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Please help: Have you had any experience with the Interactive Design Institute?

Discussion in 'Universities & Training Forum:' started by xcatcatx, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. xcatcatx

    xcatcatx New Member

    Hey all!

    I'm completely new to this message board so please bear with me! :icon_smile:

    I am seriously considering restarting my studies, with the hopes of eventually achieving a degree in Graphic Design. I have dabbled in design previously; I studied it part time up to HNC level and have always found the creative arts more suited to my personality and skills - but then had to take a break from the course I was on due to changes in my personal circumstances. Now, a year or so later, I am hoping to get back into it - unfortunately, as I am a mature student and in full time employment, my options for study are relatively limited: I can take on a course but it would have to be distance learning and on part time basis. My employer is supportive of my studies (and I would be using the skills I gained in my job) but I am not able to get a day off a week to attend lectures on site. This is why I felt quite excited when I found the Interactive Design Institute website (Graphic Design Degrees | Interior Design Courses | Study Online @IDI). I spoke to them briefly last week and on surface, they come across as a legitimate course provider. I cannot however find too much information about them online, especially when it comes to individual student experiences and opinions - so I thought it'd be worth me posting on a public forum, hoping some fellow creative souls will have had some experience with this organisation. There are a few comments on HotCourses and a few more on their Facebook account but it still feels like way too little, especially if they have been around since 2004? I guess I am a little wary because I really don't want to tie myself into a student loan, not knowing what I was getting out of it - yet, at the same time this does feel like my only option at the moment!

    Any advice / help / ideas are most welcome! :icon_smile:

    Thanks a million,

  2. Stationery Direct

    Stationery Direct Administrator Staff Member

  3. xcatcatx

    xcatcatx New Member

  4. I've been studying with them for a while (Graphic Design BA). They are absolutley legitimate, and seem pretty good so far. It's a bit no frills but as you would expect for a distance learning course. I think the reason for their lack of online opinion is due to a rebrand a few years ago, and also they seem to run very small intakes - which is great from a tutor perspective (you get quick responses). I had the same worries as you but am glad I enrolled with them. It strikes me that their heart is in the right place - they exist as a response to the education system, and its many flaws, not to take all of your money.

    Do you have any specific questions, or are you just wanting to make sure they aren't out to rob you?
    xcatcatx and Stationery Direct like this.
  5. xcatcatx

    xcatcatx New Member

    Well, I guess my main aim was to try to establish whether the current students at IDI thought they got what they were paying for and whether the quality of teaching was similar to the level expected at 'brick and mortar' degree courses. I realise that it is all very subjective and virtual / online courses will never have the same impact as face-to-face study with your peers, but as I have never had a student loan (or any other big financial commitment to that level), I want to make sure I don't get tied into this level of financial obligation and then quickly realise that it was a mistake I could have avoided by being better informed. At least by asking for second opinions from more experienced folk I will have done my research beforehand and can make as informed a decision on the matter as possible. I really want to get going on my studies and by the looks of it IDI is my only option for a degree. To be fair, I did speak to IDI and they were lovely and incredibly helpful - something that is very rare these days so thus far it looks like a good call...!

    Thanks for your response ThreeFallingDucks :)

  6. I'd certainly agree that the people at the end of the phone in their admissions and student support are lovely - they are incredibly helpful and will bend over backwards to help. It's a very difficult financial decision to make - whilst the fees might not be as much as most brick universities, they are still a large chunk of cash that you will spend a long time paying back. Judging by your ability to write on a forum without losing all grammatical ability or turning to text speak, I'm going to guess that you are a fairly switched on person; as such you might find the first year of your degree a bit difficult to keep interested in. I have looked ahead, and it gets much, much more challenging, but the first year can be a bit boring. If you are happy that you can deal with this, and the lack of industry/competition links that you would get in other traditional universities, then I think that this course is certainly worth doing.

    To emphasise a previous point of mine - the tuition is as good as it can possibly be in a distance learning setting. The tutors I have had have been incredibly experienced and very helpful (having a PhD student tutoring you for a level 4 essay is the most fantastic thing that could happen to you!), and the feedback I have heard from other students about their tutors has been great.

    To give you an idea about time commitment, IDI recommend 15 hours per week for a part time course. I think that I have probably averaged closer to 20 hours per week, and I know that others have put much more time in. I would hazard that the reason for this additional time is that IDI don't factor in much time for learning the software, so those with no experience of using Illustrator / Photoshop / InDesign can fall behind at places. There is a lot of flexibility in the course, and whilst IDI give you a recommended schedule, you can move through the set activities and briefs at your own pace (within reason, and as long as you hit the final deadlines).

    Hope that this helps, and if you have and questions please don't hesitate.

    xcatcatx likes this.
  7. xcatcatx

    xcatcatx New Member

    Thank you for such a thorough response Dan - your kind words have most definitely filled me with a sense of confidence and positivity about taking on this journey with IDI. I think my biggest struggle will be with the technical side - getting the programmes to do what I want them to do - somewhat an essential requirement for the role of a Graphic Designer so I better get over it! I am not the most patient of people to start out with and can get a bit flustered when I get stuck, I have used all three programmes (Illustrator / Photoshop / InDesign) in the past when I did my HNC and there were times when the frustration of 'not having anyone to ask help from at the other side of the room' made me want to pull my hair out! In any case, I know there are YouTube tutorials available as well as message boards such as this one (should I get stuck!) so I hope it won't be that bad - after all, life is what you make of it!

    I suspect I will go for the part-time route (as much as I would like the challenge, being in full-time employment it isn't a realistic prospect for me to be able to put in the hours expected from full-time students). I'm sure I will think of more questions as I go through the enrolment process and start the course so I might just need to refer back to this forum again and again (and again!). Providing that I can get the tuition fee loan from Student Finance UK I reckon I'll be going for it! :)

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply! :)

    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  8. chrisaskham1972

    chrisaskham1972 New Member


    Any updates on the IDI course from those studying? I'm thinking of widening my skill set and doing the course part-time.

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