Dept of higher ed­u­ca­tion

Financial Mail - - DIAMONDS & DOGS - Kate Fer­reira

For­get the apho­rism “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach” — which we’ve surely all re­alised is rub­bish — and learn di­rectly from those who do, and do very well, with Mas­ter­class (www.mas­ter­class.com).

This ser­vice has been stalk­ing me on so­cial me­dia for a while

(you may have seen it in your Face­book feed too), with ad­verts en­treat­ing me to learn pho­tog­ra­phy with An­nie Lei­bovitz or writ­ing from Mal­colm Glad­well.

In ad­di­tion to these two draw­cards, the web­site con­tin­ues the name-drop­ping trend with some truly im­pres­sive tal­ent. If you browse its “cur­rent of­fer­ing” page, which lists all the avail­able classes, Mas­ter­class’s spe­cial­ist teach­ers in­clude Spike Lee, Gor­don Ram­say, Garry Kas­parov and Paul Krug­man. All prom­ise to share their knowl­edge and guide you in their par­tic­u­lar area of ex­per­tise.

Krug­man’s class in­cludes 22 les­sons on “eco­nom­ics and so­ci­ety”, in­clud­ing “the eco­nomic the­o­ries that drive his­tory, pol­icy, and help ex­plain the world around you”, de­liv­ered in video for­mat by the No­bel lau­re­ate him­self and ex­clu­sive to Mas­ter­class. A more phys­i­cal class ex­am­ple is Ser­ena Wil­liams’s ten­nis les­sons, which in­clude two hours of video in­struc­tion, a work­book on serv­ing, and the op­por­tu­nity to sub­mit a video of your­self for peer re­view — and, says the web­site, pos­si­ble feed­back from Wil­liams her­self.

For each class, you can sam­ple the con­tent or “meet your in­struc­tor” in a brief, high-qual­ity pre­view video.

The web­site and com­pan­ion app (avail­able free, with in-app pur­chases for IOS and An­droid) are easy to nav­i­gate and premium look­ing — built to match the premium pric­ing. Classes (each is a se­ries of les­sons) cost R1,500 each. “All ac­cess” an­nual mem­ber­ship is R3,000, which is a much bet­ter deal, as­sum­ing you’ll find value in “Doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ing” with Ken Burns, or “The art and soul of gui­tar” with Car­los San­tana when you’re done with your top choices.

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