And finally that dreaded question all tech-savvy self-guided learners are asking with the emergence of online education:
Will film school become obsolete as all the skills and tools are available for free or low cost online?
Here are some highlights:
- There will always be people who need the structure of a film school; they will need the guidance of an instructor.
- Film schools teach within the parameters of the skill. If you go to light a scene and you don’t have the 6 ton truck of lights, you still need to know how to light the scene. Through school you learn there are many ways to skin a cat. It is about learning to understand where and when you are in the situation. A film school education can lead you to this understanding.
- eLearning offers the place where theory and concept are delivered at your own time and at your own pace and the classroom and the field will be used for doing and making and getting teacher and peer feedback.
- The eLearning massive open online class and highly populated communities are great for the mere numbers. In a class of 20 you may have 3 or 4 highly motivated students, but out of ten thousand students, 2000 are superstars. You are more likely to build a network with many more highly motivated filmmakers. Instead of spending a year trying to figure out an answer, you can just ask someone you met online that knows the answer.
- Every lesson you can think of is online. At first as a teacher, I was worried that they don’t need me anymore.
I realized that people don’t necessarily know what that thing is that they need to know right now. They know there are 10,000 things they can go learn how to do. Without someone experienced seeing what they are doing right now and saying this is your next step. I’ve been there before.
- Film schools offer that mentor or curator role to professionally guide a student’s education.
- Online education will not do away with traditional educators, but it should free them up. The role will change. They must know who the students are and know where they are in their knowledge and experience, so they can work as a guide and give the students a little nudge to move beyond each individual’s developmental level.
Yes, there is still a need for film school, both artsy and technical. It also seems very clear there is huge value in these traditional institutions embracing and helping cultivate online learning resources to work as supplemental education, so the students have a complete education. They should additionally move towards the flipped classroom model so students can use the time in the classroom for primarily doing and making, and teachers can become guides, curators, and mentors.