The Art Institutes: Making Courses Matter

During the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions had to reinvent instruction on the fly. Though less than ideal, one positive aspect of this disruption was the opportunity it supplied to refresh the online teaching and learning experience. In the summer of 2020, Wiley partnered with The Art Institutes (Ai) in a project to quickly reimagine several courses put online during emergency remote instruction before the start of the next academic year.



Unsatisfied with the level of student engagement during emergency remote instruction, The Art Institutes set a goal of defining design tenets that would drive consistency, relevancy, and excitement in the online learning experience as well as guide future design and operational decisions about how to structure and deliver instruction.

At Wiley, we believe in distinct learning experiences that are highly customized to the needs of the faculty, the goals of the students, and the core values of the institution.

The courses included in this project all come early in a student’s undergraduate journey.

Feedback during the first run of these courses revealed that students were not compelled by the course experiences. Collaborating with Ai faculty and program stakeholders, our designers dug into the core question: "What motivates The Art Institutes students?” The group’s conclusion is that Ai students are “creative warriors” who are extremely motivated to learn about their individual area of study but may need help seeing the connections between the foundational courses and their creative passions in order to be engaged in those courses.


Working alongside The Art Institutes faculty developers, all of whom are creative practitioners as well as academics, Wiley authored course-specific videos that connected the “why” of each course to students’ future success. For example, the team created a video that walks students through several ways in which writing is essential to success in a variety of disciplines. A painter may need to write gallery copy. A sculptor may need to write a grant application. Using fresh, modern design constructs and creating connections to the disciplines that drew students to The Art Institutes in the first place, the videos make an argument for the students’ attention.


At Wiley, we believe in distinct learning experiences that are highly customized to the needs of the faculty, the goals of the students, and the core values of the institution. Collaborating with the client and using our capabilities in media production and storytelling, we can create relevant, meaningful learning for students.