Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Something cutsie and fun

It occurred to me after class that I didn't spend time on how one might create a bonding experience for others.  Managers sometimes need to to this for their staff, so it is an important thing to consider and think through.

This is one example I was involved in.  It is a seven minute video done in summer 2007 for the Educause Learning Technology Leadership Program, which that year was held in Madison Wisconsin.

Here is a little setup of what is in the video.  Heather Stewart of NYU and I were leading a session (there were 50 attendees from campuses around the country) on "presenting data."  I had not been involved the previous year with the LTL program, but Heather was and did a similar session then.  It didn't go well so she wanted to try something new. We discussed what that might be over several months.  Finally in one call we each shared our experiences of presenting in front of the Provost and how frustrating that was.  So we hit on an idea of a video to show such a presentation - one full of mistakes.  The ideas was to get the audience to enjoy the video for itself and then after to deconstruct it, find the errors, and have the audience offer up better ways to go about things.

In the video, Heather plays the learning technologist who will be making the presentation.  She is very good and "emotes" well.  I play her boss - the Campus CIO.  I'm something of a jerk in this movie and kind of throw her under the bus rather than prepare her properly for the presentation.

There are two others in the video.  The Provost is played by Perry Hanson, who was then the CIO at Brandeis (he has since retired).  He calls himself James Dean in the movie.  He ad-libbed that.  The other is Kathy Christoph who plays the Provost's budget officer (CFO).  Kathy was the head of Academic Technology at UW-Madison at the time and hosted the program.  (She too is retired now).

The conference started on a Monday afternoon and there was a banquet that evening.  We shot the video after the banquet to use in a session on Tuesday - so there is a just-in-time aspect to it and it is certainly a low budget thing.  Heather and I let Kathy know about it a week or two ahead of time because we needed Kathy to provide logistics support to make it work.  We only told Perry about it, however, at lunch on Monday just before the Institute started.  He was delighted to help and went with the flow.

There is a little bit of hiss in the video but otherwise it plays reasonably well on my PC using Windows Media Player.  I just tried out the link and it works that way.  If you right click on the link and launch the application requested it should play.

This is the link to the Mac version.  I don't know if it is live or not, but you can give it a try. 

The audience really liked the video (perhaps because it is so campy) and the session went really well.  Indeed, even though Heather ended her participation in the LTL program after that year, they continued to use the video for the next two years, where Malcom Brown and I lead the session.  Malcolm was fine doing that even though he didn't appear in the video.  It worked pretty well in those later sessions too.

One last comment - I know nothing about video production.  But it was my idea to draw the clock on the white board and make that part of the movie.  


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