Last week here at Baylor’s Educational Technology Showcase, the Academy for Teaching and Learning unveiled its premiere of course trailers. “What is a course trailer?” you might ask. Exactly what it sounds like.
Course trailers are a way to describe and promote various courses throughout the university. Basically, you interview a professor, have them discuss his or her course, and then you edit a trailer that looks something like a movie trailer. The idea originally was picked up by Addy Meira, an ATL graduate fellow, at the New Media Consortium conference last year in 2010. Universities like Harvard were utilizing course trailers to advertise courses to students in a more creative and engaging way (see examples of Harvard’s course trailers here).
Well, we took that idea and ran with it. We modeled it somewhat after other universities’ trailers, but we wanted to add our own Baylor/ATL flair to it. We not only cut it like a movie trailer, we cut it to tell a story. Our editing and post-production was done by the talented Mr. Patrick Shen, who is a graduate student in the Film and Digital Media department here at Baylor. Patrick has several years of experience working post-production in the industry (i.e., L.A.), and he cut the most beautiful trailer. The course was an introductory level philosophy course on the life and suffering of famed author, C.S. Lewis. The final trailer tells a story of the journey students will be taken on by taking this course. By including nature pieces, soundbits, interviews with the course professor, Trent Doughtery, and clips from the movie Shadowlands (on C.S. Lewis’s late life), Patrick created a world that invited students in rather than asking them to somewhat passively read a course description.
The premiere of this trailer at the EdTech showcase was phenomenal. We could not have received better reviews. Professors wanted to know how they could sign up for it. Individuals from all over campus were enthralled by it. Students wanted to take the class and asked “Is this on YouTube?” Great question, kids. Soon enough.
Our next plan of action is to get a few more professors to sign up for the course trailers and then create a few more pilot trailers. Then, we want to go big or go home. The next step will be to get a grant that will fund the project. After all, you have to hire talent like Patrick and Addy. We want to offer this service to several faculty members and ultimately host a course trailer page, much like Harvard does. Our hope is that Baylor embraces this exciting, creative, and engaging project. That’s where the Ivy Leagues are – inventing and creating cools stuff.
Hopefully the video link will be posted soon. Be looking for that.