In moving its CE classes online, RISD opens the floodgates to passionate new students from across the US and around the globe.

When RISD’s Continuing Education (CE) staff scrambled to transform tried-and-true studio classes into effective virtual learning experiences last spring, they had no idea what the long-term expansion opportunities would be. New data shows that although the pandemic meant canceling classes for young artists under 12 as well as the on-campus Pre-College program for rising high school juniors and seniors, enrollment is skyrocketing among teens and adults from across the US and around the globe. Teen enrollment is up by 86%, adult enrollment increased by 30% and more than 145 new adult learners have signed up for certificate programs now available online. And while most of that growth was domestic, international students who joined the CE roster come from 43 countries worldwide.

“This move to digital is so exciting,” says Director of Program Planning and Development Mariah Doren. “After pivoting quickly last spring, we’re now looking at how we can make our online presence permanent by building up the infrastructure, moving to a more user-friendly learning management system and improving the quality of our video tutorials.”

“The moment we were able to expand beyond our usual radius, we opened the gate to a huge number of people who were waiting to be a part of the RISD community,” says Doren.

Work (above) by CE online student Laura Jones, who created this piece in a class called Surface Design into the Marketplace, taught by Katy Dika 03 AP.

Original article published 01/14/2021