Learn design online Khoi Vinh 07 May 2005

8 comments Latest by Joe

If you never took the idea of distance learning particularly seriously before, you may now have a little more reason to do so: John Maeda and the AIGA recently announced Digital Information Design Camp, an online program to help digital designers “work towards a common ground between the digital and traditional design sensibilities.” Applications are due by May 16, 2005.

The course runs from late June through July, and clearly means business; the organizers have recruited top shelf names like Lisa Strausfeld, Ellen Lupton and Golan Levin to serve as instructors, and they have set a price tag that will turn away dilettantes before the PDF application is even printed out (you’ll just need to forgive the minor irony that one doesn’t actually apply for this online course through an online form, at least not in the qualifying stage).

The curriculum, which principally covers typography, digital abstractions and diagrammatic language, offers a likely balance between the practical and conceptual. It looks like a hell of a lot of fun, but it looks to be a hell of a lot of work, too; there are three, consecutive intensive weeks in which students will develop a project, read chosen materials, be tested on principles and join in an online discussion of the subject matter. All the while keeping a day job, ostensibly.

Coursework aside, I suspect at least some potential enrollees will struggle with the undeniably attractive convenience of the online forum versus the remote dynamics of online learning. To pay such a prohibitive tuition fee and yet not have a chance to mingle in real space with the star-studded faculty and fellow classmates seems like shortchanging one of the main benefits of higher education: the opportunity to build meaningful professional relationships. On the other hand, that could just be my own shortchanging of distance learning’s great potential; I’d be a liar if I said no meaningful professional relationships were ever forged online.

8 comments (comments are closed)

J 08 May 05

Iím sorry but they must be on crack to ask for 2500 bucks. Higher ED is all about meeting with your prof. and getting real life feed back from other students. This barrier simply cannot be crossed on the web. For that I would think the price tag would be a lot lower. Letís face it; there are plenty of free communities, blogs, and information on the web to get by with. Frankly itís a little insulting. Just my 2 cents

JoeJoe 08 May 05

“Server Error
Either the Macromedia application server is unreachable or it does not have a mapping to process this request.”

I agree with J — I’ve never understood why online courses are always equivalently priced with “live” ones, since the infrastructure costs are different and the experience is lessened.

Joshua 08 May 05

Ultimately, distance learning students are paying for professional instruction, and the mechanism by which that instruction is delivered is less signifigant than the quality and scope of the instruction. In addition, as mentioned in the camp description, there are unique benefits to offering a design course over the internet. If I were prepared to take the course, I think the price tag would be quite reasonable.
Keep in mind also that many organizations offer professional development funding for their employees, and might be able to afford the cost.

Scott 08 May 05

I think it’s a great idea. I’d do it if I weren’t currently doing a course (online as well). I’ve written to them asking whether or not they plan on doing more in the future.

For me the main benefit of online training is the ability to keep doing the day job. Also the fact you don’t have to live where the course is held.

Darrel 09 May 05

The AIGA? Embracing interactive work? *gasp!*

Randy 09 May 05

AIGA is an antiquated organization without a clue about interaction design. They’re stuck in print, which is perfectly fine, but they just need to be honest about it.