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The Pre-MDM Program Goes Remote! How We’re Navigating Online Learning for Digital Media Education

Oct 20, 2020 By Elyse Economides

The current pandemic is wreaking havoc with our day-to-day life. Now more than ever, we need to bring into play our originality and resourcefulness, and find a rhythm to settle in, communicate in new ways, Zoom-teach, Zoom-react, and Zoom-manage our projects. Here’s how we’re tackling the challenge for our Pre-Master of Digital Media program (Pre-MDM).

How are we handling it at the CDM?

Both our faculty and our pre-MDM students got creative this fall semester at the Centre for Digital Media (CDM). We have our students’ best interests at heart and we will not compromise on the quality of our teaching. Our remote face-to-face interactions have been going smoothly. Each session delivers a combination of open conversation around digital media topics and our perspectives in a changing world, presents new materials, and promotes working in groups and exchanging expertise.

What does a remote Pre-MDM program look like?

While many of the beloved aspects of the program have been maintained (small class size, opportunities for one-on-one mentorship), we’ve also risen to the challenge of offering the program remotely by gathering the best resources for our students to use.

We employ the best digital tools

We combine readily available digital tools to deliver our pitches and presentations in real-time (Zoom, Discord, Miro, Canva, Movavi, Venngage, Explain Everything interactive whiteboard). We polish our technical writing and free-style daily journal writing on Canvas, Evernote, Google docs and the popular Whatfix “balloons.”

We work collaboratively

We utilize online collaborative tools to facilitate brainstorming, ideation and prototyping as part of our projects. We implement task-based learning and make use of interactive quiz and flashcard generators to retain more difficult lexical chunks in our English for Digital Media class.

We prioritize well-being

We make sure we take breaks and rest between sessions. Our policy this fall semester is based on avoiding Zoom fatigue and adopting a culture of “support and challenge” for our students. We remind them that we are here for them during times of uncertainty, but that they are still expected to be fully involved and bring their best to the program.

What has improved compared to previous years?

We have an exciting update! This year, upon successful completion of the Pre-MDM program, students are no longer required to take an external English language test to gain acceptance to the MDM program. Instead of spending time on test prep, we can focus on improving students’ English technical communication skills and digital media vocabulary so they can thrive in the Master of Digital Media (MDM) program.

What our students say has improved this year:

  • Easier to get to class on time
  • Able to complete extra activities
  • More time to evaluate and incorporate instructor feedback into coursework
  • Spending more quality time with family and friends
  • More focus on technical English language mastery, as opposed to IELTS testing preparation

What faculty say they’re focusing on this year:

  • Perfecting online teaching techniques and methods
  • Integrating a variety of digital tools seamlessly into everyday work
  • Learning how to build rapport with our students remotely

Great Northern Way Campus

What do we miss about campus life?

Although we’ve successfully transitioned to offering a fully remote program, there are still a few things that we all miss about being on our beautiful Great Northern Way campus.

  • In-person interactions and casual chats after class
  • Taking field trips around Vancouver and learning about the Canadian way of life
  • Being able to do activities and prototype with physical materials

While this fall semester is a new challenge, it’s one we are willing to face and use as a great opportunity to learn new skills. At the CDM, change is no longer feared; change is good!

Interested in the Pre-MDM program? We’re accepting applications now for Fall 2021. Have questions about the program? Check out our webinar schedule for upcoming information sessions. Learn more about the program instructors: Aida Osian & Jason Elliott.