Long Story Short—Part One

On September 23, Eva Brownstein, documentary filmmaker, and Jake Costello, Studio Director for CBC’s The Early Edition, led a workshop at Douglas College on incorporating documentary and news story-making elements techniques into courses. Eva and Jake help others tell their stories, nurture stories, and reveal meaning buried in information through film and radio media. The workshop was mediated by Steven Bishop, Douglas College Learning Designer.

We started with a brief discussion of two premises:

  1. We have been using Story since before the beginning of civilization (15,000 years or more if we consider the earliest known cave paintings as comprised of story elements).
  2. Learning relies on the ability to imagine a past, and a future. Storytelling and story receiving are coeval with the conception of time.

“Between the continuous barrage of information and madness, stands only story. Eva and Jake are skilled story makers; they each play an important part in informing others about the meaning of events in our world. As Douglas College instructors and people transmitting knowledge to others, we hope to learn from their experience how to shape information and fact into story. It might not seem apparent that producing news and crafting documentaries involve similar skill sets to lesson planning and curriculum delivery. This quote from Yuval Harare speaks to me about how we are all involved in creating and receiving story. After listening to news (let’s say CBC’s Early Edition), I feel informed. After watching a documentary, I feel moved. In both cases, I care about what I have just experienced. The root of the word “education” means to care, to nurture. That is what Eva, and Jake, bring to us today: story as education.” from introduction by Steven Bishop

“…the last thing a teachers needs to provide today… is more information for they already have far too much of it. Instead, people need the ability to make sense of information, to tell the difference between what is important and what is an important and above all to combine many bits of information into a broad picture of the world.” Yuval Noah Harare in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Listen to a recording of the first half of the workshop

Read the transcript for the first half of the workshop

…to be continued

Podcast! Encourage your students’ voice

 

Lisa Smith and Steven Bishop facilitated a workshop at Douglas College that opened up discussions about listening and encouraging student voice, examined Lisa’s process of developing a podcasting assignment in her Gender and Youth Cultures class, and provided some basic audio recording information. The workshop included:

  • Listening as practice (activity)
  • A case study of the development, implementation, and showcasing of a classroom podcast assignment
  • Examples of student and expert podcasts
  • Skills inventory (activity)
  • Technical overview of audio recording, editing, and producing
  • Live recording demo with Audacity software and Yeti microphone
  • Full group discussion of how to bring this approach into the class

Link to the PODcast! Presentation

Link to Podcast Workshop Resources (Google Document)

Podcast Pedagogies – Episode III

In this final podcast of the series, Steven Bishop and Lisa Smith, sit down with Kelsey Huebchen, a Douglas College student who was enrolled in GSWS 2101 and completed a podcast as part of her course work. From an instructor perspective, Lisa discusses some of the benefits of exploring podcasting as a pedagogical and evaluative tool. Kelsey reflects on some of the differences between producing a podcast and writing a research paper.

Listen to the podcast

Lisa recommends instructors keep in mind the following if considering podcasting as an assignment:

1) Introduce the idea early on in the course.

In my class, I discussed the podcast assignment in-depth on the first day of class and had printed copies of the assignment guideline. I took time to go through this with students to ensure that they understood that this was a part of the course and that they would have time to acquire the skills / knowledge required to complete this assignment. 

2) Identify student skills and concerns early on.

In the second course of the semester, I had students work in groups to complete a questionnaire that identified concerns about the podcasting assignment, as well as any existing skills that they already had that would be helpful for this project (for example, do you know how to use the voice recorder on your phone). Following this, we conducted a “skills inventory” of the class as whole. This was really helpful for identifying the different skills that students already had, but also which students might be able to provide assistance to others.

3) Keep podcasting as a subtle, but constant theme throughout the course

Each week, we would listen to a podcast in class. This allowed us to use podcasts as a way to get further into topics we were reading about, but also allowed me to share different kinds of podcasts with students to demonstrate that there were different ways to approach this assignment. Students enjoyed discussing the subject matter in the podcasts, as well as the various elements of production. 

4) Focus evaluation on the planning / organization / research for the podcast.

For this assignment, only a portion of the total grade was based on the actual finished product. Further, students were not graded on the technical quality of the podcast. 

5) Establish a reasonable time limit for the final podcast product.

As an instructor, keep in mind that you will need to listen to ALL the podcasts. Be sure to consider how much time is reasonable for you to spend listening to podcasts at the end of term.

EdMedia Program 2.0–Join the media revolution!

You’ve seen your students, your kids, even yourself mesmerized by videos and podcasts on your cellphone. What if you could film/record your own, then edit them incorporating special effects to share with a specific audience? Are you hooked yet?

If this appeals to you for your teaching or your work here at the Douglas College, we have the program for you–the EdMedia Program. It runs from Feb.5 to Mar.15 at the NW campus, consisting of seven separate workshops:

  • Recording Foundations: Pre-production and Planning
  • Video Recording Techniques: Lights, Camera, Action
  • Guerrilla Filmmaking: Portable Device Techniques
  • Audio Recording: Editing with Audacity
  • Camtasia Part 1
  • Camtasia Part 2
  • Showcase and Next Steps

Participants who complete all seven workshops will receive a certificate of completion.

Douglas College faculty or staff: To register, click here.

The difference between film-making and video

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Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

(Part two of Naive Art for Educational Media)

Have a vision for your project. Is it a high concept, short and artful film, or are you wanting to provide practical information? Instructor or topic introductions, how-to instructions, and concept explanations can be effectively produced with lower production values, less time and cost if a few simple guidelines are considered.

Assess your resources

If you have an in-house production team, take advantage of their skill, knowledge, experience and access to equipment and software, especially if high production values are needed.

If you don’t have concierge-level support for your media projects, determine if training is available for a do-it-yourself approach. We have a new Ed Media program at Douglas College that does exactly this. There are also video-tutorial courses on Lynda.com to help get up-to-speed with pre-production, production and post-production tasks for media projects.

If you have little time for planning with experts or training opportunities, all is not lost. You can resort to a naïve art approach to video and audio recordings. Well, maybe not too naïve, as you’ll see from the following suggestions.  Continue reading “The difference between film-making and video”