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.
Hi!, my name is Laura and I’m a Learning Technologies Coach for Science. Let me tell you about a cool project I’ve been working on during this Fall semester.
The project was meant for first year biology students and consisted on implementing a real timeobservation activity of the Fruit Flies’ life cycle. Fruit flies….those annoying but amazing little insects that most of us brush aside, have been responsible for some of the greatest discoveries in modern science. They go through their entire life cycle in about 15 days! That’s why they are an ideal model organism and a great learning tool.
What did we do?
The project required the creation of a reliable live stream video that would be accessible to 400 students daily during the Flies’ life cycle (around 15 days). The activity was designed to be accessed through the D2L site of the course.
How did we do?
The instructor prepared the experimental set up for the flies and I set up a desktop computer to be used for the streaming. The live streaming was done daily through YouTubeduring 5/6 hours and integrated into D2L. In that way, the last 3 hours of the streaming were saved and stored in the YouTubeBiol205 channel every day.
How did it go?
It was a UToday story last October!. The activity turned out to be really cool, lots of views from students and lots of ideas on how to improve itstarted flourishingright after the activity was launched.
We faced many challenges with the technology. The most difficult one was finding the appropriate camera. We needed to be able to capture good quality images from the the starting tiny larvae all the way up to the flies. Thanks to a great tech advice we found what we needed: Logitech HD Pro Webcam c920. Great inexpensive web-cam with manual focus control through software.
As a coach, I learned a lot of things by working closely with the instructor in this project, by facing different kind of challenges, by pushing things to the limit and trying to do the best we can, and …. I learned things I didn’t know about flies.
It was a great experience, I enjoyed a lot by doing it and I got the chance to see a hatching event live! 🙂
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:
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.