The overall goal of my Advanced English Composition (Fall, 2013) course was to learn the necessary skills needed to research, analyze, and write a well-argued research paper – a task my students had never attempted. Among the different assignments in my course, students had to write a group research paper and a final independent research paper on a topic of the students’ choice.
For the final assignment, I wanted students to celebrate and share their hard work with their classmates; I wanted to give them an more meaningful outlet for their work than just a paper for the teacher’s eyes. Last year, I had students do in-class presentations. I was really impressed with the quality of and response to them, but due to class size, could not complete them this semester. Instead, I found another way for students to present their work in a short amount of time. Inspired by the idea of pitches, I decided to have students create two-minute summaries of their research papers. I would then video record their summaries and splice together their mini-presentations to create a kind of research paper montage for each class. This ended up working much better than I thought and I think I will continue to use this idea in the future.
I gave students the task to create summaries over the weekend (you can check the link for specifics). Then, for class time, I set-up a camera in an empty office. The camera was rolling and I sent students in there one-by-one to record their summaries. I compared the camera room to the confessional booths you see on reality TV shows. Students thought that was pretty funny. Since the camera was already rolling, students wouldn’t have to fiddle with any equipment. I told them to make an X with their arms are start again if they made any mistakes. I didn’t tell them that I would take these X scenes and make a blooper reel at the end – that was a surprise. While students were recording, I assisted waiting students with either their summaries or their research papers. For students who were absent or for some reason could not record themselves, I allowed them to do it on their own with their smartphones, as long as it was in landscape. This was not a problem.
After all the videos were ready, I cut them up, edited out any mistakes and pieced them together. I also made an opening title sequence with scenes from Busan and our university. I then made the credits and blooper reel, and put it all together into the two films you see below. While making the video, I realized it was going to be quite long (~30 minutes each). To sustain students’ attention, I decided to add fake job titles next to each students name in the video. Students thought this was hilarious. While watching the videos, students were literally in an uproar of hilarity. They just couldn’t stop laughing. It was an excellent touch with unexpected results. While watching the videos, I also gave them a fun task to complete.
In the end, the video turned out to be an excellent idea. It was a way for students to share their hard work and end the semester laughing hysterically. I consider this to be evidence of a successful semester, for myself and my students.
Enjoy the videos!