Panel: Do you even need to go to film school? Conclusions! (Part 5) #elearner #Pi8 #PTW15 #onlineeducation

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Will Online Education Transform Filmmaking? Brittany Rafalak (Part 3) #elearner #Pi8 #PTW15

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?

 

Highlights:

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.

Will Online Education Transform Filmmaking?- Summer Steele (Part 2) #eLearner #Pi8 #PTW15 @Summer_Steele

Summer Steele addresses the question–what student needs is the traditional model of film school falling short of addressing?

Highlights: 

She begins by explaining the different between the artsy film school and the technical film school. In a two-year program, they don’t have the time to teach the student everything.  The schools have to choose a focus.  The advantage of online education is as a supplement to this single track approach.

No school is perfect in terms of teaching film education. If you go to the traditional artsy school your education is going to lack in terms of the technical part….

Film schools also do not usually address the business piece. For example, they don’t teach you how to set up an LLC or show you how to find a distributor or to get financing. But a lot of this knowledge is available on online learning sources.

Audience Member makes the point:

The artsy schools tend to create scholars, the technical schools make participants, [tradesman]..for both filmmakers and people doing Web 2.0 and make moving pictures.

Another audience member counters that traditional schools offer the opportunity to establish a network and develop a dialog between artists. Traditional education buys students time to experiment and to find their voice.

Conclusion: 

Maybe the opportunity here is for the school to recognize their limitations, and embrace these supplemental online filmmaking education sources, to partner with them and to promote them to become better and better because the ultimate goal is to develop great filmmakers.

Summer Steele is on the Digital Filmmaking & Video Production faculty at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. She earned an MA in Screen from the Drama Centre London. Her production experience includes directing, producing, and writing “Growing up Chevy” (shortlisted, New York Film Festival). She produced and directed “Peachy Delicious” (Film Directing 4 Women Int’l Film Festival, London). Most recently Summer has joined the Clean Slate Project as Co-Producer. A script-to-screen program that works with underprivileged children.

Part 3 will follow shortly and explores how online education for filmmaking falls short.