Emphasize time management is crucial to a successful digital project. In terms of creating a video project, for every minute you’re asking your students to create, that represents an hour of editing–and that’s not even including conducting research, recording footage, script writing, etc. So have a discussion with your students emphasizing that the best projects take time.
Discuss accountability and/or assign roles in group projects. The dreaded group project can be an excellent tool for your digital assignment. Students can become responsible for logistics, script writing, recording, and editing. By discussing how these roles should fill out, the more technically savvy can assign themselves in roles where they can be the most useful and let others stay in more familiar roles.
Have students create a project plan. Having them figure out what they are recording, who they are interviewing, down to what equipment they will need. Not only will this help them create purposeful projects but it will also reinforce the previous point regarding time management. If your students may feel a need to skip this step, have them present as Dr. Mitchell requires for his Issue Film project.
Record audio right the first time. With the progression of technology, it’s often believed that we can fix everything after we record it. And although this might be true to a certain extent, many of us do not have the time nor the expertise to fix it. Although your students may want the ambient noise of Jo’s Coffee, have them record their interview in a quiet location. The students can then add sounds to the audio/video project when they are editing their videos. As Professor Heath stated, “audio can only be edited so much in the end.” The Digital Media Center offers a whisper room for audio recording.
Raise the stakes by making the viewing audience beyond the faculty member. Dr. Mitchell concludes that by having his students share their projects with each other, the quality of the assignment was higher. It made students want to put forth their very best. As a result, students spent more time on task.
Schedule in-class project editing time. In Dr. Unger’s class, this tactic became especially important as all the videos crafted for Austin Free-Net must have the same look and feel. He could then address any concerns while students were in class. If you’re not feeling particularly savvy, you can have someone from the Digital Media Center on hand to assist your class.
And although this is by no means a comprehensive list of how to ensure student success, you can always drop an email to one of our instructional designers to begin a conversation. Otherwise, let’s move on to how do we actually grade these projects.
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