MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program is part of MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative, wherein the top-tier school posts extensive course materials online. One of the reasons I named this site NoFilmSchool is because I didn’t think it made sense for me (and I’m not saying this is true for everyone) to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to film school. But what if one of the most respected universities in the country posted their film and media courses online, for free?
MIT’s goal with the Comparative Media Studios program is:
To prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist. We consult regularly with leaders in industry, the arts, public policy, journalism, education, and the nonprofit sector, trying to understand contemporary developments, identify job and internship opportunities, and pinpoint skills and knowledge which will help prepare our students for new opportunities.
Sounds great, right? Potentially-interesting courses available online include:
- Media Industries and Systems
- Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking
- Media in Transition
- Special Topics in Cinematic Storytelling
- Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice
- Game Design
From a cursory exploration of the above courses, it seems some have multimedia components (e.g. videos of lectures, as below) and others do not. Video content might be a curse more than a blessing, however, as lectures recorded on video — free of context and live interaction — are even drier than they would be in a real classroom. Exhibit A:
‘Tis a bit dry, no? In theory, MIT posting many of their courses online represents a great opportunity for (film) students who might not otherwise have the academic pedigree or financial wherewithal to attend the school. But in practice — that is to say, when I actually sift through the materials — I’m immediately reminded of why this site is named what it’s named.
Don’t get me wrong — I think it’s great that MIT is sharing this material free of charge (and under the same creative commons license with which I’ve licensed NoFilmSchool content). But I’m curious to hear what others think about these courses — are any of you interested in virtually enrolling?