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Frequently Asked Questions


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How do you teach art online?

Good question! You can view sample classes, demos, and a full multimedia presentation about the Academy's unparalleled online program in the Innovative Learning section.

Can I complete an entire degree and/or certificate online?

The Academy of Art University offers degrees, online awards of completion, and individual classes online for aspiring artists and designers. Ours is a content-rich, highly focused curriculum that utilizes a multimedia approach to foster communication, learning, and skill acquisition.

In addition to the online classes currently being offered, new degrees, online awards of completion, and classes are added on a continuing basis, so please check this website each semester. For specific information about current course offerings, degrees, and awards of completion, visit the following pages:

Will I have any contact with my classmates?

Limited class size, integrated use of the Internet, and conferencing software enable online instructors to create a seminar-style "classroom" environment in which students interact with each other as much as they do with their professor. Since the online discussions are asynchronous (simultaneous participation is not necessary), you can ask questions as they arise and contribute to discussions at any time.

Can I contact an instructor if I need help?

You can contact an instructor through the online discussion, class email, or by phone.

Can I get academic or language help in my online classes?

Academic Support

Our Online Academic Support team provides individualized academic help. We focus on online learning strategies, including ways to...

  • Effectively manage your time in a flexible class environment
  • Communicate with your instructors and fellow classmates
  • Successfully participate in discussion

To request academic support, click on the Online Academic Support link on the right side of your student homepage or visit the Academy Resource Center.

Writing Support

Students can use the Online Writing Lab (OWL) to get feedback on their writing via email. The OWL is available for all students enrolled in classes at the Academy of Art University. Students in the Bay Area can also use the on-campus Writing Lab, where they can work in-person with a Writing Tutor to get tips on how to improve their writing.

English Language Support

English language support is available to all online students. Some online courses have English instructors in the class to answer questions and help clarify difficult concepts. Students who do not have an English instructor in their class can request help by clicking on the English as a Second Language link on the right side of their homepage. Study groups are also held on campus for local students taking online classes. For more information about these services, go to the Academy Resource Center.

What are the components of online classes, and how do I participate?

Just like a physical campus, your online class has students, instructors, advisors, and staff. The only difference is that students interact using web-based discussion, email, phone, and fax. Instead of raising your hand, you ask a question in an online discussion. You never have to worry about getting to class on time because the content is available to you whenever you need it. Discussions, lectures, and assignments can all be reviewed online whenever and wherever it is convenient for you, provided you are completing material and assignments within the allocated time frame for each module, or lesson. You will be given clear participation requirements in your course content. The level of instruction and interaction between students from around the world is exceptional.

Online Discussions

You can either post to the online discussion or email your instructor through your web browser. Conferencing for online classes is entirely web-based. A web-based conferencing system is the most effective interactive device for distance learning today. You can post text, graphics, HTML and Internet links to a class discussion. All you need is a current web browser to access and interact in your class discussions.

What class materials will I need, and where will I purchase them?

For many classes you will be required to purchase books or other materials. Please be sure to order your textbooks as soon as possible so you'll have them in time for your first day of class! Instructions are provided on each class description web page about what books or materials you will need to order, if any, and how to order them. The class description web pages can be accessed from the Online Course Schedule. Please be sure to buy your books in advance through the AAU Virtual Bookstore.

If you need to order software please give yourself at least two weeks to do so. You will need confirmation of registration in certain classes in order to obtain discounted educational versions. To find out if an educational version is available, go to JourneyEd.com.

Please contact us at online@academyart.edu if you have textbook or software questions.

What are the prerequisites? How do I know if I qualify?

Prerequisites are the same as those stated in the general Academy of Art University catalog and class bulletins. This information for online programs is also provided in the Online Course Schedule.

Should I have a Mac or a PC computer?

While the majority of online classes can be completed on either a Macintosh or PC, the individual online class description pages in the course catalogue will identify particular online classes requiring software that is only available for either a Macintosh or PC computer. It is recommended that online students refer to these online class description pages for the degree that they are pursuing prior to purchasing a new computer.