21 Replies Latest reply on Nov 6, 2012 7:19 AM by peter minneapolis

    Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.

    TwitchOSX Level 1

      I work for a print shop and I do pretty much all the design, typesetting, pre-press, etc. I'm the only person here who does this.

       

      A client of ours which we do quite a bit of printing for has several people on staff who "design" their own things for the most part. Problem is, none of them are very good and we tend to get MS Publisher files or other junk from them. The few that do use InDesign haven't done it long or are trying to learn as they go and they really don't know what they are doing.

       

      One lady that I was helping this past week asked me if I or anybody I know teaches InDesign classes. I told her that I've freelanced on the side a few times going to somebody's house one one one to help them out with what they are doing but I've never taught a class. She asked if I was willing to teach a class of 3-4 people with varying levels of knowledge of InDesign. I told her I could probably do that but I've never done anything like that before and it's always been one on one. I told her for the one one one stuff I would always charge $40/hour to go to the persons house using their equipment. I currently do not own any of this software myself as it's a work only thing so I don't need it at home.

       

      I told her I don't have any sort of cirriculum since it's always been one on one. I told her that I obviously don't know everything about InDesign as I only use it for what I do with it so there's plenty I don't know. But this sounds like it's a pretty basic thing and I could easily show them the basics and how to set up files suitible for printing, etc.

       

      My question is, should I get some sort of cirriculum somewhere somehow and is $40/hour too cheap then to teach a small "class"?

       

      Thoughts? Ideas?

        • 1. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Pricing something like teaching is always a bit fuzzy, but given the fact that this is your first time, that probably is appropriate. After you get some experience, you can start raising what you charge.

           

          As for curriculum, while it's certainly not perfect, it's pretty easy to get copies of Adobe InDesign Classroom in a Book. There are other titles from specialty presses, but that's probably a good start. Be sure you practice going thru the exercises yourself first so it comes across smoothly.

          • 2. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
            Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

            I taught InDesign for a few semesters at the local community college, as well as teaching the 8-hour workforce training sessions they offered.

             

            I used Classroom in a Book, with a healthy dose of handouts and notes pointing out the errors in the text and examples of poor file construction. Last time I used it was for CS4, however, and things may have improved. I found it to be the best of all the texts I looked at, and OK in guided classroom setting with an instructor who knows the program, but I wouldn't necessarily suggest it can be used without supplementation or by a newbie on their own.

             

            The short classes used other inexpensive texts that I had no say in picking, and frankly the texts, and the classes, were pretty much not worth anything. You just can't train someone in ID beyond a few simple "do this" tasks in a few hours. I continue to do 2-3 hour sessions for the new staff at the studnet paper each semester, but those classes are very narrowly focused on getting stories and photos onto a page and formatted -- nothing creative at all, and they have senior staffers with more experience who are responsible for final layouts and putting the paper to bed.

            • 3. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
              TwitchOSX Level 1

              I'll look into that Classroom in a Book deal.

               

              Mainly, what I think they need to know (because it's always a problem and I always have to seem to have to work with them on these things) is file preperation. Specifically, they tend to use low res crap for some reason. A lot of people just don't get that things need to be 300 dpi or higher. The lady in particular that I'm dealing with right now had set up a Christmas card and they came in to show me a printed version and I had some suggestions on how to improve it but then when she sent me the Photoshop file, it was at 150 DPI and there was horrible JPG artifacts on the text because she used some graphic that came with MS Publisher and imported into Photoshop and it was just a mess so I suggested that I re-create it. I asked her to send the pictures of the dogs that she used on the bulbs on the tree and she sends me these cropped out 50kb PNG files.

               

              Wrong!

               

              I asked for and received the original 1.5mb ish non cropped files so now I have something to work with. But just simple things like that.

               

              And bleeds. Nobody knows how to do bleeds worth a darn. It's fairly simple stuff like that that I could easily explain why it's needed and how it's done. That and CMYK vs PMS... when to and not to use them and how to convert them, etc.

              • 4. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                The nice thing about using the book is is provides a framework for you, and each chapter is a project that demonstrates the techniques being covered. You get to expand and correct, and it keeps you from forgetting important points. As Steve suggested, though, be sure to run through each lesson on your own first to find the problems.

                 

                And don't be surprised if students manage to do the unanticipated. I once spent three hours trying to figure out why text wasn't floing into a master frame for two students when it worked for everyone else. I finally sat behind one of them and watched them do the exercise. That's when I discovered that clicking a loaded cursor on any sort of guide ignores any existing frame (and as far as I know that's not documented ANYWHERE). That's just something I never did myself, and it never occurred to me it would be a problem.

                 

                Have fun.

                • 6. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                  Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I have a pretty slick setup in the classroom where I teach the most. Called AcademyX, and located in downtown San Francisco, they usually have several classes in Adobe applications, Microsoft applications, Web programming, marketing, etc. going on at the same time. In each classroom, the teacher works from a teacher station in the front of the room. Each student has their own workstation, and a monitor which shows what I'm demonstrating. That way they can see what I'm doing ("monkey see, monkey do!"), which eliminates some common errors.

                   

                  But some students are just pretty klutzy with computers and are slow to learn, others get it right away and take off. The hardest classes are where there's a big gap between the two. It's always hard to hit the balance, the sweet spot, in terms of how fast to teach. That's where experience comes in.

                  • 7. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                    TwitchOSX Level 1

                    I think the thing that would help me is I have lots of experience helping people over the phone since I work for a small print shop and most of the stuff I get from customers is crap, there is lots of "ok, you need to do this, that and the other thing and resend it to me". I've done a LOT of that stuff so I'm pretty good in that regard.

                    • 8. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                      Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                      Fancy classrooms are nice (I had a projector that showed waht I was doing so the students could follow along on there own workstations), but not a requirement for a successful class. The main thing to remember is that the students need to do the work themselves, even if you have to stand over their shoulders and say "now click the mouse on that..."

                       

                      You'll do fine. You have a class of people who actually are motivated to learn the program, and that's a major plus.

                      • 9. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                        Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Each student has their own workstation, and a monitor which shows what I'm demonstrating. That way they can see what I'm doing ("monkey see, monkey do!"), which eliminates some common errors.

                         

                        There's another way to teach InDesign?


                        I learned PageMaker in high school, and that's the way it was taught - we each sat at a Mac Plus and worked along with the teacher. I've taught a variety of page layout classes to people of all skill levels, and each one worked this way - each student at a workstation, with my monitor duped on a projector at the front of the class.

                         

                        I guess the exception is private tutoring - in those cases I usually am standing around behind my student. My post-collegiate phone-tech-support experience came in handy there, as I had to describe what I wanted my student to do, I couldn't just demonstrate it. It's totally worth your time, Twitch, to practice describing stuff without using the computer at all, especially if you have a coworker who can be your test-run student.

                        • 10. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Oh, there are plenty of ways to teach InDesign. A well-equipped classroom where the software is already installed and ready for you is ideal. But if you're teaching in the "real world" on site at a company, there are all kinds of setups, not all of them ideal.

                           

                          I was teaching Acrobat not too long ago at a law firm with a mishmash of computers in a conference room, running anything from Acrobat 8 on a Windows computer to Acrobat X on a Macintosh, for example. Or, where students have to double up on laptops but with no working projector. Or, where I went around from computer to computer because all of them weren't in the same room. Or, online on a Adobe Connect session where the students aren't in the room. Or...

                          • 11. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                            Joel Cherney Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            Point taken, Steve I think that the permutation that makes no sense to me is: lecture-format, standing in front of a room full of people looking at me with expectant facial expressions and no computers at all. I've done that before, with (cough) sub-optimal results. Your description of a "mishmash of computers" was my only teaching environment for some time - a number of years.

                            • 12. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                              TwitchOSX Level 1

                              I'm not too bad at that. I used to work at an ISP doing tech support. Got to the point where I wasn't even looking at my monitor to tell somebody how to go in and remove all the AOL crap and other random stuff from their TCP/IP settings or walk them through setting up Outlook Express.

                               

                              However.. I have been on vacation before and tried to talk my boss through a few things in InDesign before and that is incredibly hard. Especially after I've had a few beers lol.

                              • 13. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                TwitchOSX Level 1

                                Of course, my boss can barely work an email client so.... it's a little more difficult working with her lol

                                • 14. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                  peter minneapolis Level 4

                                  IMO, the issue isn't training your audience in InDesign, it's teaching them some workflow steps that you've identified they don't do properly, which affects your ability to deliver a smooth customer experience and high-quality results. Fixing the known problems will benefit customers and reduce the time and effort spent in correcting the mistakes before you can produce the output.

                                   

                                  I'd suggest working with the customer to create a list of topics that need the most urgent attention and that can be covered in three hours, and state your expected outcome for the target audience. If this planning reveals that the range of skill levels, and/or te tasks are too disparate to fit the proposed session length and goals, the customer might agree to a separate session for those who need more basics, and another session on those key issues, with the more-skilled folks, once they're trained-up.

                                   

                                  You might also want to shift the idea that a single silver bullet session can solve the worker/skills problem, to additional short sessions over time, focusing on specific issues, to upgrade everyone's workflow efficiency, which is repaid by having fewer production delays and fewer extra charges.

                                   

                                  Just a thought...

                                   

                                  Regards,

                                   

                                   

                                  Peter

                                  _______________________

                                  Peter Gold

                                  KnowHow ProServices

                                   

                                  TwitchOSX wrote:

                                   

                                  I'll look into that Classroom in a Book deal.

                                   

                                  Mainly, what I think they need to know (because it's always a problem and I always have to seem to have to work with them on these things) is file preperation. Specifically, they tend to use low res crap for some reason. A lot of people just don't get that things need to be 300 dpi or higher. The lady in particular that I'm dealing with right now had set up a Christmas card and they came in to show me a printed version and I had some suggestions on how to improve it but then when she sent me the Photoshop file, it was at 150 DPI and there was horrible JPG artifacts on the text because she used some graphic that came with MS Publisher and imported into Photoshop and it was just a mess so I suggested that I re-create it. I asked her to send the pictures of the dogs that she used on the bulbs on the tree and she sends me these cropped out 50kb PNG files.

                                   

                                  Wrong!

                                   

                                  I asked for and received the original 1.5mb ish non cropped files so now I have something to work with. But just simple things like that.

                                   

                                  And bleeds. Nobody knows how to do bleeds worth a darn. It's fairly simple stuff like that that I could easily explain why it's needed and how it's done. That and CMYK vs PMS... when to and not to use them and how to convert them, etc.

                                  • 15. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                    MariaBrenny

                                    If you've got a small "class" together, keep in mind a few things:

                                    • Everyone has different learning styles. Some people are auditory learners, some need to "do", some need to see. You'll have the best results if you incorporate a variety of learning methods into the class. In a Flash class I taught, I had a series of exercises the class did--completely removed from the computer-- in order to teach the concepts behind what they were doing. It helped the students understand why they were doing what they were doing once we moved back to the computer.
                                    • Everyone learns at a different "speed". Fast learners will get frustrated if paired with slow learners.
                                    • Give assignments. Give feedback. Give exercises outside of class. Repetition helps the learning process.
                                    • Let them make mistakes. Let them see what a crappy 72dpi  photo looks like, then tell them how to fix it.
                                    • If you don't want to take this on, there are plenty of online resources (e.g: lynda.com) where training resources are available. If they want "in person" training, most community colleges offer courses like this.
                                    • With a small group, you can tailor this class to exactly what they need. Ask them what they do (and need to do). (e.g.: No need to teach them about interactive elements or DataMerge if they never use them!) Keep it small, and focused.

                                     

                                    Good Luck!

                                    • 16. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                      its_betty Level 1

                                      When I teach InDesign to individuals or small groups, I like to work on one of their actual projects. I get the file or the information from the client ahead of time, and figure out how to teach basic concepts plus the details the client needs to know to get their particular project done.

                                       

                                      Consider charging more. You are likely to spend at least a few hours preparing for the class.

                                       

                                      Think about how long each training session will be. Too short and you won't have enough time; too long and people (especially beginners) tend to get overwhelmed.

                                       

                                      Think about how to deal with questions after the class. Will you offer to answer a few email or phone questions for free? Charge for all? Set up a policy ahead of time so you aren't surprised by hours of post-class phone calls.

                                       

                                      As far as curriculum, you can look at books or other InDesign classes and tutorials to get an idea of how other people structure training: what is important, what to teach first, etc. Then customize for your style and your client.

                                      • 17. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                        TwitchOSX Level 1

                                        This is a good idea. The lady who I was working with initially, she's the one who asked if I was interested in teaching them. It was her file that I told them I would have to re-create myself because of all the issues. I could basically re-create it in front of them in the class showing how I'm doing what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

                                         

                                        Only issue there is... I wouldnt want to embarrass the person in front of everybody though by saying "this is wrong and this is wrong". Of course, I would word it differently like "this is how this should be done, etc" but it would show them WHY I had to re-create the file and charge them for it and why it shouldn't have been done in Photoshop... and why it shouldn't have been done at 150 dpi, etc.

                                        • 18. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                          its_betty Level 1

                                          TwitchOSX wrote:

                                           

                                          Only issue there is... I wouldnt want to embarrass the person in front of everybody though by saying "this is wrong and this is wrong".

                                          You don't have to mention their file at all except to say "this is the project we are working on." Simply show them the steps you use to create the new file you are making.

                                           

                                          I also like the phrase "best practice." As in "We can make the ad in Photoshop, but the best practice is to use InDesign, so that is what I will be showing you."

                                          • 19. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                            TwitchOSX Level 1

                                            Well, of the 3 or 4 people that would be in the class, I'm sure they would all know the person in the class that created it. That's my only concern with something like that.

                                            • 20. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                              Why not say something like "lets start by creating a dcoument you might be familiar with." Don't mention that you had trouble, or show them anything but a PDF of what it should look like, then dig in and start if fresh in ID.

                                              • 21. Re: Has anybody ever taught an InDesign class? I've been asked to. Got a couple questions.
                                                peter minneapolis Level 4

                                                You're right about not saying "this is wrong." That's got to be embarrassing. However, every failed process has got good lessons for improving future work. If the lady is smart enough to ask about training her co-workers to improve workflow, skills, and profitability, she's smart enough, IMO, to agree to using the problematic files as foundations for developing the best practices already noted in another post.

                                                 

                                                Edison and his huge engineering team (he didn't work alone, you know) failed 9,999 times, and succeeded once, to make a proper light bulb. He supposedly said "I learned 9,999 other ways to make bulbs." So, saying something like, "Here's what we've been working with. Here are the problems we've seen. Now that we've got great experience with what needs improvement, let's start over and get it 'right-er,' if not perfect," should get buy-in from everyone. Who wouldn't want to learn to work smarter, faster, better?

                                                 

                                                Maybe some people will never say, "If I had my life to live over, I'd do it completely differently," but many would probably be willing to improve their workflows, given the opportunity.

                                                TwitchOSX wrote:

                                                 

                                                This is a good idea. The lady who I was working with initially, she's the one who asked if I was interested in teaching them. It was her file that I told them I would have to re-create myself because of all the issues. I could basically re-create it in front of them in the class showing how I'm doing what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

                                                 

                                                Only issue there is... I wouldnt want to embarrass the person in front of everybody though by saying "this is wrong and this is wrong". Of course, I would word it differently like "this is how this should be done, etc" but it would show them WHY I had to re-create the file and charge them for it and why it shouldn't have been done in Photoshop... and why it shouldn't have been done at 150 dpi, etc.