David Bordwell's Lecture on "How Motion Pictures Became the Movies"

Professor David Bordwell is an acknowledged film scholar.

He is one of the foremost writers and lecturers on film in a tradition that dates from before the internet.

Come to think of it... Professor Bordwell's style of lecturing dates from long before filmmaking. Scholars in medieval universities also read from prepared texts to silent gatherings of passive students.

While I acknowledge his scholarship and his generosity in posting this video, Professor Bordwell's lecture (above) - surveying the evolution of motion pictures from 1908-1920 - feels to me almost like a (well-intentioned but creeky?) artifact from another age - the kind of one-way teaching that the internet may soon disrupt.

Anyone interested in the "emergence of continuity editing and... tableau staging" will certainly learn something and perhaps even enjoy Professor's Bordwell lecture. And its availability online - where anyone with access to broadband can view it for free - is a plus.

But, as someone interested in the future of online education - and specifically in how online tools are about to revolutionize the-exceedingly-backward-looking-world-of-what-passes-for-contemporary-film-education, Professor Bordwell's almost 70 minute video seems to me just another example of how many Old World luminaries don't yet understand how to use the new tools.

Why isn't Prof. Bordwell making more short videos like one he made not so long ago about the techniques filmmakers use to suggest spatial relationships? And why isn't Prof. Bordwell exploring the new tools that give online education its own unique power (e.g., practice testing, software that predicts when each student would most likely benefit from re-encountering a piece of information, etc.)?

With respect, the lack of interactivity and the nearly 70 minute length of Prof. Bordwell's 1908-1920 video suggest that Professor Bordwell is still thinking about film education in Old World ways.

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