(Re-)Starting a Project

I’d like to get back into some professional development and scholarship of teaching and learning work I started several years ago but have put on the back burner since. I will focus on developing best practices for higher ed faculty who use video assignments in their classes, but are not trained to teach video making.

First, my sense from talking to my immediate colleagues is that many faculty do already use video assignments, and a decent number of others are interested but not sure how to begin. This suggests to me that there is considerable need to provide resources for them, and yet such resources are not readily available. There are certainly general-use tutorials available, both free-to-use via sites like Youtube, and for-pay through sites like Lynda.com, but these do not pay any attention to pedagogical matters or questions of instructional design. Especially if your institution does not have an information technologist with instructional design experience on staff, or the staff so designated do not have specific experience with video, the need will remain high and unmet. So there is room here to develop more resources for this group, and it’s clear to me the group will only grow into the future.

To do that, first I’d like to return to the piece I wrote for Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier way back in 2013, and update and/or expand on what I wrote there. I had identified some concerns I was hearing regularly from colleagues about challenges of video assignments, and I had developed a kind of loose typology of approaches to integrating them into a course. That piece today is not only somewhat dated given how video making has grown in the intervening years, but also lacked depth due to the constraints of the format.

What I’d like to do is re-blog here much of that piece, with the goal of updating and expanding on each part in the hopes of not only developing it with an eye toward more scholarly rigor, but also sharing some thoughts and ideas against which others may comment and engage, as well as providing a place from which I may draw material for future writing. I’ll start these posts in earnest next week, and am hoping to stay on a daily schedule until that work is complete.

I also want to survey the current landscape, something I did not really do when I first started this work, and analyze its contours. I’ll be developing a survey/interview instrument made up of questions that should help clarify where faculty are at today with video assignments. Some of the questions motivating that part of the project include:

  • What do faculty who assign video today think about it ? How do they understand the relationships between video assignments and the learning they want their students to gain? What do they see as the relationship between video and other media, especially writing, as tools for students to express their knowledge, thoughts, and understanding? About what are they excited when it comes to video assignments? What are the greatest challenges for them in assigning video?
  • For those faculty interested but not sure how to begin, what are their reasons for not taking that next step? What kinds of resources, should they become available, would allow them to do that? Among those already assigning video, what were the factors for them that generated the energy necessary to take that step already? Are there deeper issues or concerns for them about introducing video into their classes, like a shift away from writing/print toward visual media, or the ongoing struggles of media producers to deal with copyright?

From there, my goals are two-fold. First, to gather all of the above into a coherent statement about the current state of video assignments, their possibilities and their challenges, as articulated by the faculty who use them or are considering doing so. Second, to use the work in a concrete way to support colleagues at my own institution directly. Not necessarily to grow the number of video assignments on campus or faculty offering them – although that strikes me as a natural offshoot of sharing this work – but to help expand the depth and complexity of video assignments into the future.

There is no question about whether video viewing will continue to grow, and little question about whether the uses of video in all aspects of life will continue to grow as well. So it makes sense for all of us to develop facility with the medium in the same way it has made great sense for all of us to develop facility with writing. My goal is for this project to make some needed progress toward that kind of development.

More to come next week. 🙂

One thought on “(Re-)Starting a Project

  1. Pingback: Production as Plug-in Limitations, Schedule | Join the Conversation

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