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My first experience with a remote teaching workshop

(Originally posted on LinkedIn, March 13th)

I’ve been giving our Figma workshop for a while, always in person, but recently I got the question to do it remotely.

Hesitations

At first, I hesitated. Would it even work? The workshop is five hours. It requires a lot of interaction.

But then a few factors convinced me:

  • The company that was asking knows remote work
  • Figma, the tool that I am teaching is actually perfect for remote work
  • I knew the person asking well, so he would understand if it would “fail” and we could come to an agreement easily.

And then some more thoughts:

  • We do remote work anyway – so why wouldn’t this work?
  • Wouldn’t it be perfect to also be able to give this workshop to an international audience? (and international it was: people from 3 countries, even someone living in Peru!)

I prepared my workshop like I always do: ask the audience about their Figma experience, what they are struggling with. I like to customize the content a bit to the audience. Teaching Figma to seven developers is different than teaching Figma to three expert product designers with a graphic design background!

Workshop day

The workshop day came and we gathered in a Zoom call.

I had the idea to set up 2 computers, and 2 Zoom accounts. The reason: this way, one of the computers could act like the “TV” where I would share the slides with instructions, exercises and some theory.

Then my other computer, I could check if everyone was doing the practical exercises.

Half an hour before the call I got the question if I could make a recording. I said “sure!” and used Zoom’s cloud recording feature to do so.

Unfortunately, I didn’t capture the screen with the slides, but the screen where I was checking on the exercises. Whoops. To be safe, I think next time I will just record both screens.

I was a bit nervous about the technicalities but everything went well.

The workshop went for 5 hours. I put a big break in the middle of half an hour, where everyone could go do whatever they wanted. 

Ideas for next time

After the workshop, I had some improvement ideas. During the exercises, everyone was super concentrated with their mic on mute, or if they weren’t I would just hear a few mouse clicks. I thought about maybe streaming a bit of music during the exercises.

I’m also big on shortcuts, and a part of the workshop is about learning to be faster with shortcuts. I thought it would be nice to show an overlay of whatever key I was typing in, perhaps with some kind of mac OS utility.

Overall conclusions

In the end I was very happy. The workshop was a success and the participants all gave positive feedback at the end saying that they learned a lot. I am definitely going to give this another shot.

Johan Ronsse

About the author

Johan Ronsse is an interface designer who is trying to find the balance between aesthetics and usability. He tweets as @wolfr_2.

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