fbpx How Master of Digital Media Students Manage Remote Learning | The Centre for Digital Media

How Master of Digital Media Students Manage Remote Learning

Jan 12, 2021 By Elyse Economides

Although remote interactions defined our newest cohort’s first term of studies at Centre for Digital Media, the modified learning format also pushed them to find new ways to connect with their instructors and their peers from afar. The unexpected distance has not diminished the students’ creativity or their commitment to the program. As they begin another term online, we asked our students to share what they learned during their first term of the Master of Digital Media program.

What makes the MDM program unique?

The MDM program is unique as it blends real world projects with course work to make a tall glass of experiential learning, which is a “fire” combination. This means my peers and I learn new ways to apply our skillset to solve actual client problems.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with online learning?

The biggest challenge I had with online learning was not being able to meet up with people for projects or classes. I imagine that meeting my peers and profs from the CDM community in different contexts, like networking or social events, would enrich my overall learning experience. Also I really miss networking, it's just not the same now that I have to supply my own drink...

What was the biggest win you experienced with remote learning?

Aside from connecting with my peers (who come from all corners of the world), my biggest win was managing to help make cool products that each team member was proud of. There was something special about each of us being on the same page regardless of our cultural background, experience, or location.

What advice would you offer to other students learning remotely?

This goes for both in-person as well as remote: you get out what you put in. If you are wanting to connect with your peers or get some good portfolio pieces, put in the effort and you will. This is the perfect time to make mistakes and learn from them!

How do you think MDM students are shaped to be leaders in the digital industry?

My peers and I are taught how to effectively produce digital products by experienced industry leaders. We are the clay, they are the potters shaping us for the digital industry!

Mary Wilson (Cohort 15)

At the end of a fully remote term for our newest cohort of students, we asked: what was their biggest takeaway about remote collaboration?

What makes the MDM program unique?

Finding a good job is one of graduate students' critical concerns, especially international students. Fortunately, in the MDM program, I have many opportunities to build strong networks as all the students are in contact with different clients and CDM family members, including previous cohorts of graduates. Furthermore, getting an internationally recognized qualification, which is a collaboration between four highly-respected and well-known universities, cannot be disregarded.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with online learning?

For most of the students, the biggest challenge is the difference in time zones when they need to make a quick decision, and their team member is asleep as it might be 4 in the morning in his/her country. However, I found that my biggest hurdle was overcoming the lack of collaborative software tools available for when two team members simultaneously want to work on a project.

What advice would you offer to other students learning remotely?

As everything exists in a digital version, being organized helps you find the files you need immediately. Imagine you are studying online for 2 years. How many files should you need to go through when you want to find specific information that would help you continue the project you are working on?

How do you think MDM students are shaped to be leaders in the digital industry?

Being a leader requires being a good follower and gaining vibrant experiences to prepare you to serve as a leader. Students learn all required skills, tips, and tricks during the MDM program in a very different way from other academic programs. Since we are exposed to real situations, we experience how to respond spontaneously to various circumstances, and get hands-on experience stepping into leadership roles.

How has CDM supported you through the process?

Whenever I ask for something, I get a quick and tremendously empathetic response. The staff and faculty are always there for me! They provide positive feedback and energy, which makes my day, and helps promote positive mental health. I want to take this opportunity to thank them all one more time!

Al Kadivar (Cohort 15)

MDM Cohort 15 on Zoom

We welcomed our 15th cohort of MDM students via Zoom.

What makes the MDM program unique?

The program is unique because it is a project-based masters program, designed to mimic a real world digital media experience and has the potential to support students with landing future employment through exposure to various companies in the industry.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with online learning?

My primary online learning challenge: Cohesiveness among teammates. For my cohort, some of my classmates are restricted from traveling to Vancouver, and thus many of our teams struggle with time zone differences as students are currently remote learning from all over the world. This challenge also makes it hard to get to know each other quickly and interferes with building trust in and confidence about each others’ abilities and strengths. We also are not able to learn from each other as easily as if we were working in person and were in the same city for collaboration, so we’re looking forward to the day when in-person learning is possible again.

What was the biggest win you experienced with remote learning?

Remote learning is the new norm, so getting used to virtual communications, and utilizing and trying many different platforms has set me up to be ready to work in a remote environment and be a standout among my peers.

What advice would you offer to other students learning remotely?

To be frank, suck it up, time will pass, things will get done, and things will change again. Stay positive, and trust your teammates.

How do you think MDM students are shaped to be leaders in the digital industry?

Leaders need hard skills but also a strong set of soft skills and the MDM program includes plenty of opportunities for students to practice and sharpen these critical skills. Although it takes time in the field for leaders to learn and become effective role models, the MDM program provides students who are aspiring leaders of tomorrow a suite of useful tools to help them become more adept at facing the challenges that come with leadership.

How has CDM supported you through the process?

The staff are always available when I reach out to them - at all hours of the day, everyday. Students are extremely well supported in this aspect. The combination of this direct access to professors and a supporting team of instructional assistants has helped our cohort immensely this term.

Each member of the team keeps individual students’ needs in mind. For example, Ryan (CDM’s Recruitment and Admissions Officer) reached out to inform me that I might qualify for a particular scholarship that was taking applications early on in the term and told me the deadline to apply was approaching.

Anna Chung (Cohort 15)