Reimaginging Text as Video

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We had another good conversation in our Faculty Fellow meeting and at one point we talked about video documentation. We know from focus groups that faculty find video projects intimidating, but actually I kind of do also. We've identified lack of skills and lack of rubrics as a possible source of anxiety, but I wonder if storyboarding is another skill.

The truth is that structuring a video is a skill I am not sure about yet. I know how to write a piece of text document and design a decent graphic, but video somewhat eludes me. What angle should I use? What shots will I need? How do I pull it all together?

If I have a set of clips available I am confident I can create a narrative similar to Five Card Nancy - but what if I have nothing? Granted there are a few genres I can replicate such as a grassroots video or a basic screen capture, but I am not sure how to create a compelling docu-drama with multiple shots. It's very new territory for me.

At some point, I probably will pull it all together, but for now it's somewhat of a mystery because it's not a genre I have mastered yet. Ultimately, this is why I would hesitate to assign a video project...although it's a good idea. I'm still more comfortable with a term paper or PowerPoint slide show.

I'm hoping that the case studies will help me with this issue, but I suspect I am not the only one with this dilemma. Stuart commented that few technical writing classes cover video even though it is increasingly a media writers will be asked to produce content for.

2 Comments

Chris Millet Author Profile Page said:

I think we (Digital Commons, ETS, etc.) need to do a better job of communicating what exactly constitutes a typical student video project, in a higher-level sense. Your perceptions are probably pretty similar to most faculty, and likely the cause of most of their anxiety, which I hear about all the time. When we meet with faculty, we never talk about creating an effective documentary with multiple shots, because that's most likely above and beyond what they or their students are ever going to have the time to do. You're right that storyboarding is fairly critical in the continuum of skills necessary to create an effective video, but I would suggest that if you know how to doodle, you know how to storyboard. In fact, as long as you keep the scope of what you want to do fairly simple, the required skills are pretty basic. And you can get all the learning benefits from very basic video projects.

ELIZABETH J PYATT Author Profile Page said:

I agree that uber-technical is probably not the way to go, but I do think there is an art to planning a sequence of shots even if it's with one camera and it is substantially different from academic writing most faculty are used to.

I think the cases will help some faculty, as will the pilot workshop for the summer camp. I'm really excited with the plan to discuss the ideas of integrating what students find in their research with a storyboard.

I have to say that this problem isn't really a video problem, but a new media problem. Whenever a new instructor comes into the online course development process, we have to spend a significant amount of time helping that person conceptualize how an online course will work whether it's the 1.0 version or the 2.0 version.

I think part of my point is that I have to be more comfortable with the process myself before I can help others. But I think I will get there.

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