Assignment #4 in this course was the group documentaries on some aspect of the Information Age. I didn't give the students a great deal of direction, other than to say that they needed to show change over time, that they should be between 5 and 10 minutes, and that they needed to upload them somewhere where they could be seen (they all chose YouTube). They had about three weeks to come up with a topic (related to the class discussions of the digital age), research, film, and edit the video.
Each group had a basic video camera, and they had access to the editing stations in our Digital Media Lab (with iMovie and Premiere). Ultimately, only one group used Premiere, one used iMovie, and two used Windows Movie Maker. Although they had been given a brief intro to video editing at the start of the semester by DTLT, most of them were going to be doing video capture and editing for the first time. I recommended that they test out their cameras, video files, and basic editing before they got too far into the process so that they could figure out problems in advance.
They presented the documentaries to the class and they were a great deal of fun. Certainly, the videos aren't as polished as they would have been if I had spent more time in training them how to use editing software, or if they'd had more time in the semester to work on them (both points the students make in their after-project posts, linked below), but I'm quite impressed with the work they produced and their willingness to throw themselves into the projects.
- Group 1 – How the rise of modern forms of transmitting information have affected the U.S. Postal Service
- Group 2 – Tutorials Through Time
- Group 3 – Shift from card catalogs to digital catalogs in libraries, with a focus on its effect on librarians
- Group 4 – Documentary on the history of the internet and its effect on Higher Education, using the University of Mary Washington as a contextual lens
What's your take? What suggestions do you have for future iterations of the assignment?