Student Generated Content: A Few Tips
October 20, 2010 1 Comment
At the start of the school year, I gained a staff of 15 direct reports: student bloggers, photographers and videographers. I take the content they generate and post it for public viewing (web, blog, social tools, etc). It’s been an interesting challenge to give direction to a group of teens armed with iPhones, MacBook Pros and iPads, especially when I’m about 5,000 miles away (8000 km to those metrically inclined). Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far when sending instructions from California to Sweden:
Be as Clear as Possible
“Take lots of pictures” doesn’t accurately describe the types of photos you’re looking for, and it doesn’t help anyone figure out what to shoot. As with photographing any event, come up with a shot list: candids, photos of people, photos that give a sense of the location, photos that tell a story. Without this instruction, you’re likely to see lots of self portraits or photos of landmarks that could have been more easily obtained via stock photography. Photo of students in front of said landmark? Much, much better.
Make Content Delivery Easy
We’re all guilty of drafting blog posts and never finishing them, or filling a camera with photos and never importing them to the computer. This seemingly tiny disconnect between capture and delivery can be a juggernaut if you don’t address the issue. We’re handling it by cutting out as many intermediate distractions as possible. The mobile app version of Spot, our internal staff, student and faculty network, has a built in tool for uploading photos direct from the iPhone into the system. Students can tag and upload the content right then and there, so there are no excuses about misplaced cables or media cards. In turn, I can access and sort the content quickly and easily.
Build Content Creation into the Coursework
Instead of writing in a notebook or even in a Word document, we’re moving towards a more share-able model for coursework. This is currently in its early stages, but the ultimate goal is for projects to look less like a traditional term paper and more like a series of blog posts.