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Students collaborating at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

New Updates to Featured Events Page

28 July 2011

On our Featured Events page, prospective and current students alike can sample some of the recent events that have taken place at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division. Three new events have just been added: Careers in Photography (Weddings), A Designer's Toolbox, and Creating T-Shirt Art. Check them out today!

Updating Your Resume Using Today's Standards

25 July 2011

If it’s been awhile since you last updated your resume, you may wonder if the format it’s currently in will work in today’s job market. An article from the Wall Street Journal titled “Updating Your Resume for 2011” provides words of wisdom to help keep you relevant. Among their tips are the following:

  • Technology is Your Friend: Long gone are the days when you would print a physical copy of your resume and mail it to the company for which you’d like to work. Most people know to send their resumes electronically, but The Wall Street Journal argues that it’s also a good idea to attach the resume to an electronic profile of yourself, whether it’s a website you’ve created or your LinkedIn profile.
  • Avoid Buzz Words: In the past, words like “team player” and “results-oriented” were ideal to use in your resume. The issue now is that everyone and their brother uses these words, and their effect has been considerably diluted. In lieu of relying on cliché, focus on action words that describe what you’ve accomplished in previous roles (e.g. managed, taught, and wrote).
  • Don’t Shortchange Yourself: We’ve all heard the rule that a resume should be no longer than a page, but current guidelines are no longer as rigid, particularly if you have ten to twenty years of experience under your belt. When crafting your resume, make sure you include any job experience that would be beneficial in the position for which you’re applying, omitting any details that are not relevant.
  • Scanning Still Applies: In other words, when an employer receives countless resumes for a position, they aren’t likely to read through each one word for word. Instead, they’ll scan to ascertain if the candidate possesses the skills they’re looking for. With this in mind, it’s important to craft your resume so that it can be easily scanned by a hiring manager or recruiter.



21 July 2011

By Guest Blogger
Craig Glick Miller

Photography student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

Life is made of choices. I spent many years choosing the status quo and managing to stay happy, but there comes a point in life when a dream becomes too strong to ignore. I made a choice to change my career from IT consulting to a more creative outlet. I chose photography.

Back in 1999, I graduated from college with a degree in Mathematics Education. However, while student teaching I discovered that I didn’t actually want to teach. When I moved back to my hometown with my degree that I was not going to use, I was initially at a loss about a career path. As it happened, a family friend who owned a computer consulting company had some larger projects and needed help. The job fell into my lap and I have been doing IT consulting ever since.

Then in 2010 my world was turned upside down. My wife and I gave birth to a beautiful daughter who died an hour after being born. Part of our grieving process has been reflecting on where we are in life and what it means to be happy after such a devastating loss. The idea of my own photography studio had been stewing in the back of my mind for years, but this loss brought it to the front and center.

Once my brain wrapped around this idea, it continued to grow in my mind. What would I need to make this happen? Where should I begin? How can I make compelling images like those that have inspired me, most notably those from Art Wolfe in Light on the Land? Who will I sell these images to in order to make money and support my family?

As I looked at options and the vision began to grow, one thing became readily apparent: I needed more education. However, the photography and business classes available locally are limited and basic. Then I found the Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division. As I read the course listings and learned more about the program, I realized that this program is exactly what I was looking for. Not only can I learn the craft from home while keeping my current job, but the business classes are built into the program, and are specific to photography.

The computer work that I do involves fixing other people’s problems. Photography involves creating a vision, crafting compelling images. In the wake of my daughter’s short life I want to create.

I continue to work with computers, but only at 80%. I spend one day a week working on my business - Lucid Eye Studio - while my evenings are filled with homework, making images and sharing ideas. I never really chose IT consulting except as the status quo. I did decide to pursue photography, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division is giving me the tools to make that choice a feasible reality.

Are you an Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division student interested in writing for this blog? Check the Welcome Center in the Campus Common to find out how!

Online Learning Gives You the Gift of Time

18 July 2011

Many students probably pondered attending a campus-based school before ultimately becoming an online student. For them, online seemed like the most practical choice. In addition to offering convenience and flexibility, many have found that the online learning environment provides them with extra time to focus on other areas of their life, where campus-based learning may have put them in more of a pinch. Below are just a few of the ways online learning can give students the gift of time.

You Don’t Commute
As an online student, you don’t have to worry about driving to class every day. Whether you’re at home, at the library, or in the park enjoying the sunshine, as long as you have your computer and internet access, you have the ability to attend class. Not only that, but you won’t need to worry about spending extra money on gas, or any fares required to park on campus. You can put the money you would’ve spent on those items aside for something more important your family might need down the road.

You Have More Time to Study
Imagine that you had decided to attend school at a local campus. You probably have an idea of how much time you would spend driving to class. If it would be thirty minutes each way, for example, you can use that extra hour you’ve gained to spend more time on your coursework.

You Have More Time for Your Family
For many online students, this is the most important benefit of online learning. Your time is precious. You work forty hours a week and have many family obligations. If, when you look at your schedule for the day, the only time you have available to complete your coursework is after your kids go to bed, you have the ability to do this. You wouldn’t be likely to find many night classes at a campus-based location that begin at 10pm!

If you ever feel overwhelmed, help is never far away. Discuss your concerns with your Academic Counselor, whose contact information can be found on the home page of the Campus Common.

A Passion for Compassion

15 July 2011

By Guest Blogger
Catherine Davis

BS in Media Arts & Animation Student at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

Week three of classes and I’m ready to go. I’ve done my research, proofread my discussions and cited my sources. The only thing left to do is read it once more and post it to the classroom thread. It’s the first week that I’ve been ready to post a response before midnight, leaving me time to do the unthinkable – sleep. I can hear the thunder behind me but think nothing of it. I’m concentrating on my post, trying to find any grammar errors and rewording any loquacious sentences. A bolt of lightning catches my eye and I know it’s time for me to post my assignment. I press on the orange icon for Firefox expecting my homepage to pop up almost instantly. Instead, a clap of thunder roars and my apartment loses power.

“It’s okay…auto-save will come to the rescue,” says my husband.

I’m excited for this revelation hoping that power is restored shortly so that I may complete my assignment. Five minutes pass, then ten, then twenty. After forty minutes, I relocate to the living room hoping that if my computer knows I’m not watching, it will turn on. I sit in the darkness, only seeing the outline of my husband at the window when bolts of lightning illuminate the night sky. I remember the trick of counting the seconds between thunder and lightning to deduce the distance of the storm. Four seconds, four miles. Two minutes later, it’s only one mile away from us. The wails of the tornado sirens prompt me to jump from my couch and move to the window, because that seemed logical. Just as I stop next to the window, the tree behind my apartment is snapped in half and thrown to my window as if God were playing fetch with the tornado. Without hesitation, I run out of my second story apartment and hide under the stairs. In all of the commotion, the first thing I think is – my professor is going to think this is an excuse.

I take out my cell phone from my pocket and write a frantic email, “In stairwell. Tornadoes. Homework done. Will turn in asap.” For thirty minutes, I hide under the stairs, listening to the sounds of my community being ripped apart by a tornado. The storm passes but still no power. I completely forget that homework exists until two days later when my power is restored. I rush to my computer to find my assignment saved by the power of Microsoft and post my assignment with apologies. I see a new email and expect no leniency. Tears stung my cheeks as I read the compassionate words of my professor:

Don’t be scared, it will pass. Let me know you’re safe. I will keep you and your community in my thoughts.

P.s. Safety trumps homework. Turn it in when you can.

Thousands of miles between my professor and I, but I felt her compassion wrap around me like a hug that day.

Are you an Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division student interested in writing for this blog? Check the Welcome Center in the Campus Common to find out how!

Animation Degrees - Creating a New World

12 July 2011

The world of animation is a fantasy world. Ever since Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, animation has allowed mankind to express itself through a series of ever-changing universes. Places that aren’t limited by the laws of physics, that ignore reality, but through ignoring it more clearly express the greater reality that lives within our minds and imaginations.

Animation is only limited by the creativity of the animators; possibly some of the most creative people of our age. These are the people who don’t just see with their external eyes, but see with the internal ones. They are people who have learned how to dream with their eyes open.

Creating animation is just plain fun. It gives you the opportunity to take the fantasy world that is in your imagination and bring it out to play in a virtual world of your making. Animation degrees teach you the techniques you need to be part of this exciting field; delving into some of the greatest filmmaking of our time.

What do you see on the inside of you? Are you one of those people who should be pursuing animation degrees? Do you see the world differently? Is your particular creativity the kind that borders on fantasy, comedy and expressing the real in unreal ways?

Working towards your animation degree at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh will open the door for turning those dreams that you see with your eyes open into dreams that others can see as well. You will become one of a handful of people who spend their days playing in a fantasy world, and get paid to do it. Your fantasy world will become the fantasy world of many others as well.

Online Student Community at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

8 July 2011

In many ways, online learning is more individualistic than the campus-based college experience, but it can also be just as interactive. As with any campus-based school, online learning isn't just about heading to class. There are a number of ways students can interact with one another and with their instructors. Our Student Community page features some of the ways students can connect.

How to Handle Constructive Criticism

5 July 2011

Constructive criticism is an important part of the overall online learning experience. Your classmates are required to comment on your assignments and thoughts, just as you are on theirs. At first blush, this situation may be difficult to stomach. You may feel like you, personally, are under attack, and it’s tempting to become defensive. You worked hard to put the assignment or thoughts together. Can’t your fellow students understand that? Perhaps it’s not that your classmates are too critical, but that you need to change your frame of mind.

As the recipient of constructive criticism, it’s important to remember that your colleagues aren’t attacking you, and you need to separate yourself from the work. The goal of having your colleagues comment on your work is not to tear you apart, but rather to provide you with feedback that will help you become a better student. Constructive criticism, when given effectively, can improve your work and ensure that you’re seeing the whole picture of the assignment.

In a traditional classroom, it’s easy to become complacent. Many classes don’t require participation, and what usually happens is that the same two to three people offer their thoughts in each class. Online learning requires that you remain engaged in the subject, and collaboration from your colleagues reinforces the instructor’s lecture.

It’s tempting to look at your colleagues’ feedback as a curse, but if you understand why you’re receiving it, you’ll find that it’s actually more of a blessing.