What Should I Teach?
I can't think of anything to record! 😢
This is totally normal! It's like writer's block. You are staring at a blank canvas of infinite possibilities. We need to take that first stroke and get the ball rolling. A screencast lesson is like a blog post or short article.
It's also totally possible that looking at it like a blog post or short article won't help at all! 😉
So let's take a look at what an "idea" is, and what we need to conjure up to create an awesome lesson on egghead
What makes a great lesson?
Well, first off, we are looking for practical lessons that help people perform real work. We want to ensure that we are respecting their time, and providing an answer to something specific in a concise way.
Three things that clearly let us know the strength of a lesson, before any video has even been recorded are:
- The title
- The summary
- The example
Coming up with a great title
The first thing you need to do is consider the topic that you want to teach. It's important to keep in mind what an egghead lesson is.
We strive to teach one thing very clearly in a short amount of time.
How do I...?
A great trick to creating a strong title is to say "How do I...?" in your head and then write the title.
[how do I...] Debug Angular Applications with Chrome DevTools
This clearly defines the scope of the lesson, and also informs the student as to what they will be watching. If you consider google and Stack Overflow (and you should!), this is how people use those tools. We type keywords related to some "how do I...?" question into Google, and (hopefully) find enlightenment with the results.
You definitely want your lesson to show up in the results!
Clearly summarize the lessons
Now that you've got a great title, you need to write a clear concise summary describing:
- the problem/pain we will solve
- how we will solve it
You are giving away the ending in the summary! It should be a spoiler that explains what we are about to learn. If it is too long or requires a lot of detail to summarize coherently, perhaps the lesson scope needs to be reduced.
Example code cements the concept
The example is the foundation that a good lesson is built on. A good example is simple, and doesn't require in depth knowledge of a specific domain. The example should be easy to run with very few simple steps. Typically we want to see the final code running in a Plunker embed directly under the lesson so the person learning the concept can play with code as quickly as possible.
A good example might take several lessons to fully describe, but an example of the right size won't get bogged down in the day to day repetition of create a "real-world" application. Keep it simple!
There are several places to mine for ideas.
- Open Source Projects - if you work on an open source project, contribute to one, or even just have a favorite open source tool, this is often a great place to choose a theme for a lesson.
- Stack Overflow - this is a trove of pain from which to develop useful examples. A quick search reveals questions and answers that would make excellent egghead lesson topics.
- Your own education - are you learning something cool right now? The best way to solidify what you learn is to teach!
You can make assumptions about what the viewers of your lesson will already know. We can jump ahead a bit, and not explain all of the fine details regarding setup. We can assume that a README will be provided that gets the user up and running quickly.
The obvious exception here is when the lesson is focused on the setup itself. In this case, the design of the example will highlight the process or tool that you are trying to teach.
Is this already covered on egghead.io?
Here's a secret...it doesn't matter if it is already covered on egghead.io. It is very likely that your perspective will be interesting and will serve to help somebody. "egghead sure has too many awesome videos on doing _. What's up with that?" <- this is not something we are too worried about hearing!
We want to cover concepts in layers. We will tuck our members in under cotton, wool and down and help them fully and completely understand complex concepts one bite-sized lesson at a time.
Don't worry if some egghead lesson exists or not. This is not a blocker. We don't mind content that covers the same topic or subject.
Boy, egghead.io sure has too many lessons on the fundamentals of React!
This was said by nobody, ever. We promise. We firmly believe that hard topics need the fundamentals covered by good examples. A lot of them. It helps people learn!
I'm just learning!
Since egghead instructors are constant learners, many times topics for egghead lessons come from what you are learning right now.
This is fantastic. It is impossible to regain the "true beginner" perspective. Once you've seen the answer, it can't be unseen. Taking what you are learning and turning it into lessons for others will save them time and provide immense value.
What you are learning is what you should be teaching. That's what we want to hear about. There are no bad topics.
There are no topics that are too simple.