If you wouldn’t assign a lab report without having written one, why would you assign a video without having created one? How would you go about answering students’ questions? How would you advise on structure, content, format, and citing? How would you know what expectations are reasonable, how much time to allot, what resources to recommend, your criteria for grading?
I get a lot of questions from instructors who want to assign a video project, sometimes even making it an option in lieu of a final exam or paper. Often, the instructor has never actually made a video himself, or at least not one with the requirements he’s asking for. It’s not hard to imagine how this poses all kinds of potential problems regarding support, expectations, and grading. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, I won’t tell…but your students probably will, what with the explosion of social media and rate-my-prof sites. So what’s a well meaning instructor to do?
Make sure you go through all the steps you are expecting of your students so you can lay down a solid structure of support and provide reasonable criteria students must meet to get a good grade. Ask the questions you think they’ll ask. Go to the labs you think they’ll go. Call the support staff you think they’ll call. Google the tutorials you think they’ll Google! Don’t just outsource all the assistance to others. Be the expert! It’s empowering to be able to answer your students questions; in fact, they expect that you can.
Now let’s talk about options, because there is such a thing as too many. You might think you are doing students a favor by letting them loose to use any device and video editor under the sun, but take a step back to understand what that means for your class as a whole. You can’t possibly answer all the questions about every device and software, and neither can we! However, if a majority of students are using the same resources, they’ll be able to help each other rather than overloading you or any other support staff with the more common questions. Plan out exactly which software, hardware, format, locations, etc. you want students to use every step of the way. This narrows down the list of things you (and your students) need to master to achieve the outcome you desire. I’m not saying you should restrict students to following the plan that you’ve laid out. A student can use whatever program she wants, knowing that it’s still her responsibility to make sure that her method will produce the result that meets your assignment’s requirements.
Below, I have outlined what an OSU instructor can provide for her students to ensure smooth sailing throughout a video project. I can’t emphasize enough that this information needs to be posted online for students to reference throughout the project; organize it on Carmen in a way that makes sense for your class structure and lesson plan.
- Understand the information and resources available in So You Want to Make a Video…
- Specify use of iMovie ’11, and assign students to watch relevant tutorials on Apple’s iMovie support website. You can choose a different editor if you like, but be sure to include resources and locations for learning and assistance.
- Labs that have iMovie ’11 and staff to help: SE 370, HH 171a.
- Students may borrow a video camera from Classroom Services or be responsible for understanding how to use their own video recording device.
- Specify which of these elements the movie must contain: opening/closing credits, voiceover, music, sound effects, transitions, photos, video footage, other?
- Specify video length (we recommend 3-5 minutes).
- Specify what format of video you would like to receive (we recommend mp4 or mov).
- Specify how you want the video to be submitted (we recommend physical CD or Media Upload tool).
- Teach students about copyright and fair use law OR simply specify the use of original content only.