Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reader's Question: How Social Is AM?

For me, the point of this blog is not to be a commercial for Animation Mentor - it's a way that we can hopefully get some fun and free animation ideas and info out there to the animation community that has been so overwhelming supportive of us, and it's a way that I can more directly interact with you guys and establish more of a dialogue...

So, while I don't want this blog to turn into some kind of Animation Mentor infomercial, I did think that this question that Cuby posted was worth talking about:

Cuby: "[An in-person animation school] would be a great opportunity to socialise and get to know people who are living in my area. However, as I see it, with AM, although I'm sure you get to know new people, I probably wouldn't meet any of these people, especially as I'm living way down here in New Zealand."

Hi Cuby! I'll try to keep this short, but to be completely honest, the thing that has surprised me (by far!) the most about AM, is how social people have become through the school. We did try our best to recreate the experience you are looking for, but the results far surpass my expectations. We've had students who've never met before AM become best friends, we have couples that have formed, and even marriages now. It's totally shocking to me, but it's also awesome to see!

Interaction with your peers was very important to Bobby, Carlos, and I, because animation school is where the three of us met, and we learned so much from each other (way more than we ever learned in class, actually), and so we really push the interaction aspects of the school.

I think it works so well because of the difference between learning online vs. sitting in a classroom. In a real class, you sit in a room for 3 hours, and you might talk to the person sitting next to you a bit at the beginning of class. The rest of the time, you're probably listening to a lecture. Then you say goodbye to the people around you, leave, and go do your homework.

AM is exactly the opposite. Our students interact constantly, and by constantly, I mean that there are students on the site 24 hours per day from (currently) 56 different countries. (87 if you include the graduates on the AM alumni site). That means there is always someone to hang out with, someone to get feedback from, someone to ask questions, someone to use our chat tools with, or someone to just joke around with. Students are also heavily encouraged to constantly review other student's assignments and give them feedback.

Because of this, our students interact much more than you might interact with people in a typical classroom setting, and I believe that's why the students have become such an amazingly tight family, and such strong bonds have formed.

It totally blows me away!

Anyway - just wanted to answer your question. I hope that didn't sound too much like an AM advertisement, but it's an aspect of the school that we're extremely proud of, so I thought I'd throw my opinions out there...

Thanks so much for stopping by, thanks for the question, and thanks for reading!

shawn :)


Anirudh said...

totally agree with shawn on that...being a student myself...whatever shawn has said is bang on...infact i am glad AM is online and not like the conventional classroom setting medium...

Copper said...

Hey Shawn, I just wanted to say thanks for writing your tips & tricks eBook.

I'm not an professional animator (or even an AM student... I'm just in high school), but I love animation and hope to be an one some day.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that your eBook is really awesome and helpful. It really inspired me in a lot of ways, so thanks again!

Cuby said...

Thanks shawn for answering my question. That's really helpful and clears things up a bit. In the future I'll make sure my questions are purely about animation. :)

Thanks again and keep up the awesome blog!

Cristin McKee said...

One of the great things about AM, is that for shy people like me, you participate waaaay more than you would in a classroom. So people get to know you, you get to know them, you ask more questions, and it really breaks the ice and helps you feel more comfortable about approaching these people in real life.

In fact, even a mentor or an AM student you haven't interacted with much, you still have that opening of "Hey, I'm at AM too!" to get a conversation started.

I think I missed out on a lot in college because I was too shy to engage as much as I would now. AM helps me make up for lost time. ;)

Unknown said...

I'm just finishing Class 1 at AM and it's been the best learning experience I've ever had. The community at AM is really great and supporting. And you manage your own time. And there is always someone there to talk to and ask their opinion. It's just great :)

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