Online College of Art and Design {Review}

Do you have an artist in the family?  – A teen who would love to have a career in the art industry but who does not want to attend an institution to achieve that goal?  Are you looking for a way for your homeschooled daughter or son to achieve an IGCSE or Level Two equivalent in Art and Design without having to do the teaching, marking and assessment of your child’s work?  Well look no further,  The Online College of Art and Design can help!

I am reviewing this product because my daughter uses it.  I was not given any compensation for the review and was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

What is The Online College of Art and Design?

OCAD is a British, online college, which offers all sorts of art courses to all sorts of students, and is perfect for home educated students to explore their creativity.  It offers many courses from Level Two (IGCSE level) to A Level to a Foundation Diploma (worth two A levels).  Each can be paid for up front or monthly with the cost spread over the course’s duration.  It is up to you to organise the final examination (if taking IGCSE or A Level) but I believe you are given a lot of help and direction as to how to do this.

Lillie chose the Level Two Art and Design over the IGCSE one so that she did not have to take any exam.  The Level Two gives the student what she/he needs to progress to their Foundation Diploma which is exactly what Lillie hopes to do.  The Foundation Diploma earns up to 285 UCAS tariff points, allowing the student to progress to university level study.

I am writing today about my daughter’s experience with the Level Two Art and Design qualification

What is Level Two Art and Design?

You can find all the information you could possibly need at the Level Two Art and Design course page  but basically the course is made up of four units spanning two distinctive stages: The Exploratory Stage and the Pathway Stage.

  • The Exploratory Stage

This is the stage Lillie is currently on and contains 17 lessons, each of which can be as long or as short as you wish it to be.  Lillie tends to spend a long time on each lesson because we both enjoy exploring new techniques and supplies.  You can see Lillie’s first lesson which was all about upside down drawing:


and her second lesson where she learnt about values and their importance in producing realistic art:


She is currently learning how to use charcoal and we have both enjoyed where her exploration has taken her with the use of home made charcoal ink and the fun of charcoal dust.  I will be posting on this lesson next week sometime.

She has two years to finish the course, so we do need to make sure she has finished all seventeen lessons by Christmas so that she can move on to the second stage.

  • The Pathway Stage

The pathway stage is the student’s opportunity to pick a specific area to concentrate on which can include: Illustration (including Manga), Textiles, Fashion, 3D (including Sculpture), Animation, Photography, Architectural Design, Digital Art, Printmaking, Fine Art, Craft, Painting.  The student is encouraged to consider a theme to base their project on and Lillie has chosen to explore the twinship between Charlotte and herself.  We bear this theme in mind whilst Lillie is completing each lesson, finding ways to learn which may help with the final project.

How Does a Level Two Art and Design Actually Work?

Once you have enrolled you are sent a welcome pack which we downloaded and printed, as well as a link to the OCAD education portal, which is where all the lessons, tips and helps are situated.  You will also find the Student News and Sharing Resources Forum, a private blog where you can upload your work to and also a place to upload your work to be marked.

You are assigned a tutor who not only teaches but is a working artist in their own right.  The course begins with a one to one session on skype to discuss the students goals and any specific support which they may need.  After that the tutor is available to skype with or email as the student requires.

Lillie has not needed much input as she is fairly independent and she has a very involved and interested parent (who secretly wishes it were her taking the course 🙂  )  Her assigned tutor has often offered help though so I think a student would be well supported if she did need it.

Each time Lillie has completed a lesson she needs to take photos which we put into a word document and then change it into a PDF document (her tutor’s preferred method) and upload it to her submission area.  Lillie then emails her tutor to let her know of the upload and she then marks it.  We have been happy with the marking timing with her first piece being marked within an hour of submitting it!  If her tutor is away or does not mark the work within a couple of days a second tutor is available for marking.  This is important to Lillie because she does not feel able to move on to the next lesson until she has had feedback from the previous lesson.

I think both of us would like her to receive more feedback regarding what she has done well and what she could improve upon.

Would we recommend OCAD?

Yes, we really would.  Lillie is definitely learning a lot and I can see her art improving all of the time.  I appreciate that the depth of study is left up to the student because Lillie has had an enormous amount of fun doing more than is strictly necessary because she has got caught up in the medium she is exploring.  I think she would have struggled if she did not have the freedom of the open ended questions.  Lillie can not wait to start her investigative project into her twinship and hopes to some how incorporate her jewellery making into the final piece.

In fact we love OCAD so much that Lillie intends to take the Level Three Photography course and hopefully the Foundation Diploma

All in all we are very happy with both the course and the service of OCAD, and would have no qualms recommending them.


  1. Thank you for this. My artsy daughter is not quite old enough but I have book marked it for future reference. I didn’t know you could do these as home educators

  2. This was really helpful to me Claire, as I am thinking ahead about the subjects our daughter might want to start in August, so that I can discuss/ pray over it with her during the summer. I had already had a wee look at OCAD a few weeks ago. She is only 13 at the moment (14 at the end of the year), so I don’t think she’s quite mature enough for the course yet. How old was Lillie when she started it?

    1. Literally just turned 14. They are as hand-on or hands-off as you like. Because I enjoy art so much I have been doing it along side her which has meant she has needed the college much less that she would have if I was completely hands off. HTH!

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