ACAD explores online learning in art + design with eCampus Alberta


ACAD and eCampusAlberta teamed up to explore online learning in art and design

As the only dedicated art, craft and design college, between Vancouver and Toronto, thousands of students have pursued their dreams as designers, makers, entrepreneurs and artists in the world-class facilities and studio spaces at ACAD, the Alberta College of Art + Design. This year, ACAD launched its first graduate program, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Craft Media. Now, ACAD and eCampusAlberta are working together to explore the integration of online learning into this respected creative post-secondary environment.
“ACAD is a studio-based learning experience, yet it’s critical to explore how that might be supported by an online presence,” said Marc Scholes, Associate VP Instructional Affairs, ACAD. “As a member of the consortium, eCampusAlberta is providing ACAD with advice, guidance and a framework for moving forward.” 
ACAD’s popular YouTube Channel, ACADonline, is already home to a range of fascinating videos filmed in ACAD studios, providing an introductory glimpse into courses, techniques and program areas such as glassblowing, figure painting, intaglio printing, tonal drawing and silk screen printing.
“To help us recognize and document our world-class faculty, we're pleased to share faculty documentaries,” said Scholes, pointing to a piece on Don Kottmann, an internationally-renowned painter known for his use of light, colour, line, relationships and energy. In fact, ACAD boasts more Governor General-award-winning faculty than any other post-secondary institution in Canada.
Scholes said that a survey of ACAD students revealed that many would appreciate additional online options. “Students are under financial pressures, and they’re looking for accessibility, flexibility, and ways to support the learning process, such as being able to go back and look at a video of a technique they were taught in class,” said Scholes.  
ACAD is responding with innovative resources like the YouTube channel, and has previously conducted pilot projects such as one that enabled leading designers in New York to participate in live online critiques of Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) student work.
“Online learning may not be a first thought when it comes to studio-based art and design programs, but there are so many interesting opportunities,” said Tricia Donovan, Executive Director, eCampusAlberta. “ACAD is an important member of Alberta’s post-secondary system, known for its ingenuity and unique perspective. We are delighted to work together as they migrate toward offering more online options for Alberta’s aspiring artists and designers.”