Master of Digital Media students come from all over the world, 60-70% of our students are international.
Because the Master of Digital Media program focuses on soft skills—like teamwork and project management—language and communication are key. And it’s difficult to build soft skills without proficient English Language skills. That’s where Pre-MDM comes in. Pre-MDM is a qualifying program for students who don’t meet the English Language requirements for the MDM program. It is an 8-month program that helps to improve students’ language skills while immersing them in the language and industry of digital media.
I chatted with the Pre-MDM instructor, Dr Aida Osian, via email about the program and who it’s for, what students can expect, and what she’s most excited about in digital media today.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I come from a double academic background, I’ve been both a teacher and a researcher for more than a decade. This has shaped the way I set up my learning environment—a fusion of interactive communication and activities that involve individual reflection and creativity.
My main studies, a BA in English Language and Literature, an MA in Communication and a PhD in Aesthetics and Literary Theory, have helped me see that “language skills" cover a lot more than verbal/non-verbal communication, or the basic four: listening, reading, speaking and writing. They involve cultural exchange and adaptability, and what’s more, they transfer individuality as a whole.
Later on, I became interested in acquiring a set of technical skills, and I completed studies on web and iOS development. This combination has led to our current pre-MDM language curriculum, which is tailored to our students’ apparent technical communication needs. We are aiming to teach employable language.
2. What is Pre-MDM? Who is it for?
Pre-MDM is about mastering the language of digital media professionals, set in a simulated work environment, with direct applicability and practical outcomes. The target audience includes students who are interested in joining the MDM program, once their language requirements have attained the necessary levels.
Pre-MDM covers two semesters and is quite an intensive program. We learn to pitch our ideas, to write the most important document types in the local industry, and to communicate our thoughts clearly and naturally. We also go on field trips and have fun. This is how we shape great team-members within a multicultural setting.
3. What can students expect in your classroom?
The most important skill set we develop here bridges the gap between students and instructors, promoting interaction and active learning, taking the knowledge we have to teach outside the classroom and into the world, empathizing and sympathizing with one another through sharing newcomer experiences, and best practices to adjust to a new culture and professional environment.
4. What do you like about the CDM?
The CDM is first and foremost a multicultural environment, welcoming and inclusive on all levels. The staff is helpful, friendly, and you can expect they will give you their full support. Students work in modern spaces, use the latest technology, and participate in a variety of events.
5. Why should someone choose Pre-MDM over an ESL course?
Pre-MDM is not an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, it is an English for Specialized Purposes (ESP) program.
The workshops we teach here cover practical activities, technical documentation, team management, project simulations and other important ingredients in the digital media world. Currently, the students admitted into the Pre-MDM program receive a conditional offer to the Master of Digital Media program. Once they graduate from Pre-MDM and meet MDM’s language requirements, students enter the MDM program the following Fall.
In the future, we intend to target a wider audience for the program, including ESL professionals who work in technical fields and wish to better their English communication skills at the workplace.
6. What are you most excited about in digital media today?
Probably the new web-teaching platforms that allow for a wider range of learning paths and offer customized study options for all walks of life. The new virtual classrooms and lecture halls are getting more and more intuitive, user-friendly, and deliver course content quite efficiently.