Video Creation as a Form of Learning

Problem Based Learning

Problem Based Learning is a new method of learning in which a student or group of students is given a question or project. The student(s) have learned the basics needed to accomplish the assignment in lecture or class. They only need to apply what they have been taught. However, they will have to use the concepts and knowledge in a manner the student has never seen before. The teacher, or professor, is still present floating from group to group. If they see a student or group that is lost or going the wrong way, they will assist. However, they are too “aid the student, not to let the student aid [the professor].” (Genereux, 8) This means when a student is stuck on a problem the instructor will not solve it for him nor show him how to solve it. The instructor will simply tell him what the door looks like. The student has to find the door, open it, and walk through their self. This allows the student to “ponder and struggle,” this is where true learning takes place. (Genereux, 11) When a student has to take time and truly think about the problem he is learning. When the student is simply taking a formula and plugging in values, or following set rules, they do not know what they are doing only that it is how to get the answer. In the real world these students will encounter problems that need to be solved. If they are trained to solve problems throughout their education they will be much for apt for the job. One of the best ways to create this skill is using video projects.

Video Projects




Video projects are just one form of Problem Based Learning. Therefore, they have a similar process. However, they compile all of the knowledge learned into a concise video. Student produced videos can be used to teach the rest of the class a topic, to teach future classes on the topic, or just as a tool to consolidate the information attained by the students during the assignment. The main issue with video projects is that it tends to take a lot more time then traditional teaching. (Ellis, Lee, 246) However, most of this is time used to teach student how to use the technology, such as video cameras, and editing software. In “Enhancing Student Learning with Video Projects,” Bill Generoux, an engineering professor at Kansas State University, states “Those who are truly literate in the 21st century will be those who learn to both read and write the multimedia language of the screen.”(Genereux, 18) This statement turns wasted time teaching IT, into time teaching students the fundamentals of future communication.

Video based projects are fairly new to the educational system. There are no set rules to follow in order to obtain the highest standard of learning. However, they are starting to become apparent through trail and error. For example, Rina Dochin, a professor in the linguistics department of The University of Illinois, attempted to have her students create a video series. She first attempted to split her class into groups of eight. Realizing that in such a large group, one student can rely on other students to do the majority of the work she then attempted to use groups of two or three. Video creation however, has to many different aspects for only two students to cover. She found the best number of students to be four. (Dochin, 8) Four is enough for each person to learn one aspect of video creation and contribute equally and at the same time be noticed, by the team and the professor, when not working. With the same method she found scripted videos to be more affective. She first let her students do spontaneous videos, however this turned out to be “too embarrassing and unpleasant for the students.”(Dochin, 6) She saw her students were more willing and excited to be filmed, if they were more prepared. She makes very clear that “ all the student’s scripts were first cleared by me.” (Dochin, 7) Once professor Dochin found what worked best, she said that the videos were a great way to reinforce lots of knowledge, from grammar to facial expressions. Professor Dochin also documented that the paramount learning occurred when students tried to explain topics and concepts to other students.

Professor Generoux taught two networking classes for first year students in the spring of 2008. In both classes, he taught about how information is downloaded, transferred and saved. In his morning class professor Generoux assigned a video project where four groups consisting of four students each were told to make a video explaining and visually representing this process. He noted his morning class was much more awake and engaged then his afternoon class, despite the early start to the day. The professor told the students to write their own scripts, he believes it “promotes more involvement and understanding.”(Generoux, 12) Professor Generoux also stressed the need for structure. He provided a grading rubric and had weekly progress reports. He believes that first year student do not yet have the ability to meet self set deadlines, and tend to attempt to finish month long projects the night before. (Generoux, 10) Professor Generoux noted that even students, who seamed to totally grasp the concepts in lecture, required a deeper understanding to clearly and concisely articulate the ideas in the video. He found the main detriment to the project was the time needed for the students to become “familiar with the technical side of the project.”(Generoux, 17) Professor Bill Generoux wrote this article in joint with Professor Elena Mangiane-Lora, a Spanish teacher at Nortre Dam.

Professor Mangiane-Lora met Professor Generoux at a teaching conference in the summer of 2007. They discussed the idea of video based projects. Agreed to attempt to use this new method of learning in their college level classes, and present their findings in a cooperative paper. Professor Mangiane-Lora split her semester into two parts. First the students would learn grammar and extensive repertoire of vocabulary words. Then, after viewing a Spanish telenovelas, or Spanish dramas. The students were instructed to create their own telenovelas. She had similar method and results to Professor Generoux, however she focused on the fact that the project left a “tangible residue. ”( Mangiane-Lora, 7) She noted that many of her students used the recordings in their portfolios’. Professor Mangiane-Lora and her student both stated that the recordings “exemplified the ability to collaborate with members of a team, meet deadlines, communicate clearly, and use digital multimedia technology.” (Mangiane-Lora, 9) Opposed to a simple mark stating completion of a class. Both students and professor were upset with the time needed for completion and numerous technical problems. The major issue was lost and damaged memory chips from the video cameras rendering them useless.

Video projects are applicable to all fields of education. In language, they allow students to hear and see errors in pronunciation and grammar. In sciences, engineering, and mathematics, videos serve to reinforce and visualize concepts. Arguable more vital to the real world are the skill learned in the process of creating the videos. Those skills include mastery of multimedia, creating and meeting deadlines, and most important of all cooperation. (Grodnitzky, 3) In this way, video project are a unique method of education.

Professor Glenn Ellis and professor Kathryn Lee, of the Picker Engineering Program, attempted to utilize these benefits by assigning a video project to their fall 2003 EGR 270 class, also called continuing mechanics class. The forty-one students were split into ten groups of four and one of five. It should be noted that the students were already egger to learn before the assignment. (Ellis, Lee, 2) the students were told to create a two to three minute video on motion and were given grading rubrics. Thirty-six of forty-one students went to all three of the optional IT workshops. (Ellis, Lee, 5) The students were fascinated even by the video camera itself, “One student even requested a spare video camera to take apart and put together again.”(Ellis, Lee, 5) in a class survey, after the assignment was finished, students found the group work to be the most intriguing and helpful. The survey also reported an average of twenty-three hours to complete the two to three minute video. (Ellis, Lee, 7) The videos were used in later years to teach students about the basics of motion. The videos employed background music, humor, and charismatic acting to captivate their audiences. One student, when asked if watching the videos would help others, stated, “Of course, students know what will keep other students paying attention. Students know what students like!”(Ellis, Lee, 9) Another student, when asked about their favorite portion of the assignment, responded, “Finally, I was able to express my creativity in an engineering class”(Ellis, Lee, 9) Professor Ellis, after finishing the semester, noted the project was a overall success. However they were not able to learn as much information as with a traditional teaching method. She also emphasized that in the professional world, especially in engineering, the students would have to learn to cooperate with all types of people, from an “eco-friendly liberal” to an “cutthroat entrepreneur”. (Ellis, Lee, 8) It is more beneficial for students to learn to collaborate in class with other students, including stubborn ones, rather than in their professional career. Where, arguing about methods and procedures can cost thousands of dollars, and the student their job. In one student’s review of the course, they stated that the video project was so interactive and fun. Unlike lectures, even online lectures. (Ellis, Lee, 9)

In spring of 2008, professor Andrew Litchfield and professor Laurel Dyson, of The University of Technology in Sidney, put almost one hundred hours over the semester recording and posting online lectures.(Litchfield, Dyson, 145) At the end of the semester, the percentage of student who viewed at least one lecture was a pitiful thirty-six percent. In frustration over the practical waste of time, the two professors began planning a course that was centered on a video project. Hoping that it would bring an active learning experience. In spring of 2009 they were determined to end students texting, sleeping, and “Looking only for a pass.”(Litchfield, Dyson, 145) They both taught a class of ninety-six students, which they divided into twenty-four groups of four students each. The professors gave out surveys to the students, asking them about previous IT work, video recording skills, editing skills, and weather they thought group work was beneficial. Only fourteen percent of students had previously worked with IT. (Litchfield, Dyson, 146) Then with the professors’ minor guidance, the groups carried out the project. Due to a limited number of video cameras, students had to schedule short periods of time for use. All of the groups successfully created videos. The Professors recorded that over ninety-five percent of students were excited and involved on a daily basis. (Litchfield, Dyson, 146) The majority of groups worked as if they were colleagues in a business, with only a handful of minor incidents. After the project had been completed, the same surveys were handed out to the students. The percentage of students who marked proficient ability to videotape jumped from twenty-seven percent to forty-nine percent. Their editing ability skyrocketed from sixteen percent to fifty-one percent. Most interesting was the question “Is a team work beneficial to your learning experience?” with an increase from thirty-five percent to seventy-six percent. (Litchfield, Dyson, 149) Again the only problem with the assignment was the time need for completion. With only fourteen percent of the student ever having done an IT project, huge amounts of time were used for training. As well as a lack of equipment lead student frustration. (Litchfield, Dyson, 150) However, overall the project was a huge success and an improvement. So much so that the university granted the professors four thousand dollars to further research and purchase more equipment. That solves one issue relating to the time consumption but money cant fix everything.

Solving Problems

Lets summarize what the main issues were with video based projects. One issue that was mentioned in almost every article was the lack of equipment. A grant, or some type of funding, to provide the schools with more equipment would solve this issue, but video cameras are expensive. Another main problem was students required training in IT before they could begin to learn through it. With the surveys completed by professors Litchfield and Dyson class, it is easy to see that even after one video project, the student’s aptitude with technology drastically increases. Therefore, over time students would use less time becoming familiar with the technology and would be able to add music, insert a narrator, and simply edit faster. However, it must be noted that, many schools already do not have enough funds for basics, such a books and even desks. There is one device that can dramatically ease the integration of video projects into schools.

That is the Flip video camera. The Flip is a small compact video recorder. The company has several different models on the market, but the base model is just one hundred and forty-nine dollars. (Grayson, 2) In an article called “Flippin’ Out” Katherine Grayson, a high school teacher, handed out the Flip cameras to her class and she noted the reaction of her students. “Oh Wow!” several students exclaim, “These are so cool” squealed a few others. (Grayson, 3) They are fairly rugged, in the fact that they will not break easily. The economical release off schools’ budgets is a positive factor but more so is the affect on students. The Flip is extremely easy to use with only a few buttons (forward backwards record and delete). The facet of the Flip that is most vital is the flip out USB drive. This allows students to simply plug the camera directly into a computer and pull off all the recorded video within minutes. Therefore, the flip can be used fast, and in turn less video cameras are needed. This USB drive also eliminates memory cards, which get lost or broken, making the video camera obsolete. The Flip lowers barriers to entry to video projects, allowing more teachers and students to partake. But, it does not fix all the problems.

Video projects are a great way to reinforce ideas and concepts presented in lecture. However, they must not be over used for they are simply too time consuming. In general, the video projects were very helpful for students. They allow for a new medium where creativity and teamwork leads to success. In “Interviewing the Experts” Professors Armstrong, Ed.D, and Tucker, Ph.D in decision science, of Shippensburg University, assigned a video project with similar method and results. In a class survey, the students ranked three topics. Five being the highest score. The students gave an average of 4.8 for fostering creativity, 3.7 for cooperation between groups, and 4.2 for prompting self-confidence. (Armstrong, Tucker, 25) Similarly, students in Professors Ellis’ and Lee’s class enjoyed the freedom of creativity and felt a sense of pride in their work. Students seam to love these types of projects with responses such as “Creating movie was new and fun” and “unique and motivational.” (Armstrong, Tucker, 25) (Generoux, 12) It must be taken into account that is this the first time producing a video project for the majority of students. Thus, perhaps through repetition the students will no longer be excited by video projects and they will not be as effective as previously thought. Perhaps this type of learning might become a normalcy in the world of education. It is my personal belief that they will be used sparingly but will serve as an effective enrichment for the educational process.

Work Cited

Armstrong , Gary, Joanne Tucker, and Victor Massad. "Interviewing the Experts."Shippenburg University (2009): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <>.

Dochin, Rina, , and . "Video in Language Learning." University of Illinois Department of Linguistics (1999): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010.

Ellis, Glenn, and Kathryn Lee. "Learning Engineering Mechanics ." Picker Engineering Program (2004): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010

Genereux, Bill. "Enhacing Student Learing with Video Projects." Kansas State (2009): 1-19. Web. 3 Dec 2010.

Grayson, Katherine . "Flippin Out." THE Journal 3 Jan.2010: n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <

Grodnitzky, Andrea. "Lights, Camera, Learn!." Richardson 2008: n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010. <>.

Litchfield, Andrew, Laurel Dyson, and Marijke Wright. "Student Produced Vodcast." University of Tchnology Sidney (2009): n. pag. Web. 3 Dec 2010.

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