This work placement was born from my idea to create a video for Stone Hill School pupils who have moderate learning difficulties and challenging behaviour, I wanted to show pupils interested in enrolling on the CLAit Course what the Open Learning Centre was like and for them to ask themselves if they could cope in this environment. While discussing my idea with Peter Beard, the Course Manager, I asked if he would be interested in expanding this idea into a video for use within the wider community. Peter agreed and also mentioned that Doncaster College has it’s own website and maybe the video could be uploaded there to promote the courses further. I suggested the use of video format to Peter, rather than a powerpoint presentation or a podcast because video would offer a familiar and accessible format for all users. Although I acknowledge that both powerpoint and podcasts can be accessed from a computer and the Internet, video has the advantage that it can be added to a DVD and sent out for TV viewing.
After discussions with Peter, he selected the two points to be included in the video. To achieve point one I added the College phone number, address and website address into my storyboard. To fulfil point two I planned to film students inside the Learning Centre and also show external shots of the building.
I designed my storyboard around three themes: The students speaking about their personal experiences in accessing their course, and then adding the phone number and website address at opportune moments. The tutors explaining what they expect from the students; for example commitment to the course and good attendance. Thirdly a mixture of these clips overlaid with recordings that were to be made in the open learning centre to add interest to the video.
Once I knew the storyboard format, I used triangulation research methods to collate data as follows: Open questions for the one-to-one interviews with students and tutors. The final question relating to progression was suggested by the Course Manager. Draft versions of the video were uploaded to youtube with the link emailed to the course manager and tutors inviting feedback. For example a tutor suggested this shot because screenshots can be seen in the workbook rather than in an earlier version that just showed pages full of text. Also to provide me with a counter-balance as I was conscious of ethical issues and took great care not to influence the interviewees with my own ideas or perceptions. Written questionnaire made up of open and closed questions for students to complete. Copyright permissions were needed from all participating students for Doncaster College to fully benefit from the video. I discussed this point with Peter who was able to arrange a meeting for me with the press officer and marketing department staff. They supplied the permission form which the students duly completed. In addition to the video, I also designed a poster in portable document format to promote the Courses, I was delighted that both the poster and video complied with marketing guidelines.
As part of my research I used a website called delicious.com, it is a social book-marking website where users can save website addresses online and them share them with others. I find that it helps to speed up my research when there is a particular topic I am interested in.
I took inspiration from this video by Bolton Community College because of the smooth production and the variety of shots which I feel add interest for the viewer. This video by Andy Thurgood provided me not only with ideas but also showed me what not to do, as I felt that the single shot used was a little boring to watch.
This presentation uploaded onto Slideshare.net gave me insight into the types of questions I ought to be asking. I also used the WALLDO acronym which helped me to remember to record a variety of different shots to help keep the viewer interested.
From the student questionnaires I was able to compile the data into a selection of bar charts. I was very pleased to see your students welcome your flexible opening times and I think that this is one of your greatest initiatives. Leading from this data I realised I had not included this flexibility point in the video and I felt it should be highlighted somehow.
I also wanted to include footage of Stone Hill School pupils. From discussions with the Head Teacher I was aware that gaining permission from the children’s parents to use footage in the video could prove challenging. Trying to overcome any possible concerns, I burned the video to DVD and sent it home with the pupils together with a covering letter asking their parents to complete 1 of 3 questions. Once the slips were returned I was able to proceed and film two of the three boys using video and audio and the third visually only.
Because of the popularity of your flexible opening hours, I wanted to see if any other institutions offered something similar so I contacted 13 colleges and learning centres who also offer the CLAiT Courses, in and around the South Yorkshire area and asked them. Although two Institutions offer a variation on fixed sessions, no institution I contacted offers the flexibility that is available here at Doncaster College. I therefore suggest that the flexibility of the Open Learning Centre could be used to promote the courses further, perhaps in the form of a presentation shown on the giant screen on the ground floor of the College.
Whilst I was speaking with staff at the Colleges and Learning Centres, I took the opportunity to ask if they knew which version of Microsoft Office was used on their Clait courses. I understand Doncaster College intends to upgrade to Office 2007 in the near future where you will design and create your own workbooks again. I acknowledge that this is a massive undertaking for you and your staff but nevertheless look forward to seeing the promotional material for this upgrade knowing that it will of benefit to your students for many years to come.
I am aware that the data compiled from this question will be of interest to the college staff who helped to design and create the workbooks. And I would suggest that overall, Doncaster College has set the level of difficulty at just about right.
If I were to start this project over again I would use a single leg stand for the camera to improve stability. When I first started filming inside the Learning Centre I was concerned with Health and Safety issues in using the tripod in such a small room and so decided to use the camera without a stand. Once I uploaded the footage into iMovies to edit the video, I was disappointed to see several unusable shaky camera shots. To overcome this problem I began to use the tripod as a single leg and I am pleased to report that the later shots are clear and steady.
Another point I would revisit is the wording of the questions. For example, I think the phrasing of this question seems ambiguous and may have produced different results if I had added the words “Just Right” under the number three on the scale. Nevertheless, creating this questionnaire has been of great benefit to me, because as I move forward to my top-up degree, Educational Research will be a major part of my work. If I need to create another questionnaire I will check for ambiguity in my questions.
As part of my research I read this paper by Eteokleous-Grigoriou. Nik Et e ok lious Grig or iou I feel that some of the good practices he mentions are already in use here at Doncaster College. For example, it states, “Students learn how to use computer applications not as an end in themselves, but as tools that help them execute their tasks.” I think the workbooks you have designed are excellent example of this point and provide authentic learning which will benefit your students in the future. The paper goes on to discuss “today’s globalized, hi-tech environment“ and this gave me the idea that you may wish to consider introducing your students to google docs, a free online application, that they can use anywhere in the world providing they have an internet connection without the need to purchase Microsoft Office at all.
I am now approaching the end of my presentation. Does anyone have any questions? ? ? May I take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and encouragement over the past few weeks. I am delighted to have been able to create this video for Doncaster College and hope it will be of value to your future students. Apart from concluding my work place module, this report is also my final piece of work for my foundation degree. I will finish with a short video which I hope you will find entertaining.
Presentation At Doncaster College
Live Report for Doncaster College Student 200600121 Module 01262 - Work Placement 2 Foundation Degree in Applied Digital Media For Educators June 2009
2. Provide potential students with an insight into the Open Learning Centre environment. <ul><li>Provide information how potential students can contact the college. </li></ul>
References. Adrodgers. 2007. 6 Interview Techniques. [Online]; slideshare.net. Available: http://www.slideshare.net/adrodgers/6-interview-techniques [Accessed 3 May 2009]. Boltoncc. 2007. Bolton Community College promotional Holistics course video . [Online]; youtube.com. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85fljKFYU0A [Accessed 1 May 2009]. Eteokleous-Grigoriou, N. (2009). Instilling a New Learning, Work and Communication Culture Through Systemically Integrated Technology in Education . London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Thurgood, A. 2009. Andy Thurgood - Computer Training - Computeach - Testimonial. [Online]; Blip.tv. Available: http://blip.tv/file/1831720 [Accessed 29 April 2009]. Griffiths, L and Agbakoba, S. 2008. Apple Digital Creator - Learning Log. [Online]. Google Docs. Available http://docs.google.com/View?id=ajkpcwk3f7z2_70gcbgxwfb [Accessed 20.6.09].