Lecture 2.0 – Educational Videos Made in Germany
Media for Learning (Medien für die Lehre) is a project that was brought into being by of the German RWTH Aachen University in Germany. By producing high-quality digital content for educational purposes, the MfL team offers a variety of formats.
We talked with Vasco Dunker (responsible for video production at MfL) about educational videos, practical experiments, and a digital lecture series.
Get Educated about Modern Education
MfL produces a lot of digital content and services for educational purposes. In the future, all exams are bound to be digital, so MfL offers a lot of service and support to all professors who embrace this concept. On the other hand, their web applications ensure high engagement in teaching and learning.
As head of video production, Vasco is responsible for all production stages, from blueprints to final editing. The very core of his work is aimed at bringing lectures into the 21st century. His team produces educational videos, in which professors can present their subjects in a modern environment.
Watch an example of his team’s work:
Educational videos are an effective way to transfer knowledge to students. Yet only a few universities have established a dedicated team for producing them. Therefore, RWTH Aachen University is a pioneer in this field.
“The production of insightful and engaging videos requires thorough preparation, especially when you try to teach complex subjects,” says Vasco. This complexity mostly relies on the professors and lecturers who present the topics. “That’s where we sometimes hook people in: We try to instill the impulse in our presenters to try new things.”
Therefore, the usage of green screens and animation has become quite common within MfL videos. When applicable, they also try to integrate real-life objects. “For example, we have lecturers present experiments during their talks,” explains Vasco.
Instead of just talking, presenters are encouraged to give visual context to their talks e.g. by performing experiments on camera. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a1H2VJKaZg)
They also design educational content and produce explainer videos for complex machinery and chemical experiments. “We always try to make the best content for the lecturers and professors who come to us so they can spread the word,” says Vasco.
Recently, his team worked on an entire video-lecture series about business and economics. “It was a huge task,” explains Vasco. The lecture focuses on how to spot and deal with disruptions in businesses. “In the end, we had around 60 to 70 videos in the pipeline.”
The lecturer then had to review all of these video files. To make this work, Vasco’s team had to upload all of these files to their secure private server, then send them to the lecturer to download and watch. After that, the lecturer had to write all his feedback and change requests in a lengthy email. “At least that’s how we used to do things,” explains Vasco. “But now we use Filestage, and things have become much easier for all of us.”
A New Way of Reviewing
Instead of discussing the videos via email—or even worse, on paper—Vasco’s team now has an accessible tool that streamlines the entire process. “Filestage significantly accelerates the video-production process,” he says. So exactly how does Filestage make MfL’s workload easier?
First of all, Filestage helps them keep an overview. “For the lecture series, it was very important to keep track of things,” Vasco adds. “Which video is approved? Which one is in review? What are the next steps? Filestage makes all of that clear and easy to follow.”
Secondly, it’s an intuitive way of giving feedback. “Some of our clients aren’t really technophiles. But even they understand Filestage without needing any form of explanation. It offers very low-threshold access to reviewing,” Vasco clarifies.
Vasco’s team also doesn’t have to host their own server. Instead, they can rely on a secure cloud solution in Germany. So the files they need to review are always safe. “This is very important to us since most of our clients value privacy and data security very much,” he concludes.