s broken down. But the specifics of “a pdf with examples of translation problems” or “explain how to set up a more advanced drill”, or “we need more explanation here”; that will be finalised, expanded on, and polished with the first batch of students telling me what they need.
Which is exactly how I run my seminars; start with a theme, ask the students what they need, and give them that.
When I launch it tomorrow, I’ll send a note out to my mailing list, with some 50% off discount vouchers. These are limited to a total of 45 students, because I want to keep enrolments small to start with, while I work on the course content. These vouchers are intended for people who really want to be beta-testers and co-creators. There is nothing stopping people signing up at the full price, but I hope it’s clear that the course isn’t finished yet.
Because the format is so different to what I am used to, this is a really hard process for me; writing books is, if not exactly easy, at least totally straightforward and familiar. But creating an online course is very different. Once this one is properly up and running, I’ll get started on others, such as turning the content of my Medieval Dagger book into a course, and indeed, eventually, the entire School syllabus. Ambitious, much?
I’m writing this in the Atrium Studios space in Suffolk University; they run a “Jelly” networking meetup on the last Thursday of every month, so I came along and met a load of interesting folk. Explaining what I do for a living is a great ice-breaker.
I am also doing a daily vlog thing, partly because my daughters are totally into vloggers right now, and partly to help with goal-setting for creating this course. I’m in a totally new environment (Ipswich), and finding my feet here creatively. It’s hard to get into the proper zone, outside the really specific environment I had created for myself in Helsinki. Perhaps the vlogging will help. I’ve got 5 short clips up so far; you can find them on my personal youtube account (with almost 0 views, because it’s not my main swordschool account). But there may be stuff there you’ll find interesting. I’ve embedded day 1 here, though it’s way out of date! Nearly a week old already!
So, that’s what I’m up to in the land of Sword. How about you?