As we move into the weekend and we start to think about how we are going to spend our downtime, and pursue leisure activities, we’d like to share a video with you which gives a lovely insight into leisure time on Hadrian’s Wall.
The video presentation from Katie Wray (below) outlines her experience of translating classroom entrepreneurship education to an online course. We enjoyed working with Katie on delivering ‘The Enterprise Shed’, the third of our FutureLearn courses. Here she describes the process we went through and the pleasing results.
On our second run of Hadrian’s Wall we’ll be using this blog to address some of the frequently asked questions that arise on the course. A couple of learners have asked about the length of the videos.
You’ll find that all of our videos are under 5 minutes in length. That has been done intentionally so that no single step requires too much time. While this can be disappointing for a topic you are interested in, it works very well in practice, particularly if you consider the course in full with approximately 20 steps in each of 6 weeks. The short videos also force the educator to distil in a clear way what the main points are.
We know from research (eg this paper from Philip Guo) that when videos are longer that learners can lose interest. If you’d like to read a little more about some of our thinking on building the course have a look at our blog post on Educational Vodka.
We have had so many words of wisdom and so much great footage from the Enterprise Shed. One clip we didn’t manage to include in the course is Sugata’s explanation of two very different kinds of entrepreneur: the aggressively directed entrepreneur and the reluctant entrepreneur.
The digital media team captured some wonderful images at Circus Central for our upcoming course Ageing Well: Falls which starts on the 24th November. You can sign up through the FutureLearn pages.
The footage shows Vladamir walking a wire and standing on a barrel. This will become part of a video illustrating how amazing the body is at balancing. We hope that exploring the science of balance and walking upright, will help course participants understand how to manage the risk of falling and possible preventative measures covered in the course.
Vladamir (pictured on the wire) has 45 years experience as a performer, including tours with the Moscow State Circus. He is now settled in Gateshead, and teaches classes at Circus Central (based in the Christ Church Building on Shieldfield Green in Newcastle). Circus Central’s mission is ‘to provide access to fun, high quality circus experiences for everyone’. They have a growing range of workshops for all ages and levels and can provide circus workshops, parties and trainings for groups. Find out more about Circus Central at http://www.circuscentral.co.uk/.
To whet your appetite for week 4 on Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier, which is all about ritual and religion on the Roman Wall, Ian talks here about one of his favourite pieces in the Great North Museum, in Newcastle upon Tyne. He he is introducing Sattada an (almost) forgotten goddess on Rome’s British Frontier.
We’ll also be meeting Lindsay Allason-Jones OBE again this week. Here she is talking about one of her favourite pieces, some personal hygiene tools.
We were delighted to chat to David Heslop, the City Archaeologist for Newcastle upon Tyne (known affectionately to it’s residents as “the Toon”). David’s written widely on the archaeology of Newcastle, and the reconstruction picture you see in our week 3 text is taken from his book with Zoe McAuley Digging Deeper: The Origin’s of Newcastle and Gateshead. We chatted about how archaeological evidence is uncovered and preserved during the development of new buildings; what we do and don’t know about the course of the wall through the city centre and about what has changed and what has stayed the same.
For me Newcastle Quayside is never going to seem the same! David explained how this artificially flat area was created through land reclamation in the medieval period. The River Tyne is tidal in city and, of course, safe quayside spots were essential as trade expanded. Once you hear this, of course it becomes obvious – you can begin to see the how the steep descents to quayside bars mirror the drops to the original banks of the river in the Roman town.
We experimented with merging David’s picture with one from the Northumbria University’s Virtual NewcastleGateshead project. You can see the results of our photoshop efforts in the YouTube video above. How do you think we got on?
For those interested in browsing through the region’s records of Roman evidence do pay a visit to Sitelines (Tyne and Wear’s Historic Environment Record).
A special discussion featuring Professor Ian Haynes, Lead Educator www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall and Professor of Archaeology, Newcastle University, together with leading world experts Professor David Breeze (Visiting Professor, Newcastle University), Dr Sue Stallibrass (English Heritage Regional Science Advisor, NW England) and Dr Nick Hodgson (Principal Keeper of Archaeology: Strategic Project Management, Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums) examining why Hadrian’s Wall might have been built.
As we draw near the end of week one of Hadrian’s Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier we thought you might like to delve a little deeper into why the Wall might have been built, with the views of four eminent experts in this fascinating discussion to help you reflect a little more on this fascinating topic.
Have their ideas changed your own thoughts at all?
Video materials are essential to distance and on-line education and can transform campus based teaching (see for example flipping the classroom). The filming process is both enjoyable and challenging. Whilst much can be done with simple technologies (web cams, screen-casting software and mobile devices) a film crew (such as Newcastle’s Digital Media Team) can produce polished, professional material.
Planning the filming is essential and will save time and improve quality in the long run. Start by understanding what the video brings to the learning. You can then plan each shoot in detail. Finally, do not underestimate the logistics in bringing everything together.
Plan the learning
Ensure you know what each clip is trying to achieve. What exactly does the learner need from the clip? What will the learner know/be able to do after the clip? What will prompt the user to view the clip? eg watch this video in order to answer a quiz, or participate in a discussion about a particular question.
What steps/activities will set up the learning and follow up on outcomes. Will there be a discussion/test or assignment? what should the learner be thinking about whilst watching?
Remember that people are unlikely to watch long clips. 5 minutes is a maximum for most MOOC participants, but aim for less. Catch their attention in the first 15 seconds
You will need an accessible alternative eg a transcript of the text. This will also help people who don’t necessarily need it for accessibility reasons (for example so they can read it on the bus, make notes on the text etc)
Planning each shot
The film crew need to know exactly what you are aiming for, including what kind of shots, what style and who will be involved. A storyboard and/or detailed textual description will pay dividends
Try to scout the location beforehand and use a mobile device if possible to try out some of the shots and see if they work.
Screen tests for performers can save time later. The film crew can help get the best performance
A script in outline or storyboard can help all participants understand what the shot is about. Who will talk and what about? How long will people speak for? What objects/scenery will they will refer? This helps the film crew plan the shot, and the performer(s) deliver, even when you want them to improvise during filming
As a rule of thumb, allow an hour to shoot a five minute clip. This will depend on a variety of factors, but several takes may be needed and it takes time to set up equipment
Establishing shots help give the learner context, for example, by showing people arriving at the scene, showing a building from the outside. This prepares the viewer for what they are about to see and here eg by explaining why there is background noise so that viewers expect it and then ignore it rather than being distracted by it. Allow time for this
If time, plan to shoot from a range of angles to provide a more interesting sequence. Don’t forget to shoot enough variety of cutaway shots – this can include wide (establishing) shots of the location, shots of hands as people talk, etc.
Allow extra time if detailed shots are required eg a close up of an artefact in a museum
Sequence of the shoot – plan the location shooting to reflect a logical order based not on the final product, but on the most efficient use of resources and travel / location set up
Allow extra time for cutaway shots eg a shot of something relevant that an interviewee is talking about. Cutaways also allow the video to be re-cut in different ways to allow for mistakes in interviews, taking bits out and so on, without having a choppy looking video as a result
Remember that whilst reality TV and documentaries make things appear spontaneous (almost as if they were shot in take), in fact it can require planning, multiple takes from different angles and even scripting to produce something watch-able and seemingly natural
Shot logs – ensure that someone is logging the shots, takes, how it fits into the bigger picture and any potential issues that the post production team might need to be aware of
When arranging transport, allow space for equipment as well as people (crew, academics, any students attending).
Permission for filming must be arranged with the organisation responsible for the location. Keep a copy of documentation related to this permission safe
Remember that Copyright may apply to things in shot eg the cover of a book, an artwork etc
Allow plenty of time for editing after filming. You may also need additional images and footage (with appropriate Copyright clearance) to be cut into the sequence
Editing – think about the pace and especially if dialogue driven. People generally don’t like to watch one wide shot of two people talking for a long time without any close ups of the speaker / or ‘noddies’ of the interviewer
Keep it short. Make every second count
Remember to have a transcript or alternative that gives some meaning to the text.
You can host materials in Youtube or Vimeo, and there can be very good reasons to do so, but the University has a streaming service ‘NuVision‘ giving you more control over the video and who can see it
Many thanks to the Digital Media team and Steve Herron for their input.