Tag Archives: course trailers

The Course Trailer Experience

This past summer, I made a course trailer for a class called KNES213: Introduction to Research in Kinesiology for Dr. Larry Katz. I want to share my experience taking on this project because I learned a lot from it and hopefully my experience can inform yours should you choose to create a course trailer of your own.

Be meticulous with your scheduling

I approached Dr. Katz mid-June with the project idea and he jumped on board right away. We set the deadline for the final project to be early September so it would be ready for his Fall 2016 class. What we did not realize in June however, was how difficult it would be to arrange meetings to complete the project. Between our travel plans and all of the other work we had over the summer, there wasn’t much wiggle room and as a result, much of the work was still left undone by August. Luckily Dr. katz has a wide network of support so while I was absent for the last two weeks of summer, the project miraculously finished itself.

Set realistic goals

You can go out and hire a whole film and production team to make a Hollywood-grade production, or you can make an amateur video that will make you cringe and groan every time you look back on it. In my opinion, the most important part of these videos is the message that you are trying to send, and video quality doesn’t necessarily take away from the message (unless your trailer is for a film and design class I suppose.) So don’t fret if you don’t have the resources for a critically acclaimed trailer, but if you do and want to invest a bit more, nobody is stopping you from going the extra mile!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

This project was extremely exciting in the beginning but as the deadline loomed closer and closer, it was becoming less of a fun challenge and more of a hardship. This was an especially hard truth to reconcile with since I was the one that invovled Dr. Katz in this project in the first place so I didn’t want to say I was losing faith in the project I had started. However, Dr. Katz had invited a huge team of individuals to help with the project from the get-go, so when I expressed my concern for the time constraint and my travel plans, the framework to accommodate for any bumps in the road was already present, and asking for help allowed me to realize there really wasn’t much to worry about.

All in all, making a course trailer was a fantastic experience! I got to look at the course again through a different lens, and also learned how to use amateur animation software. It was definitely a challenge that I would love to take on again.

Trailers? Trailers!

One of the things a lot of the technology coaches have been working on through the summer is helping faculties and their members produce trailers for their courses and programs.

A trailer? Why would you do that?

The simple truth is that students, either current or prospective, often don’t have time to read through the stack of paper they get at the beginning of the semester. Calendar entries are couched in the vocabulary of experts in a particular area – there’s no real effort to explain to somebody who doesn’t know anything about the field yet what a particular course or program is all about.

Enter the trailer

The solution a lot of post-secondaries have hit upon is to produce a course trailer – a short video which explains what the course is all about to people just starting the course or who are starting to think about it.

Think about how movie studios advertise their films to the public – they’re able to produce 30-second “spots” which are incisive, informative, and (hopefully) capture the spirit and plot of the film to encourage the audience to go see the entire work once it’s released. This is the educational equivalent.

There are a lot of course trailers out there already – here are a couple of my favourites:

At the University of Calgary

I spent part of my summer working with my colleagues, Haboun Bair and Ykje Piera getting people onto the course trailer bandwagon. We’ve done two mini-workshops with the Learning Technologies Coaches to show them how to make them, as well as another one with faculty members here at the Taylor Institute. We’re likely to hold more as we go.

We’ve also had two course trailers finished and released. While they’re not posted for public consumption yet, the reception has been really good. We’re looking forward to seeing where people run with this project.