This project successfully enabled academic staff to produce their own threshold concept videos for use by students on the final year English Module, American Specialisms.
This module is split in to two halves – American Regionalism with Stephanie Palmer and American Nuclear Literature with Daniel Cordle. They each created a video to introduce their section of the module – Introduction to Local Colour versus Regionalism by Stephanie, and Introduction to the Nuclear Uncanny by Daniel. This latter video was created as the first of three videos, the second and third of which expand on the points raised in the first.
Production of videos centred around the use of PowerPoint (previously referred to as Office Mix), to collect and arrange content, including text, images, audio files for narration, and video. To provide consistency in terms of the visual appearance of each video, the LTSU provided a template PowerPoint file to “top and tail” each video. This provides an opening title screen, along with a closing screen to give credits, and further reading, with content inserted into slides in between.
Originally, a length of 2-3 minutes was planned for each video. Daniel had a significant amount of material that related to the subject of the Nuclear Uncanny, so we decided to compromise, by producing a short (4 minute) introductory video, as the first in a series of three, the second and third being slightly longer, and allowing Daniel to go in to greater detail.
After being given the opportunity to watch the first video, we sought to get some feedback from students. In response to a quick five question multiple response survey, all respondents gave positive responses to each question. For example, to the first question, they all strongly agreed with the statement that The video provided a good introduction to the concept of the nuclear uncanny. From this we decided to continue to apply the formula we had developed for the first, to subsequent videos.
Our plan to seek further feedback from students in the form of a second survey was not considered appropriate; the project ran behind schedule, and this would have meant asking students for feedback during exam time.
This project achieved its principle goal, which was to prove that it was possible to support academic staff in the production of engaging video resources to introduce key concepts to students. We did this with the use of basic, simple to use hardware, software that staff were already familiar with, and the use of a template that could readily be used to create a common look and identity for the videos produced.
This model of supporting staff in the production of video resources is now being applied to a project in Heritage Studies within the School of Arts and Humanities. Here, teaching staff are looking to create materials to help support incoming Chinese students with limited English language skills to adapt to living and studying in the UK.
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