Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

As some of you know, I attend classes through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division (AIPOD) which is sometimes simply referred to as the Art Institute Online (AIO). I have received a few questions since I started blogging about the school so I thought that I would go ahead and write up an entry that summarizes those discussions.

1. Does the online campus match up to a typical brick and mortar school? Do they show the same level of professionalism?

The professors come from all over the country and typically teach at a ground-based university as well. FND110 Drawing was a very rewarding class and the teacher was a pleasure to work with. ART1020 History of Art in Early Civilization was very challenging and the instructor really cared about the students learning the material. (I have actually kept in touch with her. She thinks that I should pursue a Master of Fine Arts once I have earned my Bachelor of Science in Photography.)

All of the professors and administrators have been professional and extremely helpful. Due to the accelerated format, it is quite common to read four to six chapters a week and the assignments can each take up to 8 hours with the research. My only experience previously was community college but this is much more intense.

My academic advisor calls or sends me email periodically to check on my progress. She also sends me email congratulating me on my good grades which really helps the self-esteem.

There is also a student run group on Flickr: AIO Photography.

2. I will be taking online classes in photography through the Art Institute. I am wondering if you have had any issues using your G.I. Bill? What did Uncle Sam pay for? Just classes or are tools (e.g. film, camera, etc.) included?

Veterans/Active Duty members, if you have not yet filled out your application for eligibility, you should do so now! The F.A.Q. claims "six to eight weeks" but that is not always true. I applied with the Veteran's Administration at the end of April. The Buffalo regional office handles all claims from AIPOD/AIO and they downloaded my application on May 5th. After three or four calls spread out over the past three months, I finally received my Certificate of Eligibility on October 26th. That's five months and three weeks if you do not have a calendar handy.

Your benefits will depend on which chapter of the G.I. Bill applies to you. I fall under Chapter 30 Active Duty and that will reimburse me only for tuition. Be sure to look at the VA's Benefit Comparison Chart.

I have yet to receive my first payment. According to the VA, they are extremely backlogged right now so the turn-around time on payments is pretty slow.

Update: When I arrived home last night, the check was waiting for me. That last phone call, where I asked for an inquiry to be opened, must have done the trick.

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