Online course FAQs
Click on the questions below to see their corresponding answers.
How does it work?
Our online courses are held in a secure online classroom. You’ll be sent login details for your course approximately 3 days before the start date. Once you have those details, you can login into your online classroom. Each week, we upload the next module. Each module contains up to 3 audio files (these are the lessons that you listen to) and a series of PDF handouts that accompany the lessons. You should download and print out the handouts before you listen to the audio lessons, as they’ll be referred to throughout. The audio can be streamed (listened to on your computer) or downloaded as an mp3 (so you can transfer it to your phone or player). Once you’ve listened to the lesson, you then use the forum to post questions or any writing tasks for that week.
Each module is released on Monday, and you have until midnight the following Sunday to finish it.
Once the course finishes you’ll have access to the online classroom for another 2 months, so you’ll have an opportunity to revisit your feedback and download any modules you may have missed.
How long does it take?
We recommend you spend at least 2 to 3 hours on each module of the course. Some weeks may take longer, others not so long, but you need to know you can commit to this timing before enrolling.
How many people in each class?
We take a maximum of 16 people in our online courses. We think this is the ideal number of students to foster plenty of interaction in the group while maintaining an intimate classroom feeling. Sometimes, the number of participants is fewer than 16.
What’s the difference between the face-to-face classes and the
Our online courses cover exactly the same content as their corresponding face-to-face classes. For example, in the online course for Creative Writing Stage 1 you’ll learn the same content as you would in the face-to-face Creative Writing Stage 1.
The difference is the learning environment. In an online classroom you can participate at any time that suits you. The course is not “live” in that you don’t have to attend at a specific time of the day or week. You can visit the “classroom forum” at any time and it’s open to all students in your course. This is where you can ask questions or post your assignments. Your online tutor will respond to questions and give feedback on assignments once a week. The Sydney Writers’ Centre keeps a close eye on the forums too so if questions come up that need to be answered straight away, we can help.
Are the online courses interactive?
We encourage you to workshop ideas, writing and questions with your classmates. The forum is designed so you have the opportunity to post at any time during the week. You should take the time to read posts from your classmates and interact as much as possible. Workshopping is one of the best ways to improve your writing or hone your ideas, and the online forum is the perfect way to do it.
What kind of access do I have to the tutor?
Your online tutor will respond each week to your questions, feedback or writing assignments. You can ask as many questions as you like. Your online tutor will either post their responses via the forum, or record an audio post for you to listen to. Either way, their feedback each week will be specifically in response to the questions, comments and assignments from students that week.
Do I need to be online at a certain time?
No. The course isn’t live, so you can login to the classroom whenever suits you. You do, however, need to complete each module in the week that it is released. Once a module is finished, the comments feed for that module will be closed and you won’t be able to post questions/writing there.
If you miss a module deadline but still have questions on that particular module, you can post those in the following week.
Do I need a very strong internet connection?
We recommend that you have at least ADSL or broadband internet (128K or higher). It is not ideal if you are on a dial-up connection – you might find that the audio in the online course will pause, skip or completely stop.
If you are on satellite internet or wireless broadband, from our experience we’ve found that students are able to attend the course without any problems.
If you are on a slower internet connection it might take you longer to download the course material. A good test to see if your internet speed is sufficient is to go to our sample page and try playing the audio on the page. If you are able to play the audio right to the end without the audio pausing or stopping, it’s a good indication that your internet speed is sufficient. Another way to check is to go to youtube.com and see whether you can watch a video in its entirety from start to finish without it stopping or pausing. You can check out our video here as an example.
How big are the files?
Each week there are audio lessons, which can be streamed over the internet or downloaded as an mp3 file. There are 2-3 audio files per week with an average file size of about 15 Mega-bytes each.
There are also PDF handouts to go with the audio lessons which are only 2-4 Mega-bytes each.
On average you should expect to download approx 40-50 Mega-bytes of course materials (audio and handouts) each week.
What level of experience do I need?
There are no prerequisites for any of our online courses. Each one is designed for beginners or writers with some experience who want to hone their skills.
If you’re considering Online Creative Writing Stage 2, you should have ideally completed Online Creative Writing Stage 1 or made some progress on your writing.
Click here to view an online class sample page.