ENG 329: Professional Writing and Digital Video

Spring 2017| Sec 001 | Cand 2170

Dr. Marc C. Santos
www.marccsantos.com
marc.santos@unco.edu
Ross Hall 1180D
Office Hours: Monday / Wednesday 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

Course Introduction

This course develops your knowledge of and abilities working with digital video. While the course does require you have access to some kind of digital recorder (a smart phone will do), it does not anticipate any prior experience.

A series of (at first) creative and (later) pragmatic projects will develop students’ familiarity with many aspects of the composing process, including approaching lighting, learning shots, using video and audio editing technologies, screen capturing, and compressing and distributing video. Students will also learn standard professional writing genres and skills such as the memo, the questionnaire, usability testing, and documentation.

I hope this course accommodates a broad range of student experience and trajectories. It should provide you with the skills necessary to pursue jobs as a social media specialist or technology specialist (these jobs often call for experience making promotional videos, vlogging, streaming, or making tutorial videos). You might pursue a job as a multimedia reporter. If you are a gamer, then you might develop a twitch stream or even your own gaming review site. Should you aim to be either a scholar or a teacher, you will find that more and more research and teaching is expected to incorporate multimodality. While writing remains a valuable and commodifiable skill in our culture, increasingly the modes of delivery are expected to be more than simply words on a page. This course aims to make you comfortable with a variety of genres and modes stemming from video.

The course will follow a simple format: on Monday’s, we will review more theoretical readings about video and/or rhetoric. On Wednesdays, we will tackle a chapter from the Adobe Classroom in a Book. On Fridays, we will work on either in class exercises (to reinforce what we discussed on Monday and practiced on Wednesday) or you will work on an ongoing project. I don’t pretend to be an expert in video technology–while I have experience with it and the projects listed below, my expertise is on rhetoric (the study of human communication and why communication can fail) and composition (strategies for inventing, arranging, and revising communications). My expectation is that we will each bring different strengths to this course and be able to learn from each other.

Text and Materials

I work hard to keep my course costs manageable. That said, as both a technology course and a production course, there are a few expenses beyond the normal costs of books.

This course has three required texts:

  • Maira Kalman, My Favorite Things
  • Schroeppel, Bare Bones Camera Course for Film & Video
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC Classroom in a Book

Additionally, this course requires access to the Adobe Creative Suite. These programs can be accessed at several UNC computer labs. Students who wish to work at home might consider signing up for the Adobe Creative Cloud ($19 month for students).

I will ask you to create a YouTube account with a pseudonym for this course. You will upload videos and submit links to Canvas.

I strongly recommend you pick up a microphone for recording audio. Microphones run from 6-20 dollars and will greatly improve audio quality.

Finally, this course requires access to a digital recording device AND a tripod of some sort. A smart phone capable of recording digital video is sufficient, but students will be required to purchase a tripod for their phone; these typically cost around $10-30. Note that the UNC library has equipment rentals.

Major Projects

Below is a list of this semester’s major projects

Project One: Remediation Project

The first project introduces you to basic video production and editing. You will find an existing print text and animate it using still photography and multiple audio tracks.

  • Deliverables: a 2 minute that remediates a traditional, paper work or argument. Additionally, you will complete a reflection survey that explores your design choices, intentions, and workflow for the project.
  • Time: 2 weeks.
  • Skills: Importing media, managing a timeline, creating and editing audio files, photoshop editing, exporting video files.

Project Two: The Kalman Project

In your second project, you will create a short video inspired by the work of artist and writer Maira Kalman. This semester will will be working with Kalman’s book My Favorite Things.

  • Deliverables: a 3 minute video project with multiple audio files. Additionally, you will complete a reflection survey that explores your design choices, intentions, and workflow for the project.
  • Time: 4 weeks.
  • Skills: Emphasis on video quality including lighting, varying shots and shot length, establishing shot, developing credits/graphics, and transitions. We will also work with Audacity to optimize audio recordings.

Project Three: Just One Thing Project (Part One)

For the first part of Project Three, you will work in teams of two to produce a one-minute video advocating for people to make a small change in their daily routine. This video must contain scientific support for making this change. The video should also clearly identify why someone should make this change (benefits) and how someone can/should make this change (methods). The inspiration for this project is Joe Smith’s TED talk “How to Use a Paper Towel.” Rather than simply record a presentation on a stage, however, you are going to make something more artistic and persuasive.

Once your video is complete, 4 of your classmates will agree to make the proposed change and track its effect for one month. We will create user feedback response forms using Google Survey so that you can collect data on how the change impacted their lives. You will use this data in Project Five.

  • Deliverables: one 60 to 90 second video. Additionally, you will complete a reflection survey that details design choices and the research that informs your video. Finally, you will construct a Google survey that solicits feedback from your participants.
  • Time: 3 weeks.
  • Skills: In addition to further practice with video and video editing, Crafting meaningful questionnaires, working with Google Survey.

Project Four: Instructional Video

For our third project, you will work in groups of two or three to create a video that helps someone learn how to do something in Greeley. This video must include some amount of screen capture (taken with tools such as Jing, Skitch, or Captivate). This video will also need closed captions and a transcript for accessibility. These videos will be uploaded to YouTube.

  • Deliverable: a 4-5 minute video uploaded to YouTube with closed captions and a transcript.
  • Time: 3 weeks.
  • Skills: crafting meaningful documentation, introduction to making accessible video, working with screen capture technologies, publishing videos on social media.

Project Five: Just One Thing (Take Two)

For the final project, your group will revise and reshoot the “Just One Thing” videos, including the feedback from and new interviews with participants. Filming interviews can be tricky, and we will spend time on maximizing interview quality. These videos will reflect everything we have learned all semester, including accessibility.

  • Deliverable: one 90 second video
  • Time: 3 weeks.
  • Skills: This project seeks to reinforce all the skills we have been learning. Also, this project introduces filming interviews.

The course will be evaluated based on the following scale:

A+: 97-100% A: 93-96% A-: 90-92% B+: 87-89% B: 83-86% B-: 80-82% C+: 77-79% C: 73-76% C-: 70-72% D+: 67-69% D: 63-66% D-: 60-62% F: 0-59%

Here are the requirement weights:

  • Project One: 10%
  • Project Two: 20%
  • Project Three: 15%
  • Project Four: 20%
  • Project Five: 20%
  • Reading Quizzes, In-Class Assignments, and Canvas Discussion Participation: 15%

Attendance

Given the workshop elements of this course, attendance is essential. Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. That said, things happen. You may miss up to 4 classes this semester without penalty. Every absence beyond the 4th will result in a 10 point penalty.

If you develop an illness or have a family situation that requires you to miss more than one class session, then please contact me as soon as possible to see if we can work something out. Note that we might not be able to work something out.

Students who miss class are responsible for the material they missed.

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity

All members of the University of Northern Colorado community are entrusted with the responsibility to uphold and promote five fundamental values: Honesty, Trust, Respect, Fairness, and Responsibility. These core elements foster an atmosphere, inside and outside of the classroom, which serves as a foundation and guides the UNC community’s academic, professional, and personal growth. Endorsement of these core elements by students, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees strengthens the integrity and value of our academic climate.

The Department of English at UNC has adopted the following policy regarding plagiarism. Pretending that another¹s work is one¹s own is a serious scholarly offense known as plagiarism. For a thorough discussion of plagiarism, see the Dean of Students website:
http://www.unco.edu/dos/academicIntegrity/students/definingPagiarism.html

Students who are caught plagiarizing will receive a final grade of “F” in the course. In addition, they will be reported to the Chair of the Department of English and the Dean of Students office for possible further disciplinary action. If you need help with understanding documentation systems and avoiding plagiarism beyond the instruction given in class and as seen in the UNC Code of Conduct, speak with the instructor or visit the UNC Writing Center’s web site for a series of PowerPoint tutorials at http://www.unco.edu/english/wcenter/academicintegrityindex.html. Instructors use experience and a plagiarism detection service, Safe Assignment, sponsored by the University, to aid in spotting cases of plagiarism. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Some but not all UNC instructors regard double or repeat submissions of one¹s own work as a form of plagiarism. If you intend to use in this course written material that you produced for another course, please meet with me first. Otherwise, you may be guilty of cheating. I am open to remediating and expanding previously completed work in this class.

Disability Accommodations

Any student requesting disability accommodation for this class must inform the instructor giving appropriate notice. Students are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services (www.unco.edu/dss ) at (970) 351-2289 to certify documentation of disability and to ensure appropriate accommodations are implemented in a timely manner.

Parental Accommodations

As a parent, I understand that life can come at you fast. If you would miss a class session due to babysitting issues, please don’t. Feel free to bring your child to class.

Calendar

Week One

Monday Syllabus. Video Intro Assignment.
Home: Submit video intro assignment

WednesdayIntroduce Project One: Remediation. Play with Photoshop.
Home: Read Schroeppel #3 Basic Sequence

Friday Opening Photoshop. Please bring your Adobe book to class
Home: Work on your remediation

Week Two

Monday No class.
Home:Work on your remediation

WednesdayReviewing Project One. Work Day.
Home: Read Kalman

FridayVisual Rhetoric Crash Course. Generating a rubric for Project #1.
Home: Complete Project #1

Week Three

Monday Project One Reflections. Watch Project One. Discuss Kalman.
Home: Read Kalman.

Wednesday Adobe Premiere Chapter #2.
Home: Read Read Adventures in Juntland on “Affect.”

Friday How can we turn Kalman and affect into a video project?
Home: Work on Project 2; read assessment article

Week Four

Monday Generate rubric for Project 2
Home:

Wednesday Adobe Premeire Chapter 3
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Friday Work day on Project Two
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