The Writers' Greenhouse

Online classes

All classes and workshops are running online until further notice, using a combination of live class sessions on Zoom and physical materials posted to you. Writing in Style (Oct-Nov 2020) and Imaginary Worlds (Feb-Mar 2021) are both running online. When in-person classes can resume, I may also run an online option for each course, for people outside of Oxford or whose circumstances make online classes easier.

Zoom

Megan running a Zoom class

The classes runs on Zoom, which lets us do all the small-group discussions that you'd usually do in your table groupings, and get to know and work with all the different people in the group. If you don't know Zoom or would like to practise it more, I run a couple of practise sessions before each course for you to explore it. You can sign up with Zoom for free and use it on any device – laptop, iPad, phone, etc.

Class handouts

Composite picture of materials being prepared for posting

Online teaching does not mean we lose the lovely physicality of the lessons, the games, or the playing with bits of paper! Before each class, I send you your materials by post, usually in batches of 2 classes at a time. You'll have an A4 envelope for each class in the course, with all the handouts in order inside it, any cards for games in their own little envelope, plus your class summary booklet. I'll also include any other physical materials you need for the class. (Eg for the Starting Points collage session, it also had a paintbrush, card, a magazine, and an envelope of the magic-glue powder.) Details on how I keep posted materials safe are below.

Starter pack

In the first package, I also send you any extra materials you'll need across the course – most importantly, a set of felt-tips, a slide-binder & booklet cover & cardboard back to make your class booklets into a little book, and a bottle of essential oil blend. This is the same mix that I use in the in-person classes, and acts as a fantastic immediate into-writing-space anchor.

After-class chat, drinks, and socialising

Zoom sessions don't provide as much chance for casual socialising as in-person classes, so I use several different avenues to keep that social atmosphere alive. First, the end of each class is not the end of the Zoom session – I always keep the session open for anyone who wants to ask questions or chat to each other. You're always very welcome to linger and chat! We have after-class socials in weeks 4 and 8, with a 5-min break for people to put their papers away, grab a drink if you want one, shift to a more comfortable chair if you want, etc, basically get settled and comfy and then have a drink and a natter together. I also create a WhatsApp group for each course, so you have a casual space to chat to each other.

Keeping posted materials safe

I maintain the highest possible standards for handling student materials, following the guidelines for what a shielded person needs:

  • I thoroughly wash my hands and wrists before handling anything that goes into student packs
  • I scrub down the surfaces I'm laying materials out on, for packing
  • I don't touch anything else while I'm packing, or if I have to then I stop and wash my hands again before touching materials
  • Once the outer envelope's sealed, I quarantine the packs for 2 days before posting, so that by the time it reaches you the inside contents haven't been touched for 3 days

I use Royal Mail for posting and they have their own safety procedures for handling post. Once your pack arrives, follow the usual safety advice for receiving parcels: either put it in its own little quarantine corner for 3 days OR open it, tip the contents out, dispose of the outer envelope, and wash your hands thoroughly.

Reviews

The Summer of Writing workshops (August) and the Meddling with Poetry course (May–June) ran fully online; some of the students had come to in-person classes before, others were new students. The Starting Points course began in person at the start of February and finished online. These are excerpts of their reviews, about the online aspect. You can read the full reviews here.

Although I'm quite experienced with Zoom, I was seriously impressed with Megan's Zoom skills: she made us all feel as much at home as she always does, and it was easy to forget that we were not actually meeting in person.

Jessica Osborne 7 Sep 2020

Once again thanks for running a great course. Your use of zoom is exemplary and offers a very creditable substitute for face to face classes.

John 7 Sep 2020

Megan is a fantastic teacher - warm, friendly, inclusive. The workshops, being held on Zoom, could have been very intense, but Megan presented a varied programme, which was very enjoyable and balanced. The sessions were brilliantly planned, with bang-on timekeeping, and included small group discussions, preparation exercises, writing, a bit of whole group work and reminders to stretch - very important!

Adele 24 Aug 2020

Iím enjoying the process so much and Megan runs incredibly organised and fun workshops online - so much so that I completely forgot they were online.

RoseH 12 Aug 2020

As this was an online course the content was posted out to us weekly and that worked really well, especially as she supplied binders for us to keep it in order and to build an invaluable resource for future reference. I was uncertain whether or not the dynamism and enjoyment of her classes could work online, but they do. Megan is very engaging and her classes so well paced and structured that I did not feel I was missing out by not being in her tutoring room.

Yes I did miss the candle-light and the tea and biscuits but Megan looked after us all by sending us candles and her own Writers Greenhouse blend of essential oil to put us all into the writing mood. A WhatsApp group for all of us attending kept us feeling part of a group and I am now joining a writers group as a result of contacts made on the course. I cannot recommend Megan Kerr and her courses highly enough.

Clare 17 Jul 2020

Just completed the Meddling with Poetry course with Megan at The Writers Greenhouse. The course, adapted for the Coronavirus restrictions, proved delightful and lively and the content assured and comprehensive. Megan does a superb job in sharing her love and enthusiasm for poetry which worked well for a poetic novice such as myself. Great course!

David 30 Jun 2020

I had actually participated in the very same course a year or so ago [in person] and was hoping it would really just act as a stimulus to get me writing again. However, it did so much more. ... The current pandemic also meant that most online courses are being offered without thought or access to stimulating resources. Megan created I am sure very painstakingly weekly packs with all you can imagine in and more inside. Not only that but as a shielded student I was completely reassured by her amazing regime to keep packs COVID free.

Carolyne 30 Jun 2020

I attended the Starting Points course in March 2020, and it exceeded all my (already high) expectations. Megan is a brilliant teacher - reassuring, motivating and fun, and she creates a welcoming environment in which it's clear that all levels are genuinely welcome. It's also pretty remarkable that the course was able to seamlessly shift into online delivery (thank you, pandemic), without leaving me feeling that I'd missed out in any way. I hesitated for a long time before booking onto Megan's course, and I now have no idea why. If you're at all apprehensive or nervous (as I was) I suggest you just go for it - you definitely won't regret it!

Anna 23 Apr 2020

The classes are fast-paced and interactive. Lots of fairly short activities. Lots of discussion. Lots of stimulating ideas. Lots of different exercises to suit different learning styles. We moved online for the last couple of sessions because of the coronavirus and Megan did a brilliant job of adapting the course for this, organising classes on Zoom (and a tutorial on how to use it) and mailing out worksheets etc.

Benjamin 14 Apr 2020

I cannot rate this course/workshop highly enough or Megan as a teacher. It started as a face to face group of 12 at Megan's house and due to current COVID19 restrictions transitioned smoothly to online with very little fuss but no less enjoyment. As someone new to creative writing and therefore very nervous, I found Megan to be, kind, encouraging, incredibly knowledgeable, and most importantly fun.

Manoo 14 Apr 2020

Just finished the Starting Points course with Megan Kerr. Her course came recommended to me and I now recommend it wholeheartedly to you. Lively and perceptive, Megan delivers a friendly and lively course, and, unphased by the current social distancing protocols, she moved seamlessly to on-line sessions, which were just as successful. Thinking of starting to write - start here!

Older not wiser 3 Apr 2020


The next course running online is Imaginary Worlds in Feb–March: bookings close 19 January. Click here for more info.

 

 

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