Sunday, May 25, 2008

Wake up! It's Study Time and Natural Perfumery is the Subject

Monica and Gloria hit their alarm clocks to make them stop ringing at 5 a.m. in their respective homes in Taipei. Viv and Wendy struggled to find their coffee and limber up their typing fingers at 6 a.m in different towns in Australia. On a Sunday.

On the other side of the world, Lisbeth in Denmark logged on at midnight on Saturday. Everyone else was joining the monthly live chat in time zones spread out between Taiwan and Denmark.

Occasionally we switch the time around, and admittedly we're still trying to find the best times for the Spring 2008 class.

The Module 3 discussion was lively and a lot of fun. Questions came at me fast and fabulous, with the topics ranging from how to fill in #4 on the evaluation sheet to requests for clearer definitions on the order and significance of the aromatics family list versus the fragrance family list. I enjoyed every single moment of it, and the students posted their satisfaction and comprehension levels were high after the chat. All of the chat material is archived on everyone's hard drive, even if they weren't able to attend, so all a student has to do it check the messages at any time revisit the Q&A.

Some couldn't make it this time for work or log-on issues - one student was at a friend's house and on dialup and checked in just as we were signing off. I'm going to schedule a "shortie" live chat in the next week for those who missed the scheduled one. We communicate with each other on a daily basis in our private Yahoo group, so nobody feels left out. In total, there are almost 50 students, and many just lurk and soak it all in, much like the big Natural Perfumery Yahoo group. It's the nature of the artist, as I've found many are just shy and won't put their works or questions out there. Essentially, just like a real world classroom in a brick and mortar school ;-)

Today I held the live chat for the Fall 2007 students on a Sunday this time. They're in Module 7 and we were there help them work their past observations on the aromatics they're studying into workable vertical accords. Saskia in Belgium logged on despite a headache and a long day working - it was 9 PM her time. Lara in Spain was full of energy and brimming with lots of accords and observations to share. Our AU student was MIA, as were some others - the long holiday weekend definitely caused a bit of hookying! However, these students are well advanced in their studies, and know they will be able to catch up by reading the chat.

I originally held the chats on the class website, but found sometimes the javascript there booted people out - myself included. Yahoo has some problems, but so far nobody has been booted, so we using it exclusively now for chatting.

All the live chats are held about two weeks after the Module begins. When a Module launches, the students go to the class website to check the list of topics for that month's studies, find the checklist and assignments, listen to my recorded lecture and download any of the numerous forms I've provided for their record keeping.

I'm getting feedback that the lectures and live chats are the favorite parts of the learning experience. I have a (to me) funny Philadelphia accent, but feedback from the students is so very nice. They say they find my voice soft and soothing, and they like my sense of humor. As far as the chats to, it really helps to have "real time" feedback and the ability to interact with me and the other students as we work through questions about the assignment.

In the next week or so I'll upload bits of my lectures and snippets from the live chats here so y'all can get a glimpse of what is offered in the course.

What you won't get a glimpse of, just because it's so detailed and so full of educational materials is the enormous amount of information on the class website. The Primer is the core of the study, but it's just that - a Primer, a basic publication that is merely an outline and reference point for the entire body of work made available to the students. Every topic in the course is fleshed out by articles, downloadable forms, lectures, chats and detailed materials.

Perfumery study is long, involved and intense. There has to be dedication and passion - and my students, whether rising at 5 a.m. or staying up until Midnight, show they have it, and I am humbled and honored by their dedication.

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