Emma Davies is studying online with IDI on the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design course from the University of Hertfordshire. She is hoping that gaining an internationally respected qualification will help her learn industry relevant skills and set her on the path to starting up a business of her own.
"I chose to study online firstly because I live in Dubai and wasn't sure I could get the same standard of teaching and qualification from any of the colleges here. I also thought it would be easier to be able to continue working from home.
"I was drawn to IDI knowing they have the affiliation with the University of Hertfordshire and that they are set up specifically as an online education provider. I didn't do much research or comparison with other online teaching associations because I immediately felt comfortable with the way IDI was laid out and planned. Everything is very clear and if you still require clarification, the staff are always very approachable.
"Overall, the communication has been very good. The one thing I have learnt (and am still learning) is that the more you communicate with your tutors the more they will get back to you with information, but you need to drive it. The student forum is excellent. At first I felt a little intimidated, we are a very diverse group of students and reviewing everyone's work feels like a competition at times. However, it is nice to develop a relationship with your fellow classmates and even though there isn't that many of us it is good to see us all progressing.
"I'll be honest, I am finding it much more difficult that I expected to study. The actual modules and content are fantastic and I love how we are working to very specific briefs. However, I am finding the learning of software to be able to produce the work much, much harder than I expected it to be. Visually I know how I want my work to develop and conclude, but to explain this on CAD drawings and Photoshop images is something that I didn't fully prepare myself for.
"I think the time guide that IDI provide actually helps a lot and after two years I am starting to get an idea of how long I typically take to complete an activity. If there is a lot of CAD work or Photoshop I know that I need much longer than the suggested time because it is an area I really struggle with, however, if it's research or sketching development I find I can get through this quicker.
"It's difficult to tell at this stage in what way IDI will help with my aspirations. I am learning a lot and on the whole am enjoying going back to college. I don't think I want to start a new career in interior design but I would like to use this course to develop my own business. I think I stand more of a chance in doing that with this qualification.
"Studying a degree online is a big commitment, you need to be able to drive your own development and spend a lot of time reading the activities to fully understand what you are being asked to do. Communication is key, keep the lines of communication open at all times and constantly ask your tutors opinion and advice."