MasterClass is one of the newer online learning websites to hit the scene with celebrity teachers and experts in popular fields. Currently, there are 14 classes ranging from comedy with Steve Martin to singing with Christina Aguilera. Seven more classes are listed as “coming soon” including photography with Annie Leibovitz and Conservation with Dr. Jane Goodall.
Each course is $90 and gets you lifetime access. It’s a self-paced environment, so you can come and go on your learning journey as you please.
When I was offered to select a course to try out, I was tied between learning comedy with Steve Martin and writing with James Patterson. I went with writing since I don’t plan on doing standup up comedy anytime soon (or not on purpose, anyway). Steve’s class is on my wishlist because it looks like fun.
I’m going to break this review down into two parts. First is the overall set up of the MasterClass system. The second will be my experience in James Patterson’s course.
MasterClass as a Whole
When you log in, you get a clean interface with where you left off, how many lessons are left, and the option to resume class. If you want, you can hang out in The Hub (student community area), check out the printable resources, or scroll through the lesson plan and see what is coming up.
Compared to other sites, MasterClass is distraction free. When you log in, you don’t automatically see the discussions going on or the list of things you need to complete. You see the work you came to do, and if you want to explore the other areas you may.
The Hub is where the writing prompts and exercises are located for Jame’s writing course, so I have to venture in there from time to time, but, again, it’s clean and well designed so I don’t feel distracted by it.
The discussion environment is laid back, and since you are there with other people who paid to be there, you don’t have to worry about trolls or other nonsense that you could run into if anyone could just sign up and enter. You can get feedback from your fellow students and, in turn, it’s encouraged that you give feedback to others to help them grow.
Each lesson has a pdf workbook that you download and use for notes or assignments. The first lesson gives you the pace chart that MasterClass suggests you use when taking the course.
What I liked about this set up is I can go by the pace they set or I can go on my own. I saw some people had bought the course a year ago but life intervened and now they are finally getting a chance to take it. Despite the fact that you can go at your own pace, it’s not recommended that you take your time and save your binging for Netflix.
A bonus thing worth mentioning is sometimes contests are run for students. James Patterson ran a contest where one of his students could win the opportunity to co-author a book with him. At the time this post was written, musical artist deadmau5 was running a contest for one of his students to work with him on his next album. Opportunities like this alone are worth the price of taking the course.
Being Taught by James Freaking Patterson!
I’ll try to keep my excitement toned down. I haven’t read any of James’ adult novels, but I’m familiar with him as a writer and his success at his craft. In class, he’s funny and engaging, and he uses his own successful books to guide you through the process.
The class is broken down into 22 lessons that go over a wealth of information including:
- Getting started
- Passion and habits
- Raw ideas and figuring out if they’re worth your time.
- Outlines (this is such a big thing for James he covers it over two lessons)
- Writer’s block
- Creating characters
- Building a chapter
- Marketing the Patterson way
And a bunch more.
In his outline lesson, he shows you the outline of his novel Honeymoon, which has never been shown to anyone.
Questions are encouraged and you can use your webcam or smartphone to upload a video to James’ Office Hours page. He takes time out to answer some of the questions submitted which for me, adds to the learning experience.
I’m looking forward to watching MasterClass grow and taking a couple more down the line. The video style platform coupled with the downloadable content makes it feel more engaging than other online courses that throw a bunch of reading materials at you with a few assignments.
Disclaimer: GeekMom received a free course to try out for this review.