Online Learning Options

Academy of Art University has the expertise to provide our students with accredited art and design degrees in three ways: traditional online courses (asynchronous learning), virtual onsite courses (synchronous learning), and on-campus in San Francisco.

As an early pioneer in online learning, our online programs are designed to provide the same quality of education as what we offer on-campus students, but with greater flexibility. No matter what type of learning works best for you, that we have the right courses for you.

The difference between traditional online and virtual onsite courses

For those who are new to online learning, it’s important to know that there are two main approaches to learning online—traditional online and virtual onsite courses. Depending on what kind of learner you are, the differences between these two approaches can have an impact on your success. Once you have a clear sense of what differentiates these two approaches, you’ll be better prepared to choose between the two, and pick an online approach that fits you best.

Traditional Online Course

Traditional online course (asynchronous learning) is done virtually, through online channels without real-time interaction with your instructors and classmates. Asynchronous learning is all about flexibility; You can do your course work whenever you choose, depending on your schedule.

Ideal for:

  • The students who are juggling work and family commitments, and don’t always have time to log in at a certain hour. Students set their own schedules and can pace their learning.
  • Those who do not like being rushed, or put on the spot. The thoughtful, introverted student can really take time to think about a response.

At Academy of Art University, asynchronous courses are a mix of video lecture content, written content, recorded audio, interactive slideshows, virtual libraries, exchanges across discussion boards or social media platforms, and hands-on work. Asynchronous students still get 1 on 1 feedback from their instructors and classmates. Students can record video and audio to accompany photos or written descriptions of artwork submitted for evaluation. Instructors then provide detailed feedback by providing commentary in written, visual, and audio formats as well. Also, each course offers a class discussion area where students and instructors can freely exchange thoughts, post-work, and provide or receive creative feedback. This gives you and your peers a sense of community.

Learn More About Online Education

Virtual Onsite Course

Virtual onsite course (synchronous learning) happens in real-time but from a distance. You attend class at a specific time, which allows you, your classmates, and your instructor to interact in a specific virtual place, through a specific online medium such as Zoom. In most cases, you can see the instructor, and your instructor can see you.

Zoom is ideal for:

  • The students who feel more comfortable speaking in class, and who value a live classroom environment.
  • Those who like to have a level of social intimacy and develop a real personal relationship with the faculty and other students.

Next steps:

Now you understand the two different ways of learning online and you might be curious to know what it actually looks like to be an online art and design student. If that’s the case, sign up for our online open house or online education webinar that gives you a preview of our learning platform. At these online events, you will learn how each online curriculum is designed, how you get feedback from your instructors for hands-on projects, and tips to be successful as an online student.

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