Q. What is Big Picture Classes?
A. Big Picture Classes, BPC for short, is inspiration and motivation for memory keeping. We believe life should be savored, celebrated and documented and that you can take and use photos in fun, easy and meaningful ways. We host expert instructors who love what they teach and our online community is super supportive, genuine and encouraging. Curious? Jump in! The water is warm and we're eager to help. See our current line-up of classes here

Q. How is BPC different from other online education websites?  
A. Great question. BPC is worldwide community of active and creative learners. We have over 90,000 registered students that login from over 50 different countries — that's cool! We feature instructors with unique styles, ideas and skill sets and quite often we bring these teachers together inside a collaborative classroom. We offer a wide range of classes and eBooks. Some of these classes are self-paced, which means you can buy them, gain instant access to the content and work at your own speed. Some classes are weeks long and focus on a specific topic, like phone photography; other classes are all about completing a project, like a vacation mini-album. The diversity of our community, the variety and expertise of our instructors and the range of our classes sets us apart. We're pretty proud of the fact that our classrooms are fully integrated too (this means it is easy to navigate your way around and you only have to login once!) After all of that, the thing that makes us truly different is our "big picture" philosophy. We are as interested in your development as an artist, as we are in the development of you art. 

Q: How is Big Picture Classes different from hands-on classes that I could take locally? 
A: When you take a class locally, you have to show up on specific day and at a specific time and you generally make some kind of page or project, with materials provided. When you take classes at BPC, you get to login to the classroom when it is convenient for you, and you can use materials you have on hand. Ultimately this means you're learning when you're ready to learn and you're making something that is a true reflection of you. We teach both projects and process which will help you build a solid foundation for creative exploration in the future. 

Q. So, how does a BPC class work? 
A. Once you buy a BPC class, you'll receive an email confirming your purchase. The next time you log into your account, you'll see this new class listed on your "My Classes" page. You can visit the classroom, by clicking on the "enter classroom" button. Inside the classroom, you'll see a menu or navigation bar at the top that will help you locate content in the form of notes, handouts, downloads and videos. You'll also see buttons that take you to a message board and/or gallery, where you can interact with your instructor and fellow students. 

We have a variety of class formats at BPC. Some classes have weekly lessons that are refreshed every Thursday for several weeks. Some classes provide daily does of inspiration or instruction for a month or more. Some classes are taught by one teacher and others glean from a whole team of experts. The good news is you will have forever access to any and all classes you purchase at BPC—this means that regardless of the format and delivery, all of the content and interaction that is shared will be archived and can be accessed on your "My Classes" page in the "completed" classes section. 

We encourage you to poke around and explore—push buttons and see what happens!  If you have a question about the class itself, post it to the "Ask Teacher" forum. If you experience a technical glitch, please contact us at admin@bigpictureclasses.com so that Allison or Michelle can help you.  

Q. Do I have to be on my computer at a specific time each day?  

A. No you don't. You can read, watch and download at any time of day or night and you can post questions for your instructor, which she or he will generally respond to within 24 hours (or less!) Some classes do feature a live video chat with an instructor. These chats are scheduled for a specific day and time. Look for the "CHAT" button on the menu bar for a list of scheduled chats. And, no worries if you miss a chat. Videos and conversation are archived and posted to the classroom within a week. 

Q. If I miss a day or week of class, can I catch up? 
A. Yes of course! Most of the content in our workshops is organized into daily or weekly lessons, so it's easy to know what you've missed and what to work on next. The convenience of online classrooms means that all of the students will be engaging and creating at different times, so you will never be alone in your lack of time or availability. Our teachers are eager to help you, regardless of where you are in the curriculum or the creative process. We don't do guilt here, so you're always welcome to be human and fall behind. 

Q. Do I have access to a class, even after it ends?
A. We archive all of the classes you register for in your account, on your "My Classes" page. All of the content (videos, handouts, download, etc. ) will be available to you for as long as you maintain an account at Big Picture Classes. Starting in February of 2015, our current system will be replaced by an entirely new platform. Please read the full announcement here, along with details about how to download your class content. 

Q: I'm having technical difficulties with the classroom, where do I go for help?
A: Please start off by viewing our technical support page. We have provided easy solutions to the most common problems students encounter. You can also email admin@bigpictureclasses.com for personal attention!

Q. If I am new to your site, what class should I start with? 
A. This is entirely up to you, but we did anticipate this question, so we asked our founder, Stacy Julian to provide a FREE class, called "Start Here with Stacy." We encourage you to put this class in your shopping cart sometime soon. Stacy will answer all of your questions about memory keeping and the purpose of life. Ok, not really, but she will orient you to online education at BPC, serve you up a generous helping of our philosophy and get you excited about being an active participant in our global community! 

Q. What if I've never made a scrapbook before?
A. There's no time like the present. Lucky for you, memory keeping has evolved to include digital and mobile photography, the instant sharing available through social media and all kinds of scrapbooks that comes in sizes big and small. At BPC, we say, "It all counts" but we promise not to overwhelm you with 37 different options. We will help you discover the approach that is right for you and we will encourage you to let go of any guilt for memory keeping you haven't done. Guilt is never productive. BPC is a fantastic place to learn, gain confidence and grow as a creative person. You won't find a more supportive community anywhere online!   

Q. How much do classes and eBooks cost? 
A. The price of eBooks typically range from $5 to $15. The price of classes also varies. Self-paced workshops typically range from $10 to $25. Instructor led workshops are generally priced between $25 to $99 depending on the amount and type of content, the length of the class and the expertise of the instructor.  We offer several FREE eBooks and classes designed to give you a taste of eLearning at BPC. 

Q. I registered for a workshop, but did not get around to watching the videos or downloading the files, what now?
A. We are in the process of launching a brand-new website in February of 2015. All classes purchased before October 2014 will available for you to access and download through January 31, 2015. Simply login to your account, and click "My Classes" to access all of your current and past classes! Read the announcement here.

Q: What materials are available in your classes?
A: We try our best to explain the content of each class in the class description. Typically, one week of class includes a welcome note from your instructor, video instruction and at least one PDF handout, with detailed instruction. Classes may also feature slide presentations, downloadable templates or worksheets and digital elements and/or printables. To facilitate the connection and interaction that is so vital at BPC, you'll also find private message boards, galleries, and a chat room. Longer classes and classes that teach skill-based processes may also include a syllabus, that is linked to the class description. Please be sure to read through all of the information on the registration page, so that you know what to expect. Many classes include pre-class information and assignments, so it's a good idea to log into your classroom as soon as you register, even if scheduled instruction won't begin for several weeks. Naturally, if a class does not meet your expectations, we want to hear about it. You can emails us at admin@bigpictureclasses.com 

Q: Is there a specific time during which each class/workshop is available? 
A: Yes and No. Self-paced classes are available for immediate access. Instructor-led workshops have a start and end date, in which the instructor will be available to interact and answer questions — these dates are posted in the class description. Once you are a registered participant, you will be able to access the virtual classroom any time during those dates. As of October 2014, we are in the process of migrating to a new education platform. The most popular and recent classes will be archived on the new website. Older classes may be accessed and downloaded through January 31, 2015. (Details here.)

Q: I live outside the United States, can I take classes at bigpictureclasses.com? 
A: Of course you can! That's the beauty of the Internet. We are so excited that we can share and learn together, across this BIG world of ours. If you live outside the United States, you may experience some frustration obtaining recommended supplies as we cannot guarantee international availability of items listed on our supply lists. Please remember that we encourage and celebrate personal adaptation and substitutions!

Q: Is there a limit to how many people can take a class? 
A: Most of the time, there will NOT be a limit to the number of people that can sign up for a class or workshop. Occasionally, an instructor may choose to limit class/workshop size so that she can interact in a more intimate way. In these instances, the limit will be posted with the class description.

Q: If I miss a chat with my instructor, will transcripts be available?
A: Yes. Transcripts from the instructor chat will be archived under the "Chat" button in your classroom, typically within a week of the chat. 

Q: Will there be transcripts of the audio and video files available? 
A: Yes. Maybe you have a slower internet connection, a hearing impairment, or simply a desire to review what the instructor said—we've got you covered!

Q: Will classes feature step-by-step instructions? 
A: Where it makes sense, our classes feature PDF handouts and step-by-step instructions or at least detailed how-to information. You can always count on clear video instruction or multiple stepped-out images of the final project. We work hard to make instructions clear & simple so that you'll be guaranteed phenomenal results. Please share your feedback, so we know how we're doing!

Q: What if I miss a whole week of my workshop? How can I get the materials? 
A: All of the materials are archived within the classroom, which means you can go back to previous lessons and assignments. Simply log in to your account, and click "My Classes" to access all of your current and past classes. We are migrating to an entirely new education platform in February 2015, so please read our official announcement to see how this will affect the classes you have purchased as well as future classes. 

Q: I have dial-up internet access; will I still be able to take BPC classes? How will my slow connection speed affect my experience? 
A: Our classrooms are designed with simplicity and load-time in mind so that everyone can participate. We include transcripts of video and audio files as well as live chats, in case load-time is cumbersome with your connection speed. Downloads are saved at a manageable file size. Our goal is for students to view the classroom pages quickly & easily.

Q: Can I share a class or workshop with my friend? 
A: We believe in sharing, really we do. But the answer is no if you want us to stay in business. When you register for any class or workshop, you will be asked to read and agree to our terms. We trust you will be good to your word, so that we can continue to grow and bring you top-notch education! Think of entering our virtual classroom as you would entering a classroom at a local store or college. You wouldn't be able to bring a non-registered friend with you. 

Q: Can I see a picture of the page or project we will be creating before I register?
A: The short answer is sometimes. Here's the longer answer: Your expectations are important to us and we are very keen on promoting the ideas and projects shared in our classes. We will often post a photo of the project being taught, or at least a "sneak peek." Much of the time our instruction goes far beyond the making of a project, so we reserve the right to emphasize the process over the project.

Once you have access to a classroom, you will see the page or project designed by your instructor. Part of what makes Big Picture education unique is that regardless of what the page or project is, you will be inspired to customize it to your needs, your style and your life! 

A Note about supplies: We do our very best to provide a generic list and links to supplies that are required to complete project or class process. We always encourage you to gather whatever supplies you can from your own stash—we'd love to help you use up what you already have; or you may choose to purchase them from a retailer. In some cases, we will provide a kit of products as a matter of convenience to you.

Q: I'd love to learn about new products and cutting-edge techniques. Can I do that at Big Picture Classes? 
A: We love new products and techniques too, but to be honest, we are more excited about providing instruction around trusted and foundational principles. We'll let Pinterest and amazing, talented bloggers inspire you with thousands of new products and ideas and we'll stay focused on principles and practices in photography, design, storytelling, organization and creative process that will help sustain your passion long-term. We want you to be making memories and documenting life for years to come! 

Q: Will I get feedback from my instructor or other students on my work? 
A: When you register for an instructor-led workshop, you can expect that instructor to be present on the message board and inside the gallery. We recommend posting specific questions to the "Ask Teacher" forum included on all message boards in interactive classrooms, as our instructors will prioritize time on these forums. Many of our students choose to actively participate on the class forums and in the galleries, while others prefer to quietly lurk and learn. You can always contact your teacher and other students privately via email. The communities that grow inside our classrooms are a major bonus of eLearning at Big Picture Classes.

Q: Is there a message board where I can interact with other members of my class? 
A: Yes! All of our workshop classrooms feature private message board forums, organized to make finding information easy. We also host a public Big Picture Classes message board for our members where you can freely interact outside of our classrooms. This general board allows you to share and read class reviews and student recommendations.

Q: Do you offer PayPal as a payment option? 
A: We do! In general we love to take your money (in return for high-quality eLearning!) We provide two different payment options. You can either checkout directly from our site using a credit or debit card and our secure payment terminal, or you can use PayPal. Our shopping cart is safe, secure and easy to use. 

Q: Will I be able to see my instructor, or just hear her?
A: Most of our classes include some kind of video instruction, but there are a few exceptions, where only an audio file is available. Either way, transcripts are provided, so that you can read and not just listen to what your teacher is saying. Be sure to check the class description to better understand the particulars of a class that interests you. 

When you're dealing with technology its a good idea to anticipate some difficulty and frustration, but we will help you. Start by reading through common technical difficulties and solutions here. If you don't find an answer, please email admin@bigpictureclasses.com and we'll connect you to Michelle, our guru for all things tech!

Q: What do I need to have installed to view your classes?
A: We design our classrooms and content to be universally compatible, however we encourage you to use Chrome, Safari or Firefox as your internet browser. You will also need the latest version of Adobe Acrobat installed to view our PDF handouts, and in some classes you will need a Flash Player. We recommend installing Windows Media or QuickTime to view videos. 

Q. I am having trouble logging in, now what?  
A: Typically, if you can't login, there is a problem with your username or password. Usernames and passwords are case-sensitive. You can always click "forgot password", type your email address and press "submit", so that our system will generate a temporary password and send it to you. If this email doesn't hit your inbox immediately, check your junk mail folder. When you receive your temporary password, copy and paste it into the password box and then once you're in, click on "my information" to change your password from the system-generated one to something you can easily remember. Still having issues? Email us 

Q: What sort of payments do you accept?  
A: We accept Visa, Master Card, Discover, American Express and PayPal. We also accept personal checks (eChecks) via PayPal, however e-checks do not register you immediately as other forms of payment. It may take a few days for classes to appear in your account, when you pay with an eCheck. Our system is extremely secure. Credit Cards are processed through Authorize.net which is one of the most used and most secure processing services available. If you are an International customer and our system is not processing your payment (this is typically a problem with your billing address) we recommend using the PayPal option. You do not need a PayPal account to use PayPal. Just click the PayPal payment option in the checkout process. After you confirm your order, the system will send you to PayPal. Click the link under "Don't have a PayPal account?" to pay with a Credit Card.

Q. Why scrapbook? 

A. Why not? Everyone has memories and most of us have thousands of pictures. Scrapbooking is a fun, creative way to celebrate and share both everyday moments and milestone events. Even better, any type of memory keeping provides a path to self-awareness and discovery that lifts the spirit and reminds us that life is full of positive moments, big and small. If you're still not convinced, sign up for our FREE, "Start Here with Stacy" class. If anyone can convince you to dive in, it's Stacy! 

Q. Can anyone scrapbook or do you need to have a craft or art background?
A. Anyone can scrapbook and everyone is welcome here. Scrapbooking is a modern form of storytelling and people have been telling stories, since there were people. EVERYONE has a story to tell, memories of people and places and things they love — special moments they want to remember. ANYONE can scrapbook. We can help!

Q. What are the personal rewards of creating a scrapbook? 
A. Personal rewards are as diverse as the people who seek them. It's different for each individual but Big Picture Classes offers expert instruction and a unique approach to scrapbooking that unlocks a person's true creativity and helps them to easily tell stories around life's meaningful moments.

Q. What if I've never created a scrapbook before? Are there classes for beginners? 
A. Absolutely! Big Picture Classes offers classes for beginners as well as seasoned experts. Because we specialize in teaching fundamentals and because we encourage personal adaptations, the vast majority of our classes are ideal for anyone. Our class descriptions will communicate the objective of each class and indicate whether a particular skill level is required.

Q. What supplies do I need to scrapbook?
A. Not as many as you may think! Each BPC class description features links to recommended (mostly generic) supplies. If class projects require specialty items we will help you find and purchase them.