COVID-19 update: All online teaching and learning is proceeding as normal

Before beginning her studies online with IDI, Bridget Irving was already working in design but felt that she needed to gain a respected qualification to advance her professional prospects. As Bridget was unable to give up working full-time, she turned to the option of online study to see what it could offer her, discovering courses delivered by IDI in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire:

“The umbrella of the University of Hertfordshire meant that I had no concerns about the quality of course content or the validity of the qualification. I also telephoned and any remaining concerns were quickly dispelled.”

After some consideration, Bridget decided that studying online with IDI was the best option available to her:

“It was a big decision and I knew this wasn’t something I could just squeeze in, it would have to become a priority. The timetable on the IDI website helped as it was clear that there would be periods of study broken up with good breaks.”

Bridget originally enrolled on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course and assumed she was going to graduate with this qualification. However, after a certain point, IDI students are given the option to continue towards a BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree or to switch to study for a BA (Hons) Illustration degree. After discussing the matter with her fellow students in the forums, Bridget chose to opt for BA (Hons) Illustration:

“The courses are similar and I know that study in one direction doesn’t exclude the other. I have some design training behind me so it felt right to take the route where I would learn the most and my confidence was growing.”

Bridget has a lot of experience working in the creative industries, first as a medical photographer and then as a photographer with the civil service. However, poor health forced her to look for a career that was less physically demanding:

“I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my early thirties. It slowed me down when my brain was going at full speed. My body just wanted to sleep and I was in extreme pain. I couldn’t carry on with photography so I started learning Photoshop and my path led me to design and web design.”

Bridget has found that studying with IDI has given her renewed confidence in her illustrative ability. With encouragement from her tutors, her peer group, and the IDI Student Support team, she has already received some commissions for her illustration work:

“IDI have an amazing support system. Even though it’s all online I’ve always felt a part of the university from the outset. I was nervous at first – uploading content, being sure I was understood – but I needn’t have worried.

“The mode of study is great. It’s not like attendance based university and that has its downside, but that is part of the compromise. However, I never feel like my education is compromised. It was strange adapting to the absent tutor concept, but I have found that I have kept in regular contact. I have also kept in contact with other students – peers and classmates have proved really helpful. It’s really easy to keep connected.”

Now looking forward to continuing her studies and working towards a successful career as a professional illustrator, Bridget would recommend IDI to anyone ready and willing to commit to working hard:

“Expect life to change. I’m speaking from the point of view of a mature student where this decision is about change and not necessarily a conventional student start. Don’t try to think too far ahead, it’s flexible, and don’t be afraid. I realised that nothing terribly bad could come from this and my fears about my ability and failure were normal, but really didn’t amount to anything.”