Stephen Cashmore, the SfEP's training director, has kindly agreed to tell Parlour readers a little more about the exciting developments in online/distance learning editorial training being offered by the Society ...
Louise has invited me, as training director of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, to explain what the thinking is behind making our training courses available online, and what lies a bit further down the road.
The "why" is simple enough: there’s a strong demand for distance learning courses that are accessible online. The SfEP office regularly receives enquiries from people outside the UK, asking when we’re going to deliver training online so that they can benefit from it. For that matter, we regularly get enquiries from would-be students in the UK, asking exactly the same question. Why? Because they can’t afford the time away from their desk, or they have family commitments, or they can’t afford the travel (and sometimes accommodation), or the dates of the classroom-based course are inconvenient. This demand for online courses was also highlighted in the last annual membership survey.
As our publicity material says, the benefits of learning material being available online include:
This is not to say that there’s no place for classroom-based courses. They have their own unique advantages in their networking opportunities and the fact that you can put your hand up and immediately ask awkward questions of the living, breathing tutor in front of you.
In short, training is demand-led. We are making our courses available online because there is a demand for it, and we will continue to deliver classroom-based courses for as long as there is a demand for them.
What next? Our flagship course, Proofreading 1: Introduction, is already available online. The plan is to put four more courses online this year:
We are planning to make Copy-editing Progress available online before the Society’s conference in Exeter. (Are you going to the conference, by the way? If you are not, well, I would encourage you to check out what’s on offer via the SfEP website.) The other three courses should be online before the end of 2013.
Once these entry-level courses are in place, my aim is to target the "specialist" market and provide half a dozen online-only courses on specific topics, although these are only a glint in my eye at the moment. Budget constraints mean that I can target only one of these courses during 2013/14: the others will, I hope, be developed early in 2014/15.
So there’s a lot happening. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and keep an eye open on our website for future announcements on the progress of SfEP’s delivery of online training.
Training Director, SfEP
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