As your final assignment, you will prepare a 5-7 minute video (to be uploaded to YouTube, with a CC-BY-NC license) dealing with the material studied in one of the weeks of the course.
Ideally, I would like you to do this as part of a group. This both spreads the work around and enables you to collaborate to come up with a better product. I do recognize, however, that in 2020 group work may prove more difficult. On the whole, I trust the creative ways in which students usually manage to get around obstacles. However, I am also prepared to allow individual students to make their own videos if they so prefer.
You make take any angle you want on the video, include information from any country or social group, and focus on any element of Latin America (history, culture, economics and the like). However it should fit into the topical framework of one of the week’s themes (Example, Colonial Social Hierarchies, Independence Narratives, Revolutionary movements etc.)
The video will help your peers (and potential future students) understand and make the most of that material while helping them broaden their understanding of the region’s issues.
You should make use of the research undertaken in your “short research and writing assignment” as you put the video together.
Note that 5-7 minutes is not a long time! I encourage you to focus on a particular aspect or issue, rather than trying to cover all the material from a specific week. Videos longer than 10 minutes will receive a mark of 0.
You will submit your video by adding the file to a Dropbox that I will provide for this purpose. You will also send me the script of the video at the same time.
Group work can sometimes be a challenge, I understand. On the other hand, this is unlikely to be the first, and definitely not the last, time that you are asked to work collaboratively with others.
One common fault of student videos comes when they are effectively three (or two, or four) smaller videos, on separate if related topics, stitched together in some way by a uniform visual style. You should make sure to work together so that the text (as well as the visuals) is coherent and cohesive.
Moreover, you may want to think about the best way to divide up the work involved. There is no reason for all of you each to write part of the script and present your section, for instance. You may decide that one of you is in charge of the writing, another in charge of presenting, a third in charge of researching images or film footage, and (say) a fourth in charge of editing and production. This is, after all, how real movies are made!
You may find inspiration from looking at what students have produced in previous years. You will note that they have taken many different approaches.
Some years we have even voted on our favourites. The “Audience Award” winners in 2020 were Ana Laura, Maiya, and Mirella, for COVID-19 in Latin America. In 2015, the winners were Eva and Yusuke, for The Export Boom as Modernity. In 2014, the winners were Camila and Miles, for The Terror. And as of 2020, our most-viewed video on YouTube is Power to the People: Peronism, by Jacob, Melissa, Thalia, and Liz.
But you may also want to look elsewhere on the Internet for ideas and examples to follow. For instance, TEDEd also produces high-quality, short (five minutes or so) videos on educational themes. But there are plenty of other possible sources of inspiration out there.
This is a not a course devoted to the technical aspects of video production. Most of the marks for the exercise (70%) will be awarded for content, rather than form. I want your content to be thoughtful, informative, coherent, and comprehensive.
On the other hand, as when you write an essay or give a presentation, form should always enhance content. You should make sure, for instance, that any images are clear, any text is legible, and that the soundtrack is audible. You should definitely expect that you will need more than one take before you come up with the desired footage. Moreover, you should think carefully about how best to convey the material so that it is accessible, easily understood, and of use to its potential viewers. Therefore some part of the mark (30%) will indeed be awarded for technical aspects and form.
I encourage you also to be creative and think “outside the box.” Creativity does not necessarily mean fancy technical gimmicks. But it does mean thinking about how to present your material in an appealing and arresting way.
Equipment and software:
You are welcome to use any equipment or software you like to make the videos. You may use a camera, an iPhone, or even the built-in camera on your computer for recording. I do, however, recommend that you use some kind of microphone (which might include the microphone built into many headphones or earphones) to record sound.
Software possibilities include iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Final Cut… But I recommend Camtasia, which is available for free download via Connect. This is the software that I am using for the videos that I am making, and as such I am more able to help you with this program than with any other.
Please note that your videos will remain online, available for future students (and anyone else), after the course is over. Their CC-BY-NC license means that they can be re-used, and even adapted, by others so long as a) the original creator is credited and b) they are not used for commercial purposes.
Groups and Deadlines
In week 3 we will start forming our groups for the video project. The videos will be presented during a special viewing day, at the end of the semester.