Brittany Rafalak addresses the question–from your experience using online education to learn about filmmaking, what has been helpful and what education technology has really missed the mark?
On the positive side, working adults can do complete or partial online program and continue to work and provide for themselves and their family while finishing a degree. Fully online programs allow students who are half-way across the world to get a degree from a program without having to relocate. They can get a degree from a prestigious university without having to move to the city.
On the downside, students of partial or fully online programs do not have the same in person connection with their peers. Second, faculty are not always easily available, and they may rarely respond to emails.
Another benefit is it is easier for everyone’s voice to be heard in the discussion groups on an online platform like Blackboard and Canvas. The teacher will ask a question related to reading of another media and students will have to answer the question in the discussion group and peer review two other people’s comments.
Brittany agree that the film business is often not taught at film schools. She gives an example of some popular misconceptions.
People say if you use 15 seconds of a song it is not illegal, but it is.
The moderator makes the point of how Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs are having a very hard time getting students to complete courses,
Between 3-6% of people who enroll complete the courses. Can you Imagine running a class, a live class at a university where 3% finish.
Possible Conclusions: The accountability piece is one of the biggest challenges and this issue really separates the hybrid or mixed eLearning film school classes that are tied to a college degree from the Massive Open Online Classes (MOOC), asynchronous courses that are completely self-guided, and the students has no clear consequence or reward.
At this point, the most proactive, hungry film students are finding additional education from websites, blogs, and online courses. These are the most likely students to find, sign up for and complete these asynchronous online courses.
Asynchronous film courses will be established only when the mainstream film school buy-in and adopt MOOCs and other independent online education as valuable resources that complement and supplement what the schools are not covering in the classroom.
Brittany Rafalak is a filmmaker and a graduate student in the Media Studies Graduate Program at The New School. More than half of her course work was online and she served as the Teaching Assistant for online courses. Brittany recently finished a short film, Consumption, which premiered in March 2015 and was accompanied by a live, improvised musical score.
Part 4 will be published soon! Open discussion questions.