Producing a high-quality video in the space of a week is a daunting prospect for most people, but that’s exactly the challenge we set two Year 12 students from Branston Community Academy in August this year.
With support and mentoring from members of our student video team, Dylan and Kyle were tasked with creating a video about the reality of university and how it differs from school or college. Alongside developing their skills and experience in video production and giving them some useful material for a portfolio, the aim was for them to gain a better understanding of what it is like to study at university and whether they would fit in this environment.
We also hoped that members of our student video team would benefit from the experience of mentoring and coaching, perhaps giving them a taste for education. The process of guiding the two students to create a high-quality video over the course of the week would also hopefully deepen their understanding of their own skills and also enhance their self-confidence. In advance of the week, our students were also given some additional training on safeguarding by Judith Carey, Director of Student Affairs, and coaching of younger students by Bryan Rudd, Principal Lecturer in the Lincoln School of Film & Media.
The placement students were given creative control of the project and their first task was to develop a brief outlining what their video would focus on, the approach, content and style, and also making it clear who the resulting video would be aimed at and what its purpose was.
Once they had developed the brief with the help of our students, they were then given feedback by a member of staff in the Digital Education & Student Life team. After making a few amends, the placement students then set about filming the video using cameras and equipment from our student video team resource, with further help and support from members of the student video team.
They then edited the footage and created a draft version of the video for initial approval. After making a few necessary amends, the students then finalised the video and it was shown in a screening to the team of staff and students at the end of the week.
After making a few more minor adjustments, the video has just been published on YouTube and will be promoted on the Student Life social media accounts and other University digital channels, with a clear credit to the students involved in its creation.
Evaluation and feedback
To evaluate the project, we surveyed both the Year 12 students and members of our student video team at the beginning of the week and then again at the end of the week to evaluate the impact of the initiative and whether the experience met their expectations. By the end of the week, both Dylan and Kyle had changed their response from neutral to agreeing with the statement “I would like to go on to study at university”. There was also an increase in confidence in their video production skills.
As for the members of the student video team, the week met their expectations and they all agreed that it gave them mentoring and teaching experience and the chance to reinforce their own skills. All three students who responded indicated that they would recommend the experience to others.
Following the success of this pilot, Reece, a member of our student video team, has just won funding from Lincoln City Council to run a similar initiative in January 2019 where he and other members of the team will work with young unemployed people from the Sincil Bank area of the city to create videos over the course of a week.
Tom Wright is the Director of Digital Student Life at the University of Lincoln, leading the development of a number of initiatives designed to support student well-being and retention and enhance graduate outcomes.