Jan, I was one of the people that made a comment during the poetry lessons about the low number of entries one week. However, I would not jump to the conclusion that the poetry lessons drove folks away. I know you are a statistic person. Here are some stats from your lessons (from before I started looking at things to produce these stats—for some reason every time I looked at a lesson the “views” counter increased by two):
Avg. # of views for the poetry lessons (the recent ones, not the others that were scattered throughout the other lessons, e.g., Rhyme): 1,399
Avg. 3 of views for all other lessons: 1,956.
Avg. # of posts for poetry lessons: 60
Avg. # of posts for all other lessons: 53
Thus, the poetry lessons had 28% fewer views, but 13% more posts
However, it seems to me that the numbers were skewed because so many of the poetry lessons were in Nov.—NaNo month. So here are some more stats:
Avg. # of views for Poetry lessons from Nov. 2009: 1,146
Avg. # of views for lessons from Nov. 2008: 908
Avg. # of posts for Poetry lessons from Nov. 2009: 49
Avg. # of posts for lessons from Nov. 2008: 42
Thus the Nov. Poetry lessons had 26% more views and 17% more posts than the Nov. 2008 lessons.
Finally, we can look at the non-Nov. Poetry lessons vs. the non-Nov. other lessons:
Avg. # of views for Poetry lessons not from Nov. 2009: 1,738
Avg. # of views for lessons from not Nov. 2008: 2,072
Avg. # of posts for Poetry lessons not from Nov. 2009: 76
Avg. # of posts for lessons not from Nov. 2008: 55
So the non-Nov Poetry lessons had 16% fewer views, but 38% more posts than the non-Nov. other lessons.
So the Poetry lessons “win” in 4 out of 6 stats. AND that is with the other lessons having been available for so much longer. It’s hard to say how the melt down impacted things, but I think the Poetry lessons hold up pretty well.
By the way, I think these raw numbers are pretty amazing—your lessons are REALLY popular. And VALUABLE, I might add. I feel quite certain there are many beginners and intermediates in the view stats, even if not in the post stats. So you may be trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. As further possible evidence, I saw Ms. Barbie’s post—she found and read the lesson. Her point was not about looking at the lesson but about the content. If you want to change the content, there are 2 things to consider: what you post and what the rest of us post. Obviously, you can direct your content towards beginners/intermediates, both in terms of the lesson topic and in terms of how you present it. I’ve always thought that you have done a great job of both and that the poetry lessons were no exception. If however, others feel that the poetry lessons were an exception to the content side (i.e., they were too hard), just avoid such topics in the future.
As far as controlling what the rest of us post, you could just add a boilerplate sentence or two at the beginning of each lesson stating that it is geared towards beginners and intermediates and asking people not to take it any deeper. Hopefully, people would honor that. As you know, I have offered several times, both on the boards and in private emails to you to stop posting any of my comments that were problematic in this regard. I can tell you that I would honor any such boilerplate request and can’t imagine that others would not. If you do take the lessons deliberately in the beginner/intermediate direction, I can imagine there would still be weeks when I could benefit by doing the homework without adding anything else. After all, the homework has been very helpful to me up to now. I assume that has be true of everyone else, too.
Nonetheless, if you are still worried about the name issue (which to repeat, I don’t think you need to be), just go for the obvious: Jan’s Lessons for Beginners and Intermediates. I don’t think there’s an egotistical bone in your body, but I’m telling you: keep “Jan’s” in the title. The only down side to such a title is it might keep away more advanced folks, which would be unfortunate. I don’t think this would be true of advanced folks that have already enjoyed the lessons, but it might be true of advanced folks who have yet to check it out. There are several people whose homework is always fantastic and which I think would greatly benefit the beginning and intermediate students. Again, I think these folks could contribute homework while honoring the request not to take things deeper.
By the way, if you do lose some advanced folks due to the name or content change, that’s OK given what you want to accomplish.
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien