Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thoughts on creating a referencing video

I've recently been working on a referencing video aimed at trying to make some of the support we give through small group workshops and tutorials more available to large groups of students (who are pressured for time) and for our distance and part-time learners.

It's the first time I've done this kind of thing so it's been a bit of a process! Here's a few thoughts on it by way of a (very informal) self-evaluation of the resource:

1) Weigh up the Cost 'vs Benefit - The thing I'm most referring to here is the time it's taken to create. Partly this is because of this being a new process to me. Learning the steps to go through. Setting ILOs, writing a script, sourcing images, capturing screencasts - not to mention all of the audio visual recording, editing and producing - all take time. All of the literature I've read and background to building this resource suggest that videos are a potentially useful learning aid in this situation, BUT in the absence of any student feedback (yet) there is a bit of a leap of faith involved.

Some ideas for saving time:

  • re-use wherever possible and save everything (clips, images, audio, sources) not only will this help to save time but it will give any future productions a consistent look and feel
  • engage others: this might just be talking to others about what you're doing. Others may have quicker ways to do things or even know of existing resources that you can use instead
  • learn the software: a bit of time spent looking at camtasia help files has saved alot of time and wasted effort

In short lessons learnt from this video will hopefully make the process quicker in the future but I think it's important to evaluate potential benefits before chucking loads of time and energy at this...

2) People are great! Response from academic and professional colleagues in terms of development support and feedback has been fab. I don't just mean in terms of positive comments and encouragement (although that helps), it's also been really useful to get suggestions for improvements - especially in light of the cost vs benefit thing above.

3) Be bold! I mean in terms of style. It's interesting that I've had conflicting feedback about some of the style elements of the video. The conclusion I've come to is that its important to have confidence in your own style. There is a balancing act here. Obviously it's important that the resource isn't offensive, but be cautious about removing all of the touches that make it yours. I guess the analogy here is with face-to-face teaching. We all bring something of ourselves to the classroom (or at least should do). A funny story or a personal experience here and there help to bring the subject alive and engage learners. I think if we try and strip all of this away from recorded media there is a real danger (just as in face-to-face teaching) that learners will disengage with the resource.

That's it for this post. As I said, it's the first time I've done anything like this so I'd love to hear if anyone has any hints, tips or experiences to share...

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