Kick-off videos

5 April 2015

head of teaching BUSINESS 304 (Strategic Management), I thought I would produce a short video to give to the class ahead of time. The idea was to give the class a sense of the topic and how I would teach it before the actual start of classes.

In taking with Susan Geertshuis (Professor of Lifelong Learning and Director of Learning and Teaching), she offered to provide some help from the Innovative Learning Team.

So, with a great deal of help from Lyn Collie, this video was produced.

So what did the students get out of it?

A week before the start of the course, I mailed the video to every student who was enrolled in the course. Then, a few weeks after the course I sought feedback from the students about the video.

The first thing they suggested was that all classes should have a similar video. This was because the video orientated them to the benefits of the course (beyond the exam and the assignments). It helped them understand how the course could be useful in business.

The video also helped the students to understand what to expect from the course; especially this is a case-based course a thus different to most of the other courses they have had.

Finally, the commented on the high production values (their words, not mine), although a few did notice that some of the classroom scenes came from INTBUS 202 (because they were there).

So what did I get out of it?

First the importance of time. The video is under 2 minutes 30 seconds, and yet I spent more than 8 hours in front of the camera. I have the impression that Lyn spent more than twice that editing it. You cannot rush into doing one of these.

That time was not spent doing a 10 minute video and cutting it down. No. Lyn gave me clear guidance as to the number of words and the script was about 400 words (and could have been shorter … actually the first couple of versions were a bit longer). What editing of the script did take place was mainly to get things into my ‘speaking’ voice rather than my ‘writing voice’. What works great on paper (and great for a reader) is quite different to what works well when it is spoken. For my next version, my first version of the scrip will be no longer than 300 words … and that is still about 2 words per second. That’s a lot! Perhaps I only need 200 words. Lyn has taught me that less is better.

The second thing is being able to smile and talk. I can do it in class easily enough. But in front of the camera I turn into a grumpy looking so-and-so. It was only Lyn’s professional support that got me to come across as well as I did. It’s not easy and I’ll be doing a lot of practice before the next video.

Finally, I would say, that it is really important to work with a good director: that means someone like Lyn Collie. She encouraged, cajoled, and sometimes bullied me into getting it right. She was–in my humble opinion–and outstanding director. Despite the work, I am really looking forward to working with her on my next 2:30 video for MGMT 300.