Friday, July 21, 2006

M.A. in Media Studies: On Campus, Online, or Any Combination Thereof

The New School: After a summer rain, August 2005

Several classmates, who I've kept in touch with since first starting the graduate program in 2004, have moved to NYC to complete their last year on campus. They have very mixed feelings about their experiences from going to an online-only status to being an on campus student. I'll go in-depth on the experiences of these students in another post.

On campus students residing in NYC also take the online courses as a combination because of the utter convenience of taking the course at any time or any place with Internet accesss, or simply because a particular course is only offered online and not on campus. I heard rumors of some on campus students commenting, "How come only the online students get to choose Visual Storytelling." For students not familiar with this course, it is taught by Shari Kessler, a graduate of the M.A. in Media Studies program, with a remarkable resume as an editorial photographer and visual media consultant. On campus students in NYC who also take online classes, find time to log into class online and participate during the day while during their lunches or breaks, or late at night after tucking their children into bed, even in the wee hours of the morning for students who are night owls. Students who reside in New York State but not in NYC also take the courses on an online-only basis, just as would an out-of-state or overseas student.

When I took the course, "Web Design and Production," my professor, Joerg Muller, taught this class through the University portal in NYC while residing in Spain. Students attended class all over the U.S. and also overseas. Imagine a course with students logging in from Bangkok, London, Rome, Vienna, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and even New York City! The possibilities are endless. The program brings students together from all over the world. Thanks to the Internet, this global cyber classroom is possible. The future of education is happening now.

I am currently taking a summer graduate course with Professor Robert Berkman, "The New New Media: Weblogs, Wikis, & Emerging Social Media," and we started a class Wiki which we hope will continue to evolve and eventually become a staple to the M.A. in Media Studies program so that new and current students may contribute their knowledge and experiences of the program. The class Wiki is a living document, subject to change at any time. There are plans in the near future to integrate our class Wiki into Wikipedia.


Following is what was written about the online aspect of the M.A. in Media Studies program in our class Wiki. As with any Wiki entry, it is subject to change and therefore evolution. I thought I'd share the current entry:

"The Internet is changing the future of education and revolutionizing the classroom. Imagine a unique cyber-classroom with students from all over the U.S. and the world.

The Media Studies and Film Department offers the option of an online program of study to students who wish to complete their graduate degree in its entirety online. Online students attend classes from their home on their own schedule, or anywhere in the world where they can access the Internet and participate in class discussions via the New School Online University "Portal." This option is well-suited for students who reside in other states, live outside of the United States, are not able to move to NYC to complete the graduate degree on campus, work full-time, or have children. Many students who reside in New York state but not in NYC take the courses. Online courses are also open to students attending the regular program on the New School's campus. Many on campus students take the online courses to augment their regular schedules because of its utter convenience. The flexibility of the online courses enable students who work full-time during the day or have families to take care of at night to easily take courses at times suited for their busy schedule because the online courses are taught asynchronously. Thus, students can "attend" their virtual classroom at any time of the day or night. The online courses are the same courses taught on campus. The only difference is the "experience."

Many students who reside outside of NY state will do a combination of online work during the school year and attend a summer session on campus to complete the required production sequence. This is especially crucial for those students who choose a film, video, or audio production sequence."



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