Monday, 22 August 2016

Why you should consider taking a course online

When I graduated high school I did something very untraditional; but, it's good to do something different right? Instead of going straight to university, college, work or back to do grade 13, I did this amazing thing called online or distance learning. This allowed me to get degree credits without leaving my house and have a job that I actually liked. I did three different programs online with three different schools. I also completed free online fashion courses with two amazing learning platforms. After one year I now have this on my resume:

1. Certificate, Retail Management 
Ryerson University 
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Pros: After three semesters I gained an official certificate. All credits I have received can be transferred to the degree program I start in September; Bachelor of Commerce - Retail Management.

Cons: You do have to travel to Ryerson's Campus for some course exams. I went to campus for three classes to take mid and final exams. The program does not have a lot of visual learning material (with the exception of RMG200 - there were previously recorded lectures available to watch about retail math.)

*Because you cannot ask your professor any questions face to face and the lecture is just note taking (there are no videos) I recommend purchasing the textbook for the class if there is one. I found it very beneficial to have; especially if I was unsure about course content.

2. Certificate, Teen Vogue: Fashion Industry Essentials 
Parsons - School of Design 
New York, NY

Pros: Everything is done online. It is a very visual program; you learn entirely through videos and the Teen Vogue Handbook. It took me only four months to complete; the program can be completed at your own pace. Moreover, all assignments are practical and fun to complete if you are obsessed with anything related to fashion.

*The certificate I took is considered to be a non-credit certificate (You don't have to have a degree to be in the program). Parsons offers two other certificates that can be done entirely online that are credit certificates; Fashion Design and Fashion Business. However, these two certificates will take longer to complete.

You can enrol in the #ParsonsxTeenVogue program here

3. Short Course, Visual Merchandising and Display  
London College of Fashion
London, England

Pros: It is "Face-to-Face" learning with the professor. For every online short course at UAL there is a designated time that you have to be on their online learning system to "Skype."

Cons: There is a specific time you have to be available. 

*It is in the UK time so for me, they are five hours ahead. The course was scheduled for 6-8pm UK time (1-3pm for me.) Having an evening class is beneficial if you work or have school during the day. 

4. Fashion Innovation & Fashion Sustainability Courses
University of Leeds & Creative Skill set
Through Future Learn

Future Learn is different than the above-mentioned schools. Future Learn in itself is not an actual school but, is a learning platform that allows you to take courses from their partner universities. This is what their website says, "We’re a private company wholly owned by The Open University, with the benefit of over 40 years of their experience in distance learning and online education. We have 94 partners from around the world. These include many of the best UK and international universities."

Pros: To take a course it is completely free. However, to get proof that you completed the course it costs around $70 Canadian dollars to purchase a certificate. It is not mandatory to purchase a certificate but, it is great to have for proof. Based on the cost of the other courses and certificates I have done $70 is still very inexpensive for a school to charge.

Cons: A personal con for me is they have a lot of science and math courses which don't appeal to me and only a few creative / fashion related course.  

*The courses I completed were, Fashion Innovation through the University of Leeds and Fashion Sustainability through Creative Skill Set. Those are the only two fashion courses on the site. If more appear I will definitely be doing them. 

5. From Blog to Business: Content, Community and Working with Brands.
Blogging Courses

I discovered Skillshare through an email I received from Bloglovin' saying that they created a course about blogging for brands called "From Blog to Business: Content, Community, and Working with Brands." I completed this class that was run by their VP of Community and Support, Morgan Kaye. I absolutely loved the class, it was very beneficial for me to take, especially being a new blogger. I think any blogger new or experienced would find it very helpful. It allowed me to connect with Morgan. I emailed her with a question and she replied right away. It is amazing that she wants to help the bloggers who are on Bloglovin' succeed. I highly recommend you take the class. Here is the link.

Pros: A regular membership allows you to access free courses. Moreover, all learning is very visual and is done through short video clips. The majority of courses offered are for creative types or creative business', which appeal to me the most. 

Cons: There are only two cons I have to talk about regarding Skillshare. Number one: certain classes are only accessible if you have a premium membership. It is not expensive and they sometimes have a special running, however, free is always better. Number two: the classes are short. Most of the classes I completed are under 30 minutes. It can be a good thing to learn about something so quickly but, I find myself wanting to know more. 


I think online learning will be the future. Think about how much we already do online? What about all the different ways the internet has allowed us to communicate? Online learning will be a positive outcome of our very online world. Overall, online learning can open doors for a lot of individuals. People can go back to school, attend well-known schools overseas and learn in a flexible environment that fits their life/work schedule.

It allowed me to do eight degree credits without having to travel an hour to get to school. It allowed me to attend Parsons and London College of Fashion; two schools that I have wanted to go to for a long time. Through online learning I was able to "go there" and it was much less expensive. Bonus: you still have the schools wonderful and helpful faculty to teach you. If you've wanted to try online I say do it now. There is no time greater than the present! Remember to:

Let me know in the comments if you have ever taken a course online and what your experience was like!!


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