Online learning is an exciting new field in education. It means that you can live where it is most convenient for you, while still being able to do the course that you have always wanted to do. There are many online graphic design courses available for those who are interested in the field. However, the question for those who want to become graphic is will they get the same standard of training as they would if they were on campus?
While this article looks at the pros and cons of an online graphic design course there is no right or wrong answer. There are many poor quality graphic design on-campus courses and so too with online courses. Whether you choose online or on-campus it is important to research the quality of the school and the standard of the qualification.
Pros of Campus Life
The great advantage of doing an on-campus course is the support you get from fellow students. The face-to-face interaction of the lecturers is also a bonus when on campus. If you do not understand something it means that you can turn to the person sitting next to you for advice or go up to the lecturer after class. Friendships are formed between like-minded people and often these friendships and connections made prove to be very useful in the industry later.
Cons of Campus Life
Firstly, it is substantially more expensive. An institution has to pay for classrooms, equipment, building repairs etc.; all of which add to the cost of fees. It also means having to relocate for many students, which is a further expense. Attending classes and completing an on-campus course does not give very much flexibility as far as time is concerned either. It could be problematic for students who still need to work or have travel or have other commitments during the course.
Pros of Online Courses
Flexibility in terms of location and time is, of course, the main perk. The other perk is that it is actually possible to enrol into a good quality graphic design course even if it is on the other side of the country. So, if you live in one city that offers a relatively good quality course, but another city eight hours away offers the best course in the country you can still get the benefit. Depending on personality types, not being in a classroom and interacting with other students can also be an advantage. Some students will always take a course less seriously than others. When this dynamic gets into a classroom it can upset the lessons and keep all the students back. In the online class you can learn at your own pace and not get caught up in class politics.
Cons of Online Courses
Isolation; this can be a major problem for people who need interaction to motivate and inspire them. Tight friendships and connections are not so easily made with online courses. Good courses may make a concerted effort to connect various students online and build a support system. However, the interactions will not be as close. This means that when you enter the field you are less likely to be as well connected as someone who studied on campus. Another problem is that there is no creative one-on-one mentoring process. Many students say online is ideal for learning software, but if you are looking to grow creatively as an artist it is better to have closer interaction.
In the end there is no final answer, it depends on personality types and personal preferences. Whether you do an online or on-campus course is unlikely to make or break your career if you’re good at what you do. The key is to find a good school and good course, and then go with the option that best suits your personality.