Last Saturday saw the September open day at the National Design Academy get off to a great start. The sun was shining and the guests were flooding into the Academy headquarters here in Nottingham.
Student portfolios and coffee
The day commenced at around 9:45am in the Orangery where over 35 prospective students had the chance to browse a selection of student portfolios over a luxurious caffe latte or indulgent cappuccino. The portfolios offered a grand collection of course materials from diploma to masters level and everything in between, allowing potential students to see the style and quality of work expected for each qualification here at the NDA.
Introduction to NDA and the courses on offer
After 20 minutes of sipping delicious coffees and browsing the vast array of portfolios, an introduction to the National Design Academy was presented by Helen Keighley (Director of Quality and Business). This was then shortly followed by an enthralling introduction to the various course options available at the NDA presented by Anthony Rayworth (Course Director).
Tour of a past design project
The group was then split into two and led around a luxuriously designed home and office which had been a past project of James Pilling the previous interior designer at the NDA. This tour allowed the students to approach the house through the eyes of an interior designer, viewing and considering the design concepts with a critical design led eye rather than from a personal vantage point. A key message that emerged from this tour was the importance of accepting and following a client brief and not allowing that to clash or fight with your own style and design choices.
Introduction to the VLS
Following on from the extensive tour of the fabulously designed home, it was time for another caffeine pit stop and chance to have a chat with some of the tutors regarding specific design courses and requirements. Before long the students were led back into the studio and given an in-depth introduction into the world of the Virtual Learning Studio (VLS). This is the system that runs the online distance learning qualifications and so gave all of the students the opportunity to get to grips with the software they would be using should they choose to enrol on a course at the National Design Academy.
Entry requirements and fees
Finally the day was concluded with Helen Keighley discussing the various assignment processes, entry requirements for each course as well as fees and payment options for the courses offered here at NDA. A core message coming from this final presentation was the economic benefits of the online courses, especially the BA (Hons) degree, when compared to a traditional degree course. Another key message that was emphasised was the flexibility that this type of online education can provide students allowing them to fit their everyday lives around their studies.
All in all a good day was had by all, many students opted to bring in their own design portfolios to show the tutors and course directors at the end of the day as well as staying behind a touch longer at the end of the day to chat through the various different course options available.