Sci Comm – Jungle Edition

costarica341

researchers in jungle

I started the new year of 2015 undertaking an amazing journey that combined three of my favorite passions; travel, video production and communication into a fantastic learning adventure. I was invited by Jane Zelikova to help teach a Science Communication course in Costa Rica. Morgan Heim and I teamed up, teaching storytelling and video production to Master and PhD candidates from around the world. Throughout the ten days spent at the La Selva Biological Research Station, students excelled with the challenge of simultaneously balancing tropical research ecology with digital filmmaking.

Faculty leading the research projects included Dr. Lara Souza, Dr. David Williams and Dr. Steven Whitfield). The research faculty worked closely with students and video instructors. Video messages and stories were crafted by student groups, and were produced with the guidance of seasoned video professionals. We helped students develop their story structures, offering students autonomy of story creation. We shadowed students’ technical production and editing, helping them create finished products that explained each groups tropical ecology research.

Students learned traditional storytelling techniques, like the arc of beginning, middle and end, combined with the tried and true, conflict and resolution setup. Students were taught how to identify and target a specific audience and more specialized science communication techniques included implementing the reverse pyramid and The Message Box created by Nancy Barun.

These specialized communication elements helped the groups develop their research and project message. Developing a clear project scope not only targets the audience and mission of the message, but it also helped the graduate students stay on track as they dealt with data collection and film production in the jungle.

student at La Selva

Students and instructors worked together to successfully overcome the challenges of the tropics which included:
intense rain storms every fifteen minutes
100% humidity
over 130 venomous snake species
sleep deprivation
tree climbing
frog chasing
and, of course
equipment failure.

The communication dynamic between groups was interesting as they navigated research topics while also prioritizing script development, shots lists, storyboards, shooting and editing. An informal lecture style was beautifully supported through hands-on research modules and media production experience.

Students worked in groups of four and were tasked with producing a four minute video explaining their tropical research. They climbed towering trees, scaled canopy walks, collected frogs and pulled dawn patrols, collecting data and filming with Go Pros and DSLR cameras. They initially produced a 30 second silent film to experience the filmmaking process, the planning, visualization and production. Later they produced longer films, documenting their research, incorporating interviews, scripted content and cutaway footage, creating effective and entertaining science communication videos.

They used the Message Box to initially organize their story, gaining buy-in and ownership from all group members. This communication template also made it easy for groups to effectively communicate their story to video instructors and helped each group stay on track while also accommodating changes.

The best learning moment for me as an instructor arrived as I observed group dynamics and communication. Students had to manage and juggle graduate level science while simultaneously producing their video stories. As beautiful and diverse as the jungle is, it is also a somewhat brutal environment to collect data and produce a short film. Extreme humidity, heat and of course massive rain storms were eventually somewhat pleasantly endured, and required unique problem solving strategies and persistence.

A main take away from this tropical research, media communication adventure blitz was that no matter how much planning and organization goes into any project – research or production, the initial plan will change. Experienced researchers and producers embrace change, anticipating and managing the dynamics of change within their group and community of learners. It was a true joy to watch all stakeholders work together, balancing research, production and communication in an amazingly beautiful tropical location.

Posted in Sci Comm

David Inouye & RMBL

inouye-banner

researchers in mountains

The Rocky Mountain Biological Lab is one of the world’s premiere, high elevation field sites.
Home to one of the largest annual migrations of field biologists, RMBL provides logistical support for scientists and students, including access to living quarters, research laboratories, and protected research sites. RMBL focuses on the importance of preserving and providing access to historical data about the local ecosystems. As scientists address ever more sophisticated questions about a dynamic world, RMBL is a vital resource for discovering nature’s fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes.

RMBL invests in its people and places, its communications systems, and its physical plant. Scientists take full advantage of the research done by previous RMBL scientists using modern bioinformatics tools. They track the environment year-round using automated sensors. While training the next generation, they develop a comprehensive understanding of biological processes that illuminates all ecosystems. RMBL serves as a unique resource for policy makers who need to understand a changing and complex world.

David Inouye with The University of Maryland has been collecting Phenology data at RMBL for over thirty years. His discoveries regarding the timing of wildflower blooming, specifically the flowering of the Glacier Lilly and the correlation to the migration of broad-tailed hummingbirds, arriving from Central America are helping policy makers concerned with how global climate change is changing ecosystems in both high and low elevation sites.

Global warming is happening faster in the higher latitudes, making these areas more likely to get out of sync ecologically. At the rate things are going, if the snowmelt continues to occur earlier in the spring, bringing earlier flowering, then the mountains will bloom with lilies long before the hummingbirds can finish their migratory journey north.
– www.ecology.com

I produced the following video to celebrate David’s achievements in academia and research.

Posted in Sci Comm

Student Engagement and Video Length

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 1.39.34 PM

Youtube playlist with video series

The process of engaging learners in higher education using video in traditional lecture, hybrid, blended, or fully online scenarios benefits greatly from good planning and sound implementation. Without forethought and good instructional design, video, as an instructional medium can be a waste of time, money and can fragment learning. Instructional design strategies help guide video implementation, by pairing videos with viewing guides, syllabi, course objectives and assessment. Students appreciate and respect a solid organizational structure that guides learning. They will perhaps be more successful in comprehending and retaining course content if they understand the overall course layout and how videos and other media support their learning.

Successful student engagement with video content depends on the following components:
– Brevity (viewers generally tune out after six minutes)
– Informality, with professors seated at a desk, not standing behind a podium
– Lively visuals rather than static PowerPoint slides
– Fast talkers (professors seen as the most engaging spoke at 254 words per minute)
– More pauses, so viewers can soak in complex diagrams
– Web-friendly lessons (existing videos broken into shorter chunks are less effective
than ones crafted for online audiences)
source: – MIT News

To focus on video duration or brevity, research targeting effective student engagement with video content supports the creation and use of short videos between four and six minutes (Philip Guo.2013). Students engage less with longer videos; engagement times decrease as a videos lengthen. Gou states, “on average students spent around 3 minutes on videos that are longer than 12 minutes, which means that they engaged with less than a quarter of the content.”

If an entire lecture will be available via video, the video lecture will benefit students if segmented into short bursts, creating a video lecture series. Scripting short video segments, breaking lecture objectives into digestible chunks prior to recording, produces better instructional video. Editing a long video lecture into small segments after recording is not as effective as scripting planned breaks. Planned breaks and organized implementation create time and space for learning and synthesis.

If designed correctly a video lecture series dovetails perfectly with course modules and learning objectives. It is often beneficial to create a short introduction overview video explaining course dynamics, goals and how the video series will be organized and implemented in regard to student’s overall learning experience.
Course introductions are a great way to experiment with implementing instructor lead videos. Creating a segmented lecture series takes time and can be overwhelming. Starting with lesson introductions and overviews is a good way to start. Some instructors create video lectures to cover content areas while they attend annual conferences or while they are participating in other scholarly work. Set realistic goals for introducing short, quality videos into your instruction.
<br<>
Resources:
http://groups.csail.mit.edu/uid/other-pubs/las2014-pguo-engagement.pdf
http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/what-69-million-clicks-tell-us-about-how-fix-online-education
https://www.edx.org/blog/optimal-video-length-student-engagement#.U9lE_YBdUbR
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303759604579093400834738972

Posted in Video

Captioning for ADA Compliance

Captioning Banner

Video images with captions

As I teach faculty to create and use video in their teaching I typically introduce the three phases of video production: pre production, production and post-production.

These three phases break video production into manageable segments, helping create budgets, scripts, delegate responsibility, establish workflow, and manage content creation. Making time to work and develop within each phase ensures projects will be successful, targeting the audience, helping to develop learning objectives.
Recently I’ve included the captioning process in both the pre production and post-production phases. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides individuals with disabilities equal access. State, government and education institutions are required to include ADA compliant captions.
Thinking about ADA compliance and captioning during pre production helps secure funding or crowd sourcing opportunities early in the process. Too many instructors gasp in frustration when they suddenly realize they need all course videos captioned prior to the beginning of the semester. I’ve worked with instructors who elect not to use any videos when they realize, late in the game that captioning is required. If captioning isn’t an early consideration time and money might not be available.

Free Captioning Services:
YouTube does offer a computer generated captioning service that is free with 70 to 80 percent accuracy. YouTube automatic captions are easily edited and the process can be shared among, colleagues, students and staff.
Click here to watch a YouTube instructional video about captioning.

Amara is another free captioning service that uses crowdsourcing. They also offer translation services.

Payment for Captioning Services:
3Play Media offers captioning services with a calibrated pricing breakdown based on video length and captioning turn around time. The average price is $2.50 per minute with a two-day turnaround.
Automatic Sync Technologies also offers a similar pricing breakdown and turnaround time.
Both 3Play Media and AST offer captioning services that can automatically upload to both YouTube and Mymedia.out.edu (Kaltura). On average the cost for captioning video for an entire course is approximately $6,000.00.
Resources:
Amara – Crowd Source Captioning Service
http://amara.org/en
Netflix Experiments with Crowd-Sourced Captioning
http://gigaom.com/2012/07/30/netflix-amara-closed-captions-crowdsourcing
Automatic Caption Sync – Captioning Service
https://support.automaticsync.com/hc/en-us/articles/202357195-Closed-Captioning-with-Kaltura
Dotsub – Translation and Captioning Service
http://dotsub.com/
3Play Media
http://www.3playmedia.com/
MyMedia.OU.edu

_________________________________________________________________

Posted in Video

Dressing for the Camera

what_to_wear.final

illustration - clothes hanging in closet

As higher education institutions move toward the implementation of video for full scale flipping or only as supplements to instruction, faculty are quickly being placed in front of the camera. Becoming comfortable with your camera avatar, being yourself, moving away from the nervous, cardboard cutout representation of yourself can be tricky. It combines mastery of content, good scripting, theatrical techniques, cadence of speaking, and voice intonation into a performance that engages learners. This performance needs to be authentic to be believable.

Organized content, a good performance and professional delivery require good coaching and practice. A good production crew will help with this process, helping move the “faculty star” toward success, increasing learning and student engagement using video.

An important component that is sometimes overlooked when creating a professional media product is the consideration of dress code and the proper use of good fashion. Yes, clothes do matter. The first 15 seconds sets the stage of professionalism and professional representation of a given discipline, an institution, geographic region and country.
Students want you to be yourself, they respect your academic freedom and depending on your discipline might even expect you to wear tie-dyes, shorts and sandals when you lecture. However, as higher education moves toward offering “open” content, delivering to a global audience, taking the video production endeavor professionally is worth the effort. As you prepare, don’t forget to plan your attire.

Aside from whatever fashion statement you attempt to make – tailored suit, or tie dye, there are some clothing specifications that hinge around the technical components of the video and audio recording process.
Certain clothing does not work well on camera. For instance, high-contrast pin stripes, will flicker, moving in a distracting moire’ pattern when filmed because of the NTSC interlaced scanning procedure used in North American production. Also, necklaces, broaches and other types of jewelry can bump lapel mics, ruining audio.
Included is a list of What to Wear for the Camera as well as other resources:

What Not to Wear on Camera
Just What Should I Wear?
How to Dress for Video
Camera Shy? How to Prep for your Big Shoot Day

Posted in Video

Performance Tips when Lecturing to the Camera

faculty in studio

faculty in the studio

Stand still. Most of us, when standing normally, see the same thing when we look down at our feet. A V-shape, with each foot pointing a bit outward and our heels closer together. This stance can lead to swaying – both side to side and backward and forward. Moving one foot in front of the other, and shifting its angle a bit, will make it almost impossible for you to sway.

Take stock of your habits. These are the habits that might distract your audience. These include: excessive blinking, flaring nostrils, over-active eyebrows, flipping hair, touching face, licking lips, sighing, crossing-arms, hands in pockets – the list is endless. Tape yourself and carefully self-scrutinize.

Don’t beat up on yourself! We are all imperfect creatures. As an actor, it’s your goal to choose which imperfections to showcase in your characters. Just don’t let your own habits, affectations, and mannerisms get in the way of giving a great performance.

Eyes open. Start each take with a smile with your eyes open.

Check your start volume. Try to start each sentence with the same volume and pitch as the rest of your takes. Often amateurs start a take at a much higher voice volume level than the rest of the take.

Listen for “Cut”. Keep going, even if you make a mistake. The director will tell you when to stop. Often editors can use segments just prior to and just after mistakes.

Practice in front of the mirror. Even pros have to practice. So, if you are not a pro, practice. Arriving with script familiarity, appropriate attire and performance practice will speed up the recording process, offering you time to experiment with other options at the end of recording.

Record yourself and critique. Almost all faculty have access to a video camera, most likely on your phone. Record rough takes of yourself performing and critique your performance.

Continue looking into the camera. At the end of a take, when you think you are finished, continue to look into the camera. Don’t immediately look off camera to the director for feedback, asking, “was that okay”? Often editors will fade out dissolving to another image. Holding your gaze and eye contact with the camera will not cause a distraction when fading out, or fading to another shot.

Avoid lipsmack. Avoid starting each take with an audible tick, or lipsmack. Try for a smooth and silent take off, clear your throat, count to five and start, or wait for the director’s countdown.

Attribution: www.backstage.com

Posted in Video

Intro to Media Writing – A “Flipped” Model

judy-r-banner

judy-r-banner
No matter what career discipline students are pursuing, effective writing is paramount for success. Introduction to Media Writing is a required course for all students in the Gaylord College for Journalism and Mass Communication. Judy Gibbs Robinson, the lead instructor coordinates multiple sections and recently adopted the “flipped”  model of instruction. This model encourages more active learning and writing during the face-to-face sessions, moving traditional lecture content online with short modularized videos that students watch outside of class.

Professor Robinson crafted over 30 videos addressing different writing concentrations.
Topics include: Writing Across Platforms, Writing with Accuracy, Writing Broadcast Leads.

Harnessing the expertise of the professorate in the Gaylord College for Journalism and Mass Communication, professor Robinson invited guest lectures, including: Melanie Wilderman, Meta Carstarphen, Fred Beard, Mel Odom and Scott Hodgson. These guest lectures combined with professor Robinson’s knowledge core offers students a diversity of writing trajectories, combining industry experience with academic research.

Concise scripts were written, helping target student engagement and retention. Video duration ranged from six to ten minutes and videos were embedded into the Canvas learning platform.

Production Workflow:
Camera: Blackmagic Production camera, EF mount with a Canon prime lens
Format: 4K ProRes HQ (Ultra HD)
Audio: 16 bit, 48kHz, H4N recorder, Samsung wireless mic
Color Grading: DaVinci
Editor: Premiere Pro, latest edition
Server: EditShare HT, 3U, 32TB, RAID 6

Posted in Video

Managing for a Changing Climate

geog.banner

faculty in front of camera

The Center for Teaching Excellence offers consultation for revamping and creating, high caliber, high impact courses for higher education audiences. Currently the CTE Video and Media Production Lab is working with the South Central Climate Science Center helping mentor faculty through the phases of developing a course for the Janux elearning platform, specifically targeting video production.

The course is GeoG 3980 – Managing for a Changing Climate.

Excerpt from introduction video script:
Our new course is co-taught by Dr. Berrien Moore, Dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences, Dr. Elinor Martin of the School of Meteorology, and Dr. Renee McPherson of the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability.

Have you seen conflicting messages about climate variability and change in the media? Do you want to make your own informed decisions about the greenhouse effect and the impacts of our changing climate? Are you curious about how managers make complex decisions about our natural and cultural resources using future climate projections?
Take our course, and you will gain an understanding of the physical components of the climate system and how climate can naturally vary over time. You will learn about Earth’s past climate and about why and how our climate changes.

Since we only have one planet, we cannot conduct lab experiments to study the impacts of climate change on our water, forests, migratory waterfowl, or other things that make our Earth beautiful and livable. Instead, we construct sophisticated computer programs that can represent the complex physical interactions of our climate system. You’ll learn how these climate models work, as well as how to interpret the differences in a variety of models. We will also discuss how these models can help decision-making on the local and regional scales.

In addition to hearing our wisdom, you’ll get to learn from other researchers and members of management communities to discover the impacts of climate change on human systems and ecosystems within the south-central US. With a basic introduction to economics and policy, you will learn how climate impacts critical management decisions and how these professionals make decisions under uncertainty.

By the end of this course, you will understand the context and importance of the negotiations taking place at the 21st Conference of Parties for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Paris, France this December!

Faculty and staff are learning how to write, deliver produce and organize content for delivery within the elearning paradigm. Student visual communication specialists are tasked with creating design and video content, mentored by CTE media staff. Participants will be oriented and trained in professional, academic, video production best practices. This will include workflow for organizing a holistic approach for developing courses for online and hybrid distribution.

A main focus of this training will orient faculty and technical staff to the three phases of video production (pre production, production, post production). Faculty will be primarily be involved with pre production and production, technical staff with production and post.

Goals of training and production:
Integrated course goals and objectives, poignant for elearning
Creating modularized lecture lessons for video (6 minutes or less)
Writing scripts to be read aloud vs. read on the page (message box)
How to perform for the camera (using hand motions to empower your performance)
What to wear on camera

Goals for technical production:
Quality recording of video and audio
Professional editing and use of graphics
ADA compliance (captioning)

Posted in Recent Work

Faculty Development Resource Initiative

new.faculty.banner

illustration - Evan Hall

Working with Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost Office, the CTE team revamped the online, faculty develop resources. The new digital resource offers guidance and mentorship for all faculty who are in different stages of their research, teaching, service and administrative careers.

A video series targeting new faculty has been produced, helping orient and onboard the next generation of researchers and professoriate to the OU, Norman and Oklahoma communities.

The video series addresses the following:
Welcome from the Provost
OU Culture and Traditions
Human Resources
LMS – D2L
IT Overview
Setting Up Email
Syllabi
Sooner ID
Parking

The digital resources and video series for new faculty work in conjunction with face-to-face orientation sessions. To further build community, a luncheon seminar series connects and networks representatives from various OU offices and other new faculty colleagues.

Posted in Ed Tech

Creating and Implementing Course Videos

Banner image female faculty in front of camera

illustration - female faculty in front of camera

I created an eight week faculty learning community this Spring titled Creating and Implementing Course Videos. Participants were introduced to different strategies for using and implementing video into their teaching. Instructional design components were developed addressing how using video could possibly change classroom dynamics for both the instructor and students. If students are engaging with lecture content outside of class, through video, how will they collaborate with peers and instructors when attending a face-to-face, hybrid / blended, or fully online learning session?

The instructional purpose of using video was another important module, in regard to both faculty and students. Obvious faculty strategies include:
Delivering Content
Gaining Attention and Inspiring
Providing Feedback
Assessing Learning and Teaching

Important student strategies include:
Demonstrating evidence of learning
Constructing meaning with peers

Current research was reviewed. Philip Gou’s paper “How Video Production Affects Student Engagement: An Empirical Study of MOOC Videos” was referenced and assigned as reading for participants. Main take aways from this collaborative research suggest that the optimal length of videos need to be 6 minutes or less. Video production components that make videos more engaging include:
Brevity
Informality
Lively visuals
Fast talkers
More pauses
Web-friendly lessons

Next, participants gained experience working through all stages of video production (pre production, production and post production). During this module faculty experimented with writing and visualizing as well as with different types teaching video production including:
annotated screen casts with narration
direct address using the teleprompter
narrating a basic presentation (PowerPoint or Keynote)
web camera lecturing
narrated photo montage

The last three to four class meetings required participants to deliver their course introduction to the camera. Scripts were loaded into the teleprompter and faculty delivered content, wonderfully performing within the video medium. Faculty were given the chance to edit their segments, but were also gifted help from stellar student video production specialist.

Another successful cohort of faculty crafted, produced and implemented quality video into their teaching at The University of Oklahoma.

Posted in Ed Tech
css.php