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Video Production Fundamentals for Practical’s and Instructional Videos

Overview

This Learning Enhancement project has been funded through the HEA and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

PROJECT TITLE: Video Production Fundamentals for Practical’s and Instructional Videos
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Ms Mairead O'Reilly
PARTICIPANTS: 9 Academic Staff

Background

It is widely accepted that most people have access to video/audio recording facilities on cameras and mobile phones. However, very few untrained people have the knowledge or skills to create bite size, clear, coherent, engaging learning materials from such devices. These fundamental skills are critical to development of a large variety of Digital Media Learning Resources including Video & complex 3D Animation.

Learning Enhancement Project Funding was sought to facilitate engaging external expertise to deliver Seminars & face to face Video Production Workshops.

Pre-Covid I planned to design a short [4 week] Audio/Video Production Fundamentals course to incorporate Seminars & Workshops with external expertise. Priorities changed overnight. Covid 19 generated an urgent requirement to move pre and post lab work online, to optimise time spent in labs. Video Production Skills became a necessity for many Academics.

The short course was put on hold, mainly due to prioritization of time and the fact that face to face workshops were not possible. Coincidentally, I was simultaneously designing a fully Online module aimed at PhD students/Tutor-Demonstrators to equip them with audio and video production skills to expand their digital toolkit for preparation of comprehensive and engaging learning materials.

To address the urgent requirement to move pre and post lab work online I volunteered to streamline the aforementioned module and to facilitate a fully Online 2 week pilot course for Academics, on Video Production Fundamentals, to enable creation of safety & instructional lab videos.

Goals

Ultimate Goal
To introduce Academics to fundamental Video Production skills through a short face to face course. [Passive learning]

Facilitate a fully Online Video Production fundamentals course with active participation and follow later with face to face workshops.

Online Delivery Objectives
To streamline and frontload essential theoretical concepts, reinforced by active participation in projects and supported by carefully curated materials and resources.

  1. An introduction to the video production process from conception to completion [Applicable to all types of Video including Animation]
  2. Explore key steps required to create Instructional Videos for pre lab. tutorials.
  3. Complete two Video Tasks with support.
  4. Offer eligible candidates the National Forum Getting Started with Personal and Professional Digital Capacity Digital Badge.

Face to Face Workshops [funded by the Learning Enhancement Project]
Covid 19 restrictions permitting; Consolidate the learnings to date with customized hands on workshops, projects and critiques.

The Innovative Approach

The main challenge of the Online initiative was the delivery of a practical hands-on subject fully online. The pilot course took place over a two-week period during the summer of 2020. Five one-hour milestone Zoom meetings were scheduled to coincide with the naturally occurring phases of the video production cycle. Participants engaged in two project tasks, ultimately resulting in solo or group submissions of a short research or instructional video, which were showcased at the final online meeting.

A second offering of the course was rolled out to a new cohort of Academics from the College of Engineering and Architecture after Christmas. A community of practice emerged from the second course roll out and participants from the pilot course were invited to join. This kept the interest, progress & momentum alive until face to face workshops were possible again.

In May 2021, to avail of the LEP funding opportunity, I worked alongside two Industry professionals to develop a bespoke series of Workshops & Seminars. Gaps and weaknesses in knowledge and skills were revealed by showcase projects from the online courses along with the Community of Practice Meetings.

The Learning Enhancement Funded Project Workshop series began and ended with two Online Seminars to critique work pre & post Workshops. Because Video Production skills are ultimately achieved through an iterative process, participants prior engagement with the Online courses was hugely advantageous. The content for the Workshops was tailored to the requirements and experience of the participants and was revised daily and modified to maximize the experience. Participants engaged in a variety of video techniques with opportunities to participate in every step of the video production process. This was enabled by inclusion of different projects from Instructional to Interviews and ultimately to creation of a project of their own choice.

Results

Changes in approach to delivery & content due to Covid 19 provided a platform to explore & build on fundamentals, consolidate knowledge and overall resulted in a far richer experience for participants. Post Course feedback was extremely positive.

All participants fully agreed that:

  • The course objectives were fulfilled.
  • Prior participation in the Online Video Production Course adequately prepared them for the ‘Hands On’ workshops.
  • Their ‘Hands On’ skills improved significantly.
  • The balance between theory and practice was adequate to complete the required tasks.
  • The range of projects included covered the skillset they wished to learn about.
  • The pace of the course worked well.
  • The skills covered aligned to their teaching needs.
  • It was useful to engage with more than one Industry professional.
  • Participation in these workshops will improve the way in which they create Lab & Course Materials in future.

Some of the participants quoted:

It is taking my teaching in a new direction and linking together some aspects of my research.

This course has enabled me to produce learning resources in a shorter timeframe than previously, and of hopefully, a much higher standard than any I have previously produced.  This will lead to increased content and quality for students.

However, while all agreed that colleagues would benefit from participating in a future course 60% were doubtful that colleagues would commit (Mostly due to time constraints).

Feedback - Other comments:

Excellent experience.

Keep it up- it was an amazing experience.

I have been blown away by how Mairead managed to pull together such a course which flowed so organically while still delivering the objectives.  The Trainer’s delivery was relaxed but along with Mairead he commanded the group effortlessly and steered us through the days to a point where we achieved so much in such a short space of time with such an inexperienced crew, its impressive what we achieved.  That’s a testament to the experts and organisers.  I cannot express how beneficial this has been in building skills, confidences and friendships.  Sincerest thanks and congratulations. UCD will benefit immensely from our attendance in ways that will never be fully measured.

Impact

Participants have successfully integrated their videos throughout the year into Lab work and have facilitated colleagues in developing their own Lab videos. Schools have subsequently invested in audio & video equipment to further improve the quality of their work.

Jennifer Keenahan  (Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering) collaborated with Kevin Nolan (Assistant Professor at the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering) to create Animations for inclusion in the Video pilot project. She subsequently participated in Nolan’s Animation training and followed on to create several videos and animations of her work.

Resources