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The Pros and Cons of Online Art Schools
Online art schools are a very recent phenomenon, and as such, not very many people have gone through the full experience of attaining an entire degree outside of a physical campus. The final judgment on this nontraditional classroom will come with time; for now, we can give you a summary of both the good and the bad. Keep in mind that the online art school system is still currently being refined, and as changes are made to accommodate its flaws, things will look different in a few years.
THE PROS OF ONLINE ART COLLEGES
Flexibility: perfect for the roll-out-of-bed-at-3-in-the-afternoon, play-til-ten, paint-til-sunrise type of artist. You'll still have to go through the requisite number of lectures and complete the homework assignments on time, but for the most part, you can schedule school around your life, not your life around school. This is particularly beneficial if you have children to take care of at home or have to juggle a full-time job.
Ease of access: Computers are literally everywhere now. You probably have your own laptop, cable, and router tucked conveniently away at home, so you can log on and attend class right in bed. If not, computer-equipped libraries and internet cafes are in almost every town.
No traveling: Whether it's taking the subway across town to arrive on campus or running down three flights in your dorm building, traveling can still be a pain. No longer.
"Somewhere in the world is the world's worst doctor. And someone has an appointment with him tomorrow." - George Carlin
If you are looking for degree photography classes, we have the list (many photography classes online are not accredited). We know the difference between good and bad, we when it comes to education, we'll help you find the good with interior design schools, fashion design classes, and the even more difficult challenge of determing quality when it comes to film classes. We know that too often, education does not prepare you for the real world, that you might take graphic design classes and never be taught how to prepare a document for print or FTP it to a printer. This will never happen at one of the New York graphic design schools. We know that good performing arts classes have to have great instructors, that in a down economy, there is a misconception that architecture schools are particularly hard hit, and that good game design schools are not as constrained by geography as other entertainment industry niches.
Interactions with other students: The truth is that many typical college courses, introductory ones in particular, are huge. In a class with 500 or 600 fellow students, how many of them are you getting to really know? At best, you'll chat with one or two sitting right next to you and never introduce yourself to the other 498. With online forums, that problem is solved and the level of student interaction goes through the roof.
Size of the class: We can't emphasize this enough. Have you ever walked in late to a gigantic lecture, been forced to sit in the very last row of the auditorium, and found yourself unable to hear a single word coming from the mouth of your shy, quiet teaching assistant? You'll never have to with online art colleges.
THE CONS OF ONLINE ART COLLEGES
No campus: It's undeniable that a living, breathing college campus community is a huge part of the experience. No matter how many new AIM buddies you make through your online art course, there's still no substitute for the life in a college dorm, the food in a college dining hall (don't mourn this particular loss), the smell of a college library, or the unique atmosphere of a college main green.
No in-person interaction: Sometimes you just want to see the student or professor you're talking to. How else can you really gauge whether their "lol" translates into a genuine smile, or if their critique of your piece is as harsh as it seems over email?
Self-discipline: The freedom offered by an online art college can be a double-edged blade. Though most courses require a minimum of log-ins and lectures watched, it's easy to procrastinate when you don't have a scheduled hour and meeting place. An great amount of self-discipline is required to successfully navigate an online class.
Technology needed: This is an issue that isn't equally shared among all students, but for some, it can be problematic. Depending on where you live and the level of technology accessible to you, going online to send an email or watch a lecture can be a difficult chore.
Feedback: While emails are quick and convenient, there is a time lag between the moment you press send and the eventual response. Sometimes, the wait can drag out until you're unsure of whether the message was ignored, or the professor was busy, or it simply got lost in the depths of cyberspace. In a physical classroom, you can hunt the professor down and get instantaneous answers to your questions.
As you can see, the pros and cons of attending an online art college just about balance each other out. And don't forget that not all of the points made here are necessarily true for every single online course. These are good starting points to keep in mind as you consider the option of online art colleges, but ultimately, you will have to examine the specific ins and outs to determine if the pros outweigh the cons, or vice versa. Begin your search right on this site!