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Friday, September 21, 2012

MatadorU- First Impressions!!

I attended the MatadorU orientation this past Monday.  It lasted about 50 min. and other than the host, Kat, it included seven other individuals from the US and international locations.  However,  I came into the Skype session a few minutes late and missed most of the introductions.  The most important point that came from the orientation was that in addition to completing the chapter assignments, I need to take advantage of the expertise of the various faculty on board, and build relationships with my fellow students. This especially holds true for the filmmaking course, as it's fairly new. The open forums on various topics and faculty feedback within 24-48 hours makes it possible.

The hardest part of the course was the pre-course assignment to set up a blog.  I'm very green to Word Press, and I've heard so many horror stories.  I had similar trouble with my set-up until I learned that certain features were not available.  I had a basic version, and needed to stick with the simple design templates.  I was cool with that, but had to dig into the forum topics to figure this out.

The readings have been interesting, thus far. The terminology section was helpful in the beginning, and then a history lesson ensued.  This held true for both the writing and filmmaking courses.  Knowledge is power, and some of the interesting facts learned about the revolution of travel journalism as a writer and filmmaker became relatively clear. There are also a list at the end of each chapter of recommended readings offline (ie..books) and online.

I finished my first writing assignment with relative ease, but have not posted the assignment. It's advised to sit at least 24 hours and then go back to refine before posting.  I anticipate posting by tomorrow.  The video assignment will be completed by Sunday.  You can follow my assignment postings on my MatadorU blogsite.

I'm enjoying myself so far. I hope to improve my writing and visual storytelling, and from what I've learned so far, I know these courses will set me apart from other travel bloggers. I definitely recommend MatadorU for anyone SERIOUSLY considering travel journalism of any kind- photography, writing, and/or filmmaking.   


  1. I've been interested about taking this course and still debating if it's something I should invest in. Love the updates of how it's going...keep me posted on how it's going and if in the end if it was worth the cost.

  2. Now that it's been a year... looking back, do you still feel the same about the course, community, etc.? Positive, neutral, negative?

    1. Actually, about half a year :P, but still :)

  3. Hi Luke,

    I have not completed a lesson in a little more than 3 months bc of work committments; but overall I have truly enjoyed each and every lesson. If I recall correctly, I've completed 5 lessons in writing and 4 lessons in filmmaking. My goal is to complete the 12 lessons in each area by the end of the year. I'll have more time in the Summer.

    The only frustration was when they changed their website platform and it made it difficult to post lessons, but once the bugs and kinks were worked out, it was relatively easy. Another change was that you only get instructor feedback on lessons 1, 6, and 12 unless you specifically ask for feedback from an instructor on the other lessons. Other than that, the lessons have been helpful in improving my sister and I filmmaking, editing, and writing skills. We've bought a new camera and sound equipment based on their recommendations, and it was very beneficial when my sister and I were invited to the Oscars Red Carpet to film and blog. The quality of our video rivaled people with equipment worth thousands and we paid less than thousand for our Canon T31 and Zoom H1 voice recorder.

    A final positive is that if the policy remains the same, what you pay for the course(s) is for lifetime. So you can go at your own pace, repeat lessons, or obtain new updated course information at anytime.

    Good luck! All the Best!


  4. I'm seriously considering this.. I've been wanting to be a travel writer since I was a child, apprehensive in the fact that I went down a completely different career path. Though I think I should take the leap of faith and go for it!
    Good to read about your experience :)

  5. I'm on the last lesson, and I've truly enjoyed it. I find myself going back to past lessons all the time as well. It'll definitely push you to think about the direction you want to take in your career. Like...I can do this. If you haven't done so, please check out my MatadorU blog to the right- Traveler Writer Filmmaker where I've posted my assignments. All the best!!