Creating a video for distance learners sitting exams
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4 April 2016
I was tasked with producing a video for our students all of whom are studying as distance learners. The video was to show dos and donts for sitting exams.
Some of our students study independently, some at a college (using our syllabus and materials). Most of the students are overseas. It is very important that examination procedure is clearly and succinctly communicated to all of our students. The video was to be short (around 3 minutes) and accessible to all. I had 2 months to produce the video so that it was ready before the exam session.
I wanted to produce a video with the following:
- Concise yet informative
- Text graphics so that the sound does not need to be on to be watched
- Clear narration so it can be accessed by visually impaired students
- Institutional branding throughout (logos, colour schemes)
- Footage of “students” sitting an exam to be included, shots of important elements such as ID, water bottles, calculators etc
- Footage to include a diverse group of students to reflect our student body
- Footage to contain no reference to the year so video does not quickly date
- Graphic list of dos and donts for clarity
- A link to be in the video to the Exams page on our website
Measure of success:
- High quality video that met the points above
- Successfully viewed by 1000s of students
- Met with the colleague who requested the video to make a list of requirements
- After the meeting check my list of requirements matched colleague's
- Wrote the script
- Asked the colleague to check the script against his checklist
- Amended script accordingly
- Got a quote from video producer (outside agency), gave her timeline for finished work
- Storyboarded script so that video producer could write a shot list/timings for filming
- Booked rooms to film mock "exams"
- Recruited colleagues to act as students
- Recruited a colleague with a clear voice to act as narrator
- Shot the footage and recorded narration
- Reviewed producer’s finished work- noted several things were unclear (dos and don’ts were written with same colour background, narration did not make it clear which were dos and which were donts).
- Producer put background of donts in red and dos in green and added a big “do” or “don’t” graphic at the beginning of each section. Producer cut the narration so that “don’t” was said at the beginning of each “don’t”
- Passed draft 2 of video to colleagues for review, including by audio/visually impaired staff and received comments
- Tweaked video to add University tag line at the end
- Distributed video via You Tube and the University Portal
- Posted video on webpage
- Emailed students about the video as well as updating Twitter/Facebook
Despite providing a clear and detailed script, there were still hiccups where the producer did not entirely understand what she was supposed to be doing. All of my correspondence was done via email, next time I will schedule a face to face meeting as talking is quicker and she would have had space to ask questions.
Distribution was important, no point in producing an amazing video and have no-one watch it. Slow hit rate at first as the video was hidden on the website and posted on Facebook and Twitter (but not “boosted”). Putting a link on the home page carousel and emailing the students directly resulted in much higher viewing figures.
I met my objectives overall, time was an issue and last year viewing figures could have been much higher but we launched it very close to exam time. This year figures were very high indeed.
The video was well received and helped the students feel like part of the University. There were fewer queries regarding examination procedure because the video overview provided knowledge and a sense of understanding for the students.