AIE Interview: Ready, study…GOnline!

The world is progressing into the digital realm. News can now be viewed online, invitations sent through Facebook, games played via Steam and study can be done from the comfort of one’s own home. Although online study has been around for a while now, it can still be an area where people aren’t sure about especially for those whom have just come from studying in a physical classroom. People who are wondering what it is like to study online, wonder no more.

Michelle is in her first year studying an Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media at AIE Online Campus. She is experiencing all the fears and joys a first year would have when first beginning her adventures online. If she isn’t studying hard and levelling up her skills, she is more than likely on the Facebook page ready to offer a friendly opinion. Michelle was kind enough to give the AIE team some of her time to answer some questions regarding her experiences thus far…

AIE Interview | Screen and Media | Michelle

Hey Michelle thanks for giving us your time to answer some questions, firstly how did you find out about AIE?

I did quite a bit of googling to find out who might provide online options for studying all things 3D, animation, games, visual effects etc. Once I found out provider names, I then went looking at the work that their students output- so what was available on YouTube or Facebook, as well as the way they treat their students and the way students talk about them. AIE were streets ahead. (With some other providers getting very negative feedback, I saw only very high standards and positive feedback coming from AIE).

Why did you choose to enrol for online study over attending an onsite campus?

Unfortunately, my circumstances/schedule and distance from the campus limit me being able to attend at the scheduled times for classes so it's fantastic that this is available to us!

Being online, where do you love to hang out e.g. AIE PORTAL, Facebook, YouTube, AIE Forums?

AIE Interview | Screen and Media | Facebook

I am an avid researcher, so I go wherever there is information and activity. Very often this is the AIE Facebook page and more recently the new AIE Forum (sections of which are now open to the public :)). It's so inspiring seeing what people are working on, and it's especially helpful reading the input and advice from other students or teachers. (Naturally most of this exploration leads me to either the portal or YouTube to find out how people achieved the results they are sharing.)

What aspects of online study do you enjoy?

Definitely the flexibility, but I think it's also a culture unto itself. There is always somebody working on something and available online at all hours of the day or night to interact or give feedback. It feels like a hive of activity and it's a great positive environment to be a part of.

Respectively are there any aspects which you miss about physical study?

I miss being able to work on something with team members face to face and be able to address roadblocks instantly, or enjoy the benefits of having a tutor able to look over ones shoulder and offer input while teams or individuals are working on things.

Though we have many other avenues for sharing work in a live setting (e.g. Prezi, google docs, skype screen sharing and the AIE portal), I do wonder how things might be different if students were able to collaborate in the same way we would in a professional working environment.

Also, because people do online study to fit in with various schedules, it can at times be harder to get everyone together to work on something at the same time.

No way, looks great! Must have had a pretty good teacher. How have they been?

I have been extremely fortunate to have Ryan Ware for my screen subjects (modelling, texturing etc.) so far! (Although this work doesn't even come close to doing him justice and he may even be mortified to be named in connection with it at all. ha ha! ).

Ryan has come to us from Weta Digital and has worked with them on some of the major film titles such as The Hobbit and Iron Man 3 etc, so you can imagine he is a great teacher and mentor to have.

He's very generous and informative but also very humble. I especially love that he has the leadership ability to set boundaries and crack the whip when needed. We need to carry ourselves as we would if we were working in the industry. Great working practices begin here!

Finally, do you have any advice for those out there thinking to study online?

Online study is great, especially if you need to maintain work, family, social balance but I would offer 3 bits of advice:

  1. You need a clear reason for doing this. You are effectively your own boss and so many other things will try and keep you busy. There is no-one looking over your shoulder to make you do it. Be prepared to pull your own weight.
  2. The second thing you need is a good attitude: be positive, be proactive, and be a team player.
    Online study can sometimes be harder because you can't see people's faces, you have to be flexible to fit in with other people’s schedules and even personalities. Having a positive, teachable attitude will take you far.
  3. Get connected!! It could be very easy for people to just attend classes and do their basics to pass without ever getting involved or forming good connections with their peers. You will learn so much more and have a greater experience overall, by interacting with other students via all avenues possible- the forums, AIE Facebook, in the student skype chat etc. Get involved! This is not really a very big industry and who you work with in your course just might be someone you will work with after you have finished. You know the saying - half the battle is who you know.