Thursday, 24 September 2015

A Warm Welcome To Our New Students On Our Brand New Online MA in 3D Animation!

The world's first online MA in animation
We're excited to welcome all our new students who have just started the journey with us on our brand-new online MA in animation, launched this week here at Animation Apprentice in partnership with Buckinghamshire New University.

This is a unique degree - the first of its kind - which can be undertaken by students anywhere in the world, leading to a formal qualification in the field. You will not only learn how to animate, but you will engage at Masters' level with the underpinning theory and structure behind the art form. So, what is this degree all about, and what can our new students expect?

What is this degree and why is it so special?
Until now, if you wanted to do an MA in animation, you had to go to a university and study there, at a place and time that is convenient for the university.  Never mind that you have a day job and a family - you have to study when it suits them, not when it suits you.

Now, you will be able to complete your degree online, from anywhere in the world. You don't even need to show up for graduation - though you will definitely be invited! We are at present (correct us if we're wrong!) the only facility in the world offering an online MA in Animation.

What will you learn?
The course is a unique blend of practical training and academic content. That means you will learn how to animate, stop by step, and be properly trained as a skilled professional 3D animator. At the same time, you will have to engage with the theory behind the craft, and take a close look at the industry, critically engaging with the underpinnings and possibilities of the medium.

How Much Does It Cost?
The course costs £6,750, but those who applied early received a 10% discount, making the course fee around £6,075. That's around $9,000 in US Dollars (depending on the exchange rate). And don't forget that the UK government will soon be extending loans to graduate students. For more on funding for MA study, read this post.

When do students have to pay?
Fees for the course are now due for newly enrolled students. Please contact Bucks for details on how to pay for the course.

Who is teaching the course?

1. Academic Content
Dr Fil Ieropoulos
Dr Fil Ieropoulos, Senior Lecturer at Bucks New University will be the main point of contact for all academic work; the written evaluations (essays) that link to the animation production work as well as the dissertation.  Fil will help students to contextualise their production work, as we all enable development of the level of research enquiry that is expected at Masters level. Fil is also a film practitioner, a maker of art/experimental films as well as a curator of many research events around the world.

2. Practical Training
Alex Williams, founder of Animation Apprentice, will be teaching, delivering, assessing and marking the practical part of the course. All our students will get a personal login at, giving access to the whole site, and will study alongside other Animation Apprentice students.

How do students access the learning materials?
All students have a unique personal login to Blackboard at Bucks New University, where you can access the teaching materials. The MA has five modules:
  • DA701 - Animation Mechanics 
  • DA702 - Character Performance
  • DA703 - Animals and Creatures
  • DA704 - Demo Reel and Final Project
  • DA705 - Dissertation. 
The first four Modules run consecutively through the year and closely mirror the content at Animation Apprentice. The last module, DA705, is entirely academic in nature and is taught largely by Fil.

All the modules can be accessed through Blackboard. Once you've logged in, the first place to look is to check for Announcements, and then open up the Module Guide, which sets out week by week what's in each module, when your deadlines are, and what you can expect.

Also click on the Assignments tab in Bb to find the detail on your upcoming assignments.

Do students get graded on all the work they have to submit?
No. Much of the course is delivered through what we call formative feedback. For your weekly submission through Animation Apprentice, you will email us a short piece of animation which we will review via a recorded, personalised feedback video. Students are not graded, but are helped to improve their animation.

So what work actually gets graded?
At the end of each module a piece of practical work is due (see the Module Guide for details) which will receive a grade - which will count towards your final award.  This practical work should be uploaded to your YouTube or Vimeo channel, and a link emailed to us at Animation Apprentice.

Each Module also includes a short piece of academic writing, which also counts towards your final degree. Again, see the Module Guide for details. This work should be submitted to Blackboard via Turnitin.

What is the balance of work graded: practical -v- academic?
The balance of grades between your practical and academic work is roughly 50/50

How much time will I be expected to dedicate to the course every week?
We suggest that students should dedicate around one and a half to two days a week to the course, depending on how good you want to get at 3D animation. Animation is an iterative process and the more time you spend on it, the better you will get!

What if I have questions? Whom should I contact?
For questions on the academic content, contact Fil. For general questions regarding the delivery of online courses at Bucks, contact Peter Brown. For anything to do with the delivery of Animation Apprentice, and the delivery of practical content, contact me at Animation Apprentice. The best place to do this is to post a question at our Facebook Group - a closed group where students can post their work for informal review, ask questions, get help (especially tech help), meet other students, and help one another out.

But most of all, welcome! and enjoy the course!


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