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The world of technology has changed everything, including how we access education. Nowadays, it’s possible to get a degree online for just about every subject, including art. While the degree that online and in-person students receive is the same, how the coursework is delivered is different. The same can be said for how students turn in their assignments. Here’s a look at how online art degrees work, including how students turn in their work.

How are Online Classes Delivered?

When art students sign up for online classes or degrees, the school will send them a list of tech requirements. These technologies allow them to access their online classrooms and submit their work to the professors. According to My College Guide, online students will log on to their online classrooms to access their assignments. Sometimes, these classrooms are constructed in Blackboard, an online interface that most college students are familiar with. However, other online classroom platforms exist. Some teachers will use Moodle. Others will even teach class in a virtual reality setting, like Second Life.

Instructors deliver the lessons via video and audio clips. They also assign textbook readings. Students can additionally interact with their instructors and other students via technologies, like Skype or Google Hangouts, their class’s social media pages, email, blogs and discussion boards. These online platforms are constructed so that students can upload their homework using digital files, including JPGs, PDFs and MP4s. These files can be of their artwork or the student working on artwork.

Finally, online degree programs utilize both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Synchronous instruction is when students meet up with their teachers in real-time: For online classes, this happens via Skype, Google Hangouts or some other type of online meeting platform. Asynchronous instructional methods include class content that is delivered via video or audio and textbooks. Students can access this type of classroom content at their convenience.

How Do I Share my Work?

Students studying art online will use their tablets, computers and mobile phones to access the content. They’ll also use these devices to interact with other students and to turn in their work. In terms of turning in their homework specifically, students will share screenshots or screen captures of their work or work processes, video and audio files and still photos. The students upload the files in standard formats, like JPG or PDF.

Instructors have a couple of choices when they need to see how a student is working on a project. For example, maybe the student needs to learn the proper way to hold a pencil when drawing. In this case, the instructor may ask students to film themselves as they work, so that the students’ work can be shared with the teacher or other students for feedback. The student can photograph him or herself with a video camera. Once that’s complete, then the student can upload the resulting digital video file to the class’s online classroom.

This works for instructors as well. Teachers can film themselves demonstrating an art technique and upload the video for students to watch. They can also make screen captures of their work processes when they’re working on digital media tools, like Adobe Photoshop. The resulting video files can then be uploaded to the online classroom.

Pros and Cons of Online Study

While online education has plenty to offer its students, like convenient hours and no commute times, it can have its drawbacks, too, according to the Seattle PI. Technology is both an advantage and a disadvantage in the online degree world. On the one hand, the advances in technology make online study possible. For students who can’t afford to stop working, online degree programs make it possible for them to earn a degree, even a degree in art. There is no need for them to quit working.

The asynchronous nature of online study means that art students can access their studies anywhere, anytime. This allows them to schedule their studies around their work and life schedules. Additionally, online degrees can sometimes save them money. Schools that charge different fees for out-of-state students will sometimes charge online students the same tuition rate as residents get.

However, for all of the advantages that an online art degree can provide, there are some disadvantages, too. People who aren’t tech-savvy sometimes find that the online learning platform takes some getting used to. They may have to learn how to operate a video or still camera to photograph their work. This can take time, money and patience. There is, too, the issue with technology glitches, which do happen from time to time. Students can get computer viruses, face Internet outages or have to buy expensive digital art programs, like the Adobe Suite.

It’s also the case that a student may have to wait for help when tech issues do arise. This is particularly true if the student is accessing the school’s website after school hours. Finally, there is the amount of work and discipline required to take an online course. Many online degrees require 15 or 20 hours a week of work time. They also require discipline, a kind of discipline that many on-campus degrees don’t. Students must have the ability to motivate themselves, without the help of a teacher.

Related Resource: What Can I Do With An Art History Degree?

Online technologies have opened up the education world. Nowadays, students from all over the world are logging on and getting degrees in subjects as diverse as engineering and art. These new technologies allow students to access their instructional materials. They also allow students to turn in their work. Typically, the students just need to make digital copies of their work before turning it in online via classroom sites, like Blackboard or Moodle.