Full Microsoft Office 365 Now Available to All Students

written by Georgia Schumacher 17 June 2015

Microsoft Office 365

As of June 15, 2015, Office 365 is now available at no cost to every enrolled, full- or part-time student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division!

Office 365 provides you with a more robust and easily accessible suite of productivity offerings, ensuring that—as long as you’re a student—you’ll have online and offline access to the latest version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook online and more.

With Office 365, you will be able to:

  • Install Office 365 software on up to 5 total compatible PCs, Macs and mobile devices
  • Access cloud-based versions of Office applications online
  • Use OneDrive for automatic syncing across all of your devices
  • Easily store class work and project documents– and recall them on any device

Get Office 365 today by clicking on the link on the right hand side of the student portal to access the download.

As of 6/15, student email service has also changed from Google to Microsoft. Most student email addresses have not changed, nor has the way you access your email. When you click on the email link on the portal, you will now see a screen allowing you to choose either Google or Microsoft. Select Microsoft if you want to send or receive e-mail. Select Google if you want to access your old Google data.

Google data is only available for a short time. Access to your Google emails and documents will no longer be available after July 10, 2015. For information on how to save emails and documents from your Google account, see this “How To Export Data From Gmail” guide.

Want more information?

See our FAQ document or contact Technical Support at 877-872-8869 or studentsupport@aii.edu.

Interior Design Tips for a Kid-Friendly, Practical Home

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 June 2015

Kid's room

If you think it’s impossible to raise your kids in a stylish living space, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. You can certainly enjoy the best of both worlds by incorporating some savvy design tips into your home décor. Sure, you’ll need to take a different approach than you did in your pre-kids days, but it’s actually much easier to create a tasteful, family-friendly space than you might imagine.

1. Choose Forgiving Fabrics

Spills are inevitable with kids, so minimize their impact by choosing fabrics in darker shades or in a pattern. For added protection, you can also have your upholstery stain treated. Also, vinyl and leather are great choices because they’re wipeable and cotton can easily be washed.

2. Create Designated Play Areas

Designate certain areas of common rooms for your kids to play, as they’re much less likely to be destructive if they have a space of their own. For example, section off a part of your family room to use as a play area and purchase a child-sized table for the kitchen, where your kids can draw while you cook.

3. Purchase High-Quality Furnishings

It may seem smart to buy cheap furniture if you think your kids are going to destroy it, but that’s actually a very bad idea. High-quality, durable furnishings are a great investment because they’re built to last. You can keep them for years to come and your kids won’t get hurt if flimsy pieces fall apart.

4. Keep Accessories Out of Reach

Having kids doesn’t mean you have to hide your favorite breakables, you just need to put them up high. Keep these pieces out of young children’s hands by putting them at least 45 inches off the ground.

5. Get Rid of Carpet

Make it easy to clean up spills, muddy footprints and other messes by choosing hardwood, laminate or tile flooring. Cover up cold, hard floors with washable area rugs that are comfortable for toddlers to crawl on.

6. Use Outdoor Rugs Inside

Don’t limit yourself to indoor area rugs, as those designed for outdoor spaces can be just as stylish, but more durable and easier to clean. When your kids make a mess, you can just take these floor covering outside, hose them off and let them air dry.

7. Frame Drawings as Artwork

Your kids’ artwork is adorable and deserves to be displayed! Make it look like something out of a museum by putting pieces in a nice frame before hanging them up.

8. Use Wipeable Paint for Walls

Décor wise, there are few things more panic-inducing than walking into a room and realizing that your child has drawn on the walls with markers. Give yourself one less thing to worry about by decking the walls with wipeable paint, so if your little Picasso gets a little too creative, the evidence can be easily removed.

Interested in Interior Design? Excited by the prospect of designing functional, chic spaces? See what programs are available and what you could learn as a student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division!

7 Ways to Better Market Your Restaurant

written by Georgia Schumacher 29 May 2015


Your restaurant is a gem. It has amazing food, a great ambiance, and outstanding service. You know you have something special going on, so it’s baffling that you’re not constantly packed.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to step up your marketing approach to get your restaurant on the radar of every foodie in your area. Even if you have plans to open a restaurant, but you’re first planning to work your way through a program in the Culinary Management, this post is filled with tips you don’t want to miss!

1. Throw a Party

Create a buzz by throwing a party to debut new menu items or re-introduce old favorites. Invite patrons on your mailing list and encourage them to bring a friend. You could also take a different approach by hosting a charity function, serving double duty by promoting a good cause and generating publicity for your restaurant.

2. Don’t Slack on Your Website

Many people like to check a restaurant out online before visiting, so if your website is barely functional or completely non-existent, you’re definitely hurting yourself. Invest in a robust site that includes your current menu, pictures of food and the ambiance, location information, an about page, information on making reservations, and anything else that may interest your customers.

3. Get on Social Media

Having a great website is essential, but you also need to be active on social media. If you have the resources to manage them, then create Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for your restaurant to get your name out there. Use these social platforms on a daily basis to interact with customers, share pictures of your food, and offer updates on new menu items.

4. Try a Daily Deal Site

Expand your customer base by putting a deal on a site like Groupon, LivingSocial or Travelzoo. These platforms offer a great deal of freedom to create an offer on your own terms, allowing you to set constraints on things like dollar value, when it can be used, and which menu items are eligible. For example, if your restaurant is always busy at dinner, but slow during lunchtime, you can make the deal for lunch only.

5. Create a Loyalty Program

Encourage people to become repeat customers by creating a loyalty program where they receive discounts or free items after a certain amount of visits. Apps like Belly, Perka, and Loyal Blocks make it easy to partner up.

6. Craft a Detailed Yelp Profile

Many people rely heavily on user review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor to make their restaurant decisions. People are going to leave reviews for your business whether you like it or not, so make your page look great by completing your profile with as much information as allowed. Add photos, operating hours, location, price range, menu, and other details that can help you appear in as many search results as possible.

7. Connect with Food Bloggers

Generate publicity for your restaurant by inviting local food bloggers in for a meal. Many of these bloggers have thousands of readers and social media followers, so a great review can really get your name out there.

Want to know more about Culinary Management? Explore the programs offered in this area by The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division!

12 Tips for Travel Photography

written by Georgia Schumacher 21 May 2015

travel photography

Summer is almost here, and it’s time to enjoy sunshine, warm weather and of course summer vacations! Whether you’re planning a road trip across the country, a tour of state parks, an exotic beach escape or an exciting urban getaway, your travel plans are photography gold.

Don’t forget to take your camera and use this opportunity to get some amazing shots of an entirely new terrain. This is a great opportunity to hone your skills and expand your portfolio.

Worried that taking summer classes will stop you from taking a trip? Remember, you’re taking classes online, so as long as your destination has an Internet connection, you’re set! So, go ahead; pack your bags and use these 12 tips to get incredible photos on your trip.

1. Start Early

Not only can you capture incredible sunrise views when you get out of bed early, you can also photograph spots that will be buzzing with people later in the day while they’re still empty.

2. Book a Room with a View

Make it easy to get outstanding shots by choosing a hotel offering picturesque views from your window.

3. Never Put Your Camera in a Checked Bag

Unfortunately, some baggage handlers have sticky fingers, so it’s not wise to let anything valuable out of your sight.

4. Invest in a Lightweight, Sturdy Tripod

A tripod can make the difference between good pictures and great ones, so find one that you can easily fold into your bag.

5. Travel Light

You probably have a lot of great camera equipment, but you can do without most of it on your trip, so pack only essentials.

6. Capture Cities at Night

Urban areas are always beautiful, but especially alluring at night when construction and other distractions slip away into a twinkling skyline.

7. Conduct Background Research

Find out what the area has to offer before you get there, so you can create a comprehensive photography plan that includes all the best sites.

8. Schedule Time for Photography

Serious photography requires a certain time dedication, so block off a portion of your vacation schedule to focus on your craft.

9. Make Photos of Family & Friends Count

If you’re traveling with friends and family, you’ll certainly want to take pictures of them, but be sure to line the frame up so that some of the local scenery is in the background. Otherwise, the image could have been taken anywhere.

10. Head Off the Beaten Path

Popular tourist destinations are great, but if you really want to capture the culture, head to places that the locals go.

11. Ask Permission

Never take a close-up photo of a stranger without asking for permission, as this may feel like a personal violation to them.

12. Use Your Photos

After putting in so much time and effort to ensure you get a great shot, you definitely need to show them off! Put some in your portfolio, enter your favorite in a travel photography competition, or have a few framed for your walls.

To learn more about photography, explore our online degree programs or request information to see what you could be learning in our photography classes!

How to Become an Expert at Online Learning

written by Georgia Schumacher 14 May 2015

Desk set up for online learning

Preparing to start your very first online creative arts class? Or maybe you’re a seasoned online learner looking for ways to enhance your experience? Either way, it’s important to make sure you understand how to best approach online learning and the ways it may differ from a traditional classroom setting. Use the five tips below to achieve success.

1. Take Advantage of All Available Resources

Opting to take classes online doesn’t mean you shouldn’t receive the same benefits as students taking the traditional route. Enhance your educational experience by using all resources available to you. For example, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division offers a number of benefits to students, such as career resources, technical support, a counseling center, and more to help support your educational journey.

2. Stay Organized

Online learning is much more independent than a traditional classroom format, so staying organized is key. Carefully review your syllabus at the beginning of each course and mark all important dates on your calendar, so you don’t forget important deadlines. Designate an area of your home as a place for studying and keep all your course material there, so you don’t lose track of books, papers, and any supplies you need. Our mobile app can be a helpful tool for staying organized!

3. Connect with Your Peers

It’s always nice to have a study buddy or someone to chat with about the class or your assignments. You don’t have to lose this social element just because you’ve opted for online learning. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division has an exclusive social network called Connections, allowing you to interact with your classmates and teachers, participate in student groups, and become part of this creative community outside the classroom. Take advantage of this opportunity to really get to know your fellow student-artists and make new friends.

4. Participate in Class

Taking the online learning route isn’t an excuse to be invisible in class. Sure, this option allows for increased flexibility, but you won’t get the most from your experience if you don’t engage with your classmates and instructor. A certain level of engagement is required in your classes, so make sure you post questions and comments about your readings, your artwork, and the artwork of your classmates in online discussion boards. Of course, you'll also want to respond any inquires from your peers about your comments or your work. Furthermore, if you need clarification on an assignment, have a question about a grade you received, or just want to talk about the course material, feel free to contact your instructor. In fact, they expect you to do so!

5. Fully Commit Yourself to the Program

Many people mistakenly believe online classes are easier than their traditional counterparts, but this certainly isn’t the case. It’s important to take your coursework seriously or you won’t succeed. Adjust your schedule to balance your school obligations with your work and family responsibilities. Set aside designated times throughout the week to work on assignments, so you don’t fall behind.

Want to know more about online learning at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division? See a full list of online programs, request information here, and be sure to check out the online classroom demo on our homepage!