January 10, 2014
Film school is not for everyone and it is by no means required in order to make a movie. Plenty of great filmmakers decided to skip a formal education to go straight to making films, but if you’re interested in getting one, but either can’t afford it or don’t have the time or desire to sit in a crowded lecture hall, MIT offers their undergraduate and graduate level film coursework information online for free through OCW (OpenCourseWare), making quality (and very expensive) educational information, including lecture notes, videos, and exams accessible to anyone and everyone without the requirement of being matriculated. Continue on to find out what they’re offering.
For some, going to college just isn’t in the cards. Maybe it’s too expensive. Maybe you just don’t have the time. And while a good professor (as well as fellow classmates) can help you take your education to new heights and depths, a good textbook and a sharp mind can also do wonders (especially if that’s all you have money/time for). That’s what MIT OpenCourseWare provides.
When you go to the MIT OCW site and find their film coursework, it’s laid out like any college course selection, ranging from 100 to 400 level (and above) courses. They offer a pretty wide range of topics, from film history to avant-garde film — a few courses currently on the list are “Intro to Video”, “Philosophy of Film”, “German Cinema 1945 to Present”, and even “American Soap Operas”.
Each course webpage contains a syllabus, which includes an overview of the course, as well as required texts (that’s your golden goose right there), lecture notes with a list of films and pdfs of articles and topics covered in the course, and finally, a calendar and list of assignments (in case you just happen to like writing 3000 word essays for the fun of it). You can also download all of the course materials onto your computer.
Though I haven’t sufficiently vetted these sites, edX and OpenCourseWare Consortium also share coursework from many colleges, including the top universities in America. It’s pretty easy to find film courses on OCW Consortium, since they have a search bar, but navigating edX with its limited subject bar proves to be pretty tricky. (There isn’t a “Film”, “Cinema”, or “Fine Arts” subject available to select.)
When I was in college, I had quite a strong preference for “independent study” (legally it’s called truancy). Instead of going to class, I’d often opt for studying in a comfy chair in a discreet corner of a cafe with my textbook. This is essentially what you’d be doing if you used MIT OCW. You may not walk away with a degree from MIT, but you will be exposed to the materials required to complete the courses needed to get one. There may not be a professor, tutorial, or article to guide you through the texts, but if you’re hungry to learn, MIT’s OCW is an incredible resource. It’s essentially free film school!
What do you think about MIT’s coursework? Do you know of any other resources like this? Let us know in the comments.
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