We had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sayanee Basu, who is the Web Development instructor of one the most popular online courses on Teachlr. Sayanee talked about the infinite possibilities of the hyper-connected world of the Internet, the reasons that motivated her to teach, and her experience with eLearning.
Sayanee was born in India and at 11 migrated to Singapore with her parents. As a third culture kid, she has been surrounded by variety since she was very little, leading her to recognise that “(…) every corner, culture and people of the world has something for me to learn [which] makes me both empowered and yet very humbled.”
The world of the Internet has given Sayanee an extension of that notion: The web serves as a bridge that connects her to people from whom she can learn and get infinite knowledge.
“I decided to teach, because I wanted to learn”
After having graduated as an electrical engineer, Sayanee “fell in love with the web and its power to instantly share anything all over the world”, inspiring her to self-learn web development. Everytime she used a new tool in a recent project, she would do a screencast as a way to reinforce her understanding of the topic. Sayanee then realized that since she was a beginner herself and was “revising” what she just learned, why not share these screencasts with others who could benefit from her experience?
Sayanee recounts: “I felt as a beginner myself, I would be able to share and teach in a unique way that will help and connect with fellow beginners on the topic and hence, lower the barrier to learning for all.”
Following the steps of fellow web developers Lea Verou and Chris Coyier, who were her first influences on how to share content online in a simple and effective manner, she began creating online courses.
“I don’t have anything particular to “achieve” with eLearning. I quite enjoy the process of writing out the steps and thoughts of outlining each screencast or a blog post. It gives me much clarity into that technology. Plus, the feedback and encouragement from my audience is always a bonus!”
Sayanee’s role models are Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman, scientists who share their knowledge with the rest of the world in a simple language allowing them to convey and ignite interest among others. “This is the essence of teaching for me.”
Sayanee’s Tips for creating your Online Course
1. Get the tools
Fortunately, with just an investment in a good microphone, pretty much all tools are free. These are some tools that I use with a Macbook:
- Audacity and Audio MIDI Setup to check sound quality
- Sox for normalising audio
- Levelator for audio normalisation (if sox is not used)
- Quicktime to record the screencasts
- iMovie to edit the screencasts and export *.mov video file
- ffmpeg for video and normalised audio exports
- SwitchResX 4 to switch my screen resolution to 1280 x 720 and keep my notes in a dual monitor to refer while speaking and recording
- mouse locator to highlight portions during screencast
- keycastr to display your keystrokes while recording screencasts
- Zooming on Mac
2. Just get started and keep going
When I see my very first episode, I can see how much I have improved. But in the initial days, I used to worry too much about being “perfect”. Now I realized that there is no such thing as being perfect. Just ship each episode one by one, and you will improve with every episode (…) you will discover your own unique style and the momentum of creating and sharing will make you create that one more episode. It’s all about having fun in understanding that topic and sharing with the world.
3. Share share share
Creating content through blogging is a great way. Learn the mechanics of RSS and how to publish to various platforms such as iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo, Sound Cloud. Fortunately, once again the web has tonnes of info on how to setup a blog with WordPress or even self hosting it. If not, just ask an eLearning platform like Teachlr themselves!
Also, do think about the license you want to attribute to your content so that it is clear from the start how it can be shares with the world of web. I like the various types of Creative Commons licenses for this. It can of course be a paid course too.
Some final thoughts
“An inter-connected world inspires me. A future with inter-planetary Internet excites me (…) We still have more than 4 billion people who are not connected to the Internet. Imagine the possibilities when every single person on this planet is connected to the Internet. More sharing through eLearning, faster information transfer, exchange of solutions and ideas across cultures and countries. I hope to see this within my lifetime!”
If you want to learn with Sayanee, take her online course for FREE