Well, the Spring Semester is over and I have survived my first online art course, which was my first online class ever.
This experience proved to me that taking online courses is a possible practical solution to not being able to live near a school that has the education that one requires for their career or educational goals. This was my situation. I could not move to San Francisco and I had to have a MFA program to be able to advance my skills enough to pursue a career in art. Every art job that I have wanted requires a Master’s level degree, so it was get one or fail. And failing and giving in is not my style.
And yes, I did have my concerns about an online training situation. You have to be mature, self reliant, patient, and tenacious. You also need to plan to make a large block of time available just for doing your studies. Online school is tougher than traditional in class education. And since there is no face to face interaction between student and teacher, one has to learn patience in responding and reacting with your fellow online students and instructors. It’s hard to gage whether folks are just giving platitudes of nice comments just to get their required comments in for the class or they really like your work. I was lucky in that my instructor from this Spring semester seems to have a good read on what her students are going through. She took the time to send out some re-assuring messages during the rougher times of the semester. And to be honest, I have no idea how other students are able to take more than one online class. Perhaps I am just getting old, but I found the time needed to just read through the assignments, respond to the other student’s posts, make sure I was doing the right things for the assignment, and then getting them done to my satisfaction took up all of my free time. It seemed like I was busier with one class than my husband who was taking three traditional on campus classes – albeit they were undergrad classes, but still I was just as busy and sometimes more than he was.
So don’t mistake me by thinking that I am saying online art classes are too time intensive. What I am saying is be prepared and you really have to want this. Dedication is a key factor, and I think I have made a good decision by selecting the Academy of Art University. These people have gone out of their way to make me feel as comfortable and supported as possible. They are quick to respond to questions and concerns and will try and work with you on special situations, but most of all, I think they really want you as a student to excel at art. They want you to learn and improve.
My art skills are rusty. I was an art minor in college, and it was my work on my own that got me into the graduate school, so I have a long way to go. But I think these people are behind me, especially if this past Spring semester is a standard that I can count on. My classmates were interesting talented people that I really enjoyed getting to know. I still wish I could have been in a traditional classroom with them, but that day might be a reality someday if holosuite technology ever becomes a practical reality.
G. Winkler © 2012