Friday, June 23, 2006

Online Classes

Ready to Jump Ship writes in...

As someone in their late 20s with 3 degrees already behind them (B.A., J.D., Master's), it seems somewhat reckless to embark on yet another degree. I don't have responsibilities that would prevent me from doing so, but I want to make sure the desire for the M.F.A. is not just a whim. I'm writing creative fiction again and reading tons as usual. I have worked for a couple years as a lawyer, so I'm not completely academified yet. And I don't think I'm just in search of another degree. I was planning on a Ph.D. in my Master's field (urban planning and policy) and had already settled on an academic life, when my nagging creativity began to take hold again.

Basically, I would like to test the waters. I've researched both the UCLA Extension program and Gotham Writer's Workshop. Other than a modest price differential, it's difficult to discern a difference. I'd like to take an on-line class or two before deciding on whether the M.F.A is the right step. Any advice on which program to choose? I suppose I can't ask how one knows that the writing life is for them.

RtJS, we had a number of people express doubts about the Gotham Writers Workshop in a previous post. I'd heard good things about it, but now I'm unsure.

UCLA Extention has a good reputation. I know a person whose taken fiction and screenwriting there, and he liked it a lot.

One more to add to the mix now: Berkeley Online Extension.

As with all of these options: the teacher matters the most. But the question is: How do we find out who the good teachers are? Maybe the better question is: Which programs have the most consistently gifted teachers?

In any case, do any of our readers have insights on these programs? Thanks.

1 comment:

Taffeta Star said...

I've been taking classes through UCLA Extension for about a year now. I've been really satisfied with the program. I am 27 credits into their 36 credit certificate. A good way to choose a class with them is to look at the instructor bio's and see who has won an instructor award. (In my experience, those instructors really earned those awards and continue to be excellent.)