V&A Academy online questions

Read on for details on our V&A Academy online courses, including information on course content , our online learning technology , how we use and protect your personal data, and payment information.

Course content

How will my V&A Academy online course be delivered?

V&A Academy online courses consist of video lectures, additional study materials and discussion spaces.

Video lectures are delivered using Microsoft Teams software. You can either watch in real time by joining a Teams 'Live Event', or you can view the lecture later on Microsoft Stream, a private video network.

Additional study materials include lecture handouts, copies of the lecture presentations, further reading lists and other resources.

Discussion spaces may be peer-to-peer, where you will have the chance to share your perspective on a given topic and explore the perspectives of your fellow students, or they may be expert-led, either by a curator or by one of our tutors. Discussions may be moderated by a course administrator.

Unlike some online courses, each V&A Academy online course is a closed online learning environment, accessible only to students, tutors and administrators for that specific course, so whether you are in a Question-and-Answer (Q&A) session or a peer-to-peer discussion, you will always have a good sense of who is in the room.

How many hours a week will I need to set aside?

Courses vary in their intensity. For a 12-week art history course, you will have three hours of lectures a week, plus an hour of extra non-lecture teaching (curator talks, object spotlights, surgery time). Each lecture will come with additional reading to pursue, and you may choose to watch a lecture more than once. There will be lots of discussion to engage with, too, so you should set aside at least 6 – 8 hours a week. Of course, if you have more time to give to it, your course will reward your hard work.

How much time will I get with the course director?

Your course director will be available to answer questions during the Q&A sessions that follow each lecture, and there may also be opportunity to put questions to your course director outside of lectures during 'surgery' times, which will be publicised in advance. Course directors and speakers will not be obliged to make themselves available outside of these set times to answer questions. A member of the Academy team will always be on-hand to answer any technical questions you may have.

How long will I have access to course materials?

After the final session, your course environment will stay open for at least as long as the course duration (a 12-week course will stay open for 12 further weeks after the last lecture. This will allow you plenty of time to consolidate your learning, to explore further, and to continue your discussions. During this time, there will be no further contact from course directors or speakers, but the Academy team will be on hand to facilitate.

What if I'm not in the same time zone? What if I miss a lecture?

V&A Academy online courses are designed to give you a great experience wherever you are in the world. We are based in London, UK, and so live lectures will take place between 10:30am and 16:30pm GMT. But every lecture will be recorded and made available for you to view online within 12 hours of it being given. You will also be able to view the PowerPoint presentations at your own pace. If ever additional course content, such as a curator talk, requires you to be somewhere at a specific time, we will endeavour to schedule the session at a time that works for everyone. If that's not possible, we will run it twice. To see what the timings mean for you, check the World Clock.

Can I submit questions for lecturers if I'm not going to be watching their lecture live?

Yes. We will collect questions ahead of time. We will let you know how to submit those questions when the course begins.

Is there any homework?

There is no mandatory homework on V&A Academy online courses. However, every lecturer will provide avenues for further study, and you will have a lot of opportunity to enter into discussions on the topics at hand with your fellow students. The learning does not stop when the lecture ends.

Will I receive a certificate? Can I earn course credit?

No. V&A Academy online courses are not accredited, and you will not receive a certificate on completion. In some circumstances, we can provide written confirmation of attendance. To request confirmation of attendance, email courses@vam.ac.uk or contact your course administrator.

Can I submit an essay to be marked by the course director?

Not at present. There will be many opportunities for you to contribute your perspective to group discussions, and it may be that your course director may join those group discussions as an equal participant. If you have previously chosen the “certificate option” on an in-person V&A Academy art history course, that option is not currently available on online courses.

Can under-18s attend V&A Academy online courses?

No. Owing to data protection rules, we regret that we are unable to accept students under 18 at this time. Find out more about V&A's programmes for young people here.

Can I opt out of group discussions?

Yes. You are not obliged to participate in group discussions, or to submit questions during question and answer sessions. Manage notifications in Microsoft Teams here.

Technology

How do I access my course?

If you're already on a course, visit teams.microsoft.com and log in. If you can’t remember your log-in details, email courses@vam.ac.uk

V&A Academy online is a closed learning environment built using Microsoft 365 software, including Microsoft Teams. Each class exists as a 'Team' within that environment. To access your class, you will need to log in to Microsoft Teams, which you can do through a web browser or a dedicated app. We will send you login details shortly before your course is due to begin, along with full instructions on how to get going.

How do I reset my password?

If you have forgotten your password, email courses@vam.ac.uk with the words 'Forgotten password' in the subject line, and we will send you a temporary replacement. This may take up to 12 hours, and password resets may not be available outside of GMT office hours.

Is my computer powerful enough?

If your computer is less than 10 years old, it should be powerful enough for you to watch video lectures and access additional materials and discussions. Microsoft Teams requires no more than any other video call software, so if you have used other platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangout or Skype video, your computer will be powerful enough.

It is important to make sure you have the most recent operating system on your computer. Get advice on how to check this for a Mac here.

You can find out what hardware your Windows computer has by going to the Control Panel and clicking on System. On a Mac, simply click the little apple in the top left corner of your screen, and choose About this Mac.

There is a full list of Microsoft Teams technical requirements here.

How fast does my broadband need to be?

Microsoft Teams will adapt to make sure that you get the best possible experience. However, to make sure you can see and hear your video lectures clearly, it's good to have a download speed of over 2MBps. Check your broadband speed here.

Can I use my own email address to log in?

No. When we create your V&A Academy online account, we will create a new email address for you ending @academy.vam.ac.uk – this will serve as your V&A Academy online username. This username, and your temporary initial password, will be sent to your personal email address. During the course, the large majority of communications will be made using Microsoft Teams. You will be able access your V&A Academy online email inbox by visiting outlook.office.com and signing in with your V&A Academy details.

Do I need a webcam?

No. While having a webcam may enable you to join in with video-based class discussion moments, it is not essential.

Can I use my tablet?

Yes. Simply download the Microsoft Teams app in your tablet's app store, and log in using the account details we send you.

I already use Teams for work. Is that a problem?

No. When we create your V&A Academy online account, we will generate a new username and password. This will bring you to the V&A Academy learning environment, which will be separate from any other Teams environments you may already have.

Will other students be able to see my email address?

Other students will be able to see your V&A Academy online email address, but not your personal email address.

Do I have to download Microsoft Teams?

For the best experience, we strongly recommend that you download Microsoft Teams to your computer. However, you are not obliged to do so, since all the relevant functionality can be used via the web version.

How do I download Microsoft Teams?

There are many videos and articles online about how to use Microsoft Teams, and once you sign up for a course the whole Academy team will be on hand to support you if you need help getting started. If you would like to get to know Teams before you start, our favourite video is this one, by Kevin Stratvert.

Can I use Zoom?

No. To ensure that we maintain the highest levels of cybersecurity and IT support, V&A Academy online courses are only delivered via Microsoft software.

Can I do the course anonymously? Or under a pseudonym?

The group dynamic is so important to the happy running of our courses and so we would prefer that students attended under their own name. In exceptional circumstances, we will allow students to attend under a pseudonym. Please contact courses@vam.ac.uk to request this.

Data Protection

How will you use and manage my personal data?

During the course

When you purchase a V&A Academy Online course, we will require some personal data from you to complete the purchase process in our online shop. Data from this (your name and email address) will be used to create a student account for you in our Microsoft 365 environment, so that you can participate in V&A Academy Online activities. You will be able, but not obliged, to add information to your profile, including a picture and a screen name.

If you ask a question during a live webinar lecture via Microsoft Teams, or contribute to online discussions/chat forums, your name and contribution will be recorded and held in Microsoft 365. All lectures will be recorded and made available with the closed course environment. You can choose whether or not to contribute during the session. It is also possible to ask a question anonymously during a lecture by selecting that option in the Q&A interface.

Service usage data

We may also collect identifiable service usage data, such as which resources you have accessed on a certain page and data on which courses you have previously attended. Tutors may invite written contribution from students, to be uploaded via Microsoft Teams. In this case, that work would be stored in an identifiable way, along with tutor comments/responses. Anonymised business insight information may also be collected, for example to see how many students have accessed a certain resource or how much time people spend on certain pages, so that we can make sure we are providing content that students find useful.

Sharing your data

Your data will not be shared outside of the V&A. Students may be contacted by email by V&A course administrators or by their course directors for the following reasons:

  • to provide administrative information
  • to offer strictly relevant promotions for additional learning opportunities (e.g. V&A curator-led sessions)
  • pastoral or technical issues
  • optional surveys about Academy online

Your student data will be retained for up to six years after the last course you attended, at which point your Microsoft 365 student licence will also be revoked. If you come to purchase another course in the future, a new account will be created. Financial data is retained for seven years after your last purchase.

Lawful bases

We are relying on the following lawful bases for processing your data for Academy online purposes:

Contract – for the processing of data for ticket purchase, creation of the student account, administration of the student's relationship with the V&A (e.g. record of courses attended), recording of contributions/names in online cohort chat forums/discussions

Consent – for recording of questions/names in webinars, demographic surveys (if not anonymised)

Legitimate interest - tracking of service usage in order to provide/improve the offer (analytics), communications regarding strictly relevant promotions for additional learning opportunities. We believe it is the V&A's legitimate interest to ensure that the offer we provide to students is appropriate and continually improving by undertaking these activities. We consider the V&A's legitimate interest is not overridden by students' rights and freedoms in these circumstances.

More information

For further information on how the V&A manages personal data, your data protection rights and who to contact in the event of a data protection query, please refer to the full V&A privacy policy.

Payment

How much do the courses cost?

Twelve-week online art history courses cost £395. Other course costs may vary. Check individual courses for more information.

Are there any additional fees?

No. You will not be required to purchase additional materials. There may be opportunities arising during courses for paid optional extras such as trips, but these will never be obligatory.

Can I book over the phone?

No, all bookings must be made online.

Can I pay in instalments?

No, at present we do not offer the option to pay in instalments.

Can I pay in currency other than GBP?

No, at present we do not offer the option to pay in any other currency. We do not currently accept PayPal, Apple Pay, WePay or GPay.

I'm a member. Do I get a discount?

V&A Members receive priority booking on V&A Academy courses, but do not receive a discount.