5 Ways the Online Library Can Help You Succeed

written by Editor Georgia Schumacher 14 April 2014

Library Book

Written By Guest Blogger
Audra Deemer, Manager of Library Services

1. Find reputable and scholarly resources. Though you and your art school colleagues can quickly find many resources on the web by using popular search engines like Google, you will often find an overwhelming number of results with no easy way to narrow them down. Most information on the web is not evaluated for accuracy and some sites may even ask you to pay to view the content. The library databases have done the hard part of the research process for you. Only credible sources from trusted publishers are included in the library databases and most are available in full text—all at no charge to you!

2. Receive help from librarians 7 days a week. You can get in contact with the librarians through email, phone, and the Ask Us service. You’ll find the Ask Us tab on the Online Library homepage. Use this service to find answers to frequently asked questions even during the hours librarians are not available. You can also submit your question to be answered by email. We have extended hours to help meet your research needs.

Sunday: 12 PM-2 AM ET
Monday-Thursday: 8 AM-2 AM ET
Friday: 8 AM-11 PM ET
Saturday: 10 AM-11 PM ET

3. Attend live online workshops and set up research consultations. Webinars are held monthly and include information on how to use specific databases, tours of the online library, and research-related topics specific to art school students. If you can’t attend, you can watch the recordings on your own time by going to the Help & Tutorials page of the Online Library. If you need one-on-one time with a librarian, you can find and sign up for open research consultations on the calendar found on the Online Library homepage. You can also contact the librarians directly by email or phone to set up an appointment that fits your schedule. We even use a web conferencing tool to share our screens so you can better see how to use the resources.

4. Access more than just articles and eBooks. Though we have thousands of articles from journals, magazines and newspapers and full text eBooks on a vast number of subjects covered in art schools like ours, we also have resources for software tutorials, career information, videos, fashion reports and trends, company and industry reports, data and specs on materials, and market research! Find databases like Digital Tutors, Stylesight, Learning Express Library, Material ConneXion, and much more on the Industry Info page of the Online Library.

5. Get Modern Language Association (MLA) formatted references. Many library databases provide a citation tool that generates the MLA reference for you. Look for a Cite tool when accessing the databases. Be sure to verify the accuracy of the reference with your MLA guide. If you need help, contact the library!

Contact our Online Librarians at aionlinelibrary@aii.edu and 888-318-3440.

Stay in touch with Alumni Connections

written by Georgia Schumacher 9 April 2014

Alumni ConnectionsGraduating soon? Already a successful alumni? Find out how using The Art Institutes Alumni Connections can benefit you! This is your chance to

• Network with fellow alumni
• Research companies
• Search for job opportunities

Do all this in just one place! Tap into the nationwide network of our art school alums with Alumni Connections, an exclusive, easy-to-use resource that takes just five minutes to join and is available at no charge to you.

What’s in it for you

• Connect with alumni in creative professions across the country and stay in touch with fellow grads from your art school

• Post your resume and search for resumes added by other alumni

• Keep informed of alumni news and events

• Research employers looking for our art school grads and find job openings in creative fields

• Share your story. Tell us how you’ve used your creativity in your personal and professional life since graduating from art school. Let us know what you’re excited about in your career and your profession at-large. We can share your story many different ways - our national alumni e-newsletter - our national website - and to students locally, but you have to tell it!

• Access a variety of career resources and tools, including a resume builder, interview preparation, industry news, company profiles, career advice, our Alumni Lunch Chat Archive, and more!

Sign up today

Are you a graduate (or will be soon) of one of our art schools? Register now at www.alumniconnections.com/ArtInstitutes – it takes five minutes for a lifetime of valuable connections!

Join us for these April events!

written by Georgia Schumacher 2 April 2014

Calendar iconYou might guess that as an art school offering fully online programs we wouldn’t have many events, but in reality we have a full calendar this month! Driven by our active student and faculty community, April brings yet another month of exciting events for our art school students at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. Register for events and stay in the know with what’s happening by checking the Events calendar in Campus Common!

Here’s a quick look at what’s on the schedule this month!

Graphic Design Career Series, Starting 4/3/14

This is our seventh annual Graphic Design Career Series. This year, the series features 5 top industry professionals and designers discussing critical industry topics as well as their creative inspiration. The discourse provides students with valuable insight to contemporary professional practice and career preparation. Read more >

IGDA Meetings, Tuesdays & Thursdays

Our student chapter of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) typically meets twice a week and is a great opportunity for students interested in game design and development. Learn more about our group and discover 10 reasons why you should join in this post from September!

Orientation Class – Live Webinar, Weekly in April

Take part in a meet and greet webinar for the Orientation Class. This session will be used to introduce your facilitator and demonstrate classroom navigation functions and features of the Campus Common.

Learn to Draw: Perspective Drawing, 4/8

This event is recommended for students in FND113 Perspective Drawing and FND110 Drawing. Watch demos and get your questions answered about one, two, and three-point perspective, as well as other perspective drawing techniques.

Illustrator Bootcamp I: Basic Designing, 4/14

This event is recommended for students in FND111 Color Theory and FND112 Fundamentals of Design. Topics include basic workflow, creating and editing basic shapes, and an introduction to color, fills, and strokes.

Online Tutoring Services Introduction, 4/22

This brief webinar will introduce students to our on-demand, online tutoring options. We will demonstrate how students can access our online tutoring, discuss the different tutoring categories available, and cover other important details about this convenient, complimentary resource.

To register or view our full calendar, current students can visit the Events page in the Campus Common today! (From your Campus Common home page, select Events in the Campus Life dropdown menu.)

Interested in attending an art school and taking classes from your own home? Learn more information about The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division today.

How to Grow Your Freelance Business

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 March 2014

Fashion Design Freelancer

For many of us, there's nothing we want more than to be our own boss. Whether you are a photographer, animator, or designer, or you run a one-person culinary or retail store, growing your freelance business is the key to successfully working for yourself and earning a living doing what you love.

You may be talented in your craft and passionate about what you do, but it takes more than that to establish and grow your freelance business. Here are some tips to help you improve your freelance business:

Develop Your Natural Talent

Creative skills are like a plant. Unless properly cared for and provided with nourishment, both will begin to wilt. By continuing to improve your skills and develop your career, you will strengthen your work, build credibility, and improve your self esteem. You could:

Find an art school where you can take classes online or at a local campus
• Attend seminars, conferences, or events in your field
• Submit your work to peer-reviewed shows or publications

Increase Your Rates

It sounds silly, but increasing your freelance rates will show potential clients that your work is high-quality and you deserve to be compensated accordingly. Many freelancers assume that they have to settle for low payments because of the vast number of freelancers available to interested parties. But just because there is someone out there who will paint a portrait for five dollars, doesn't mean all consumers want a portrait worth five dollars. Setting high, yet reasonable, prices for your work will attract customers looking for high-quality work from a trusted freelancer.

Promote Your Brand

Many people turn to online resources before making a purchase of goods or services. When they come looking, will your business be there? Make sure your business has a modern, fast and easy-to-navigate website that is in tune with your brand's visual and written messages. Be sure to include the following on your website:

• Samples of your work
• Contact information (phone, email, social media)
• Testimonials from happy clients
• List of services offered
• Any art school you've attended or any relevant degrees

You can also promote your brand and build positive relationships with your customers via social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram provide a personal connection with potential clients and can help them view you as a familiar, trusted business.

Network with Fellow Artists

Just because you are working for yourself doesn't mean you have to figure everything out by yourself. Join a group of freelancers online or in your area for support, ideas, and possible collaborations. Attend events at local art galleries or art schools. If you're an art school graduate, get in touch with other alumni. By networking with others in your field, you could even learn valuable information that could help your freelance business grow!

Exploring the Fundamentals of Educational Game Design

written by Georgia Schumacher 13 March 2014

Game Design ImageCreating a successful educational game or educational software requires technical skills, creativity, and the ability to effectively utilize the latest technology. Educational games must be both easy to use and engaging, while also providing a meaningful learning experience. Studies have shown that educational games can promote critical thinking and problem solving in players, and high-quality game design is the key to achieving those results.

Technology at Your Fingertips

Computer and mobile technology has advanced greatly in recent years, drawing more attention in game design schools and allowing for more options than ever in the world of game development. Most people are already immersed in the latest computer and mobile technology, using it for work or to connect with friends and family, and can easily adapt to using that same technology to gain knowledge and entertainment from educational games.

Keep these tips in mind to make technology work in your favor:

• Know your audience and which platforms/devices they are using.

• Take all possible technological devices into account when designing your educational game. If your game isn't available on an individual's device, you are missing a chance to make a positive impact.

• Utilize new advances, but avoid jumping on trends that have little or no effect on the overall user experience.

• Consider incorporating location-based technology to give the game ties to the user’s actual surroundings.

Combining Education and Entertainment

One of the biggest challenges in educational game development is creating a game that will keep users interested and motivated while still achieving the learning objectives. Although you can learn many more tactics at a game design school, here are a few ways to ensure your educational game is both fun and beneficial:

• Identify what situations and problems will challenge and engage users and keep that in the forefront of your game.

• Consider incorporating the ability to interact, collaborate, learn from or compete with other users, but make sure to provide a purpose—whether motivational, educational or something else—for that social interaction.

• Outline clear goals within the gameplay for users to keep them motivated to work toward that goal. Be sure to give them regular feedback as well as positive reinforcement when that goal is achieved.

Narrative Flow

Educational games are often open-ended and lack a strict linear narrative flow, encouraging exploration, problem-solving and critical thinking. Although there is no rigid path, effective educational game design still gives the user a narrative flow that will draw them in and follow the expected paths of conflict resolution that our brains are trained to recognize. Users will then be able to focus on the game and reap the full educational benefits.

Interested in game design and development? Consider attending a school for game design and see what degree programs are available.

Read More

How to Design an Educational Game
Game Design: The Key to Education
Feedback Loops in Games and Learning
Creating Flow, Motivation, & Fun in Learning Games