TIP 1: Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies of DBDConnect Online Learning
DBDConnect Online Learning’s mission is to provide every student—regardless of socioeconomic background, race / ethnicity, ability / capability, and sex / gender— the same opportunity to learn through very carefully selected and implemented technology and specific subject matter, so that students will use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to help anyone in need and become role models in their community.
DBDConnect Online Learning’s vision is to motivate students to be accountable, respectful, and help their global community by becoming experts in their field utilizing current, real-world knowledge and skills through lifelong learning.
Goals and Strategies
In order to accomplish its vision, DBDConnect Online Learning will utilize the following:
Goal 1: Teach students to master the technology required to create video content
Strategy: All students will learn how to use all the features in the latest version of Sony’s professional nonlinear video editor, Sony Vegas Pro (SVP).
Goal 2: Train students to engage in high level thinking by creating accountable video content that is standards based, understood by all, and provides a powerful message.
Strategy: Students will partner with a charitable or religious organization in their community and create a public service announcement (PSA). The PSA will raise awareness, and include captions for the hearing impaired and ESL students while adhering to Sony’s standards (Vegas Pro 13 manual, 2014).
Goal 3: Teach students in an online environment that is up-to-date, reliable and usable by any student.
Strategy: Students will be provided with an online learning portal, Moodle, that is easy to use, compatible with assistive devices, and provide rich, robust educational content that will stimulate creativity and inspire students to learn (Inside Moodle, n.d.).
TIP 2: Needs Assessment
Strengths – What are the current strengths?
The strength of DBDConnect Online Learning is twofold: The technology (servers), and the portal itself, Moodle. First, the technology. The entire portal, Moodle, will be hosted on redundant, managed servers hosted by 1&1, it is worth noting that DBDConnect has been using 1&1 for over a decade and 1&1’s services are very reliable. 1&1’s cloud servers provide, among other features, load balancing, redundant failure protection, and on the fly upgrades (1&1 Cloud server, n.d.). It is absolutely essential to have a constantly running, smooth operating environment regardless of the stress on the system i.e. number of simultaneous users, types of activities performed by users, hardware failure, etc. By incorporating 1&1 cloud servers, students will not be in danger of encountering showstoppers such as, for example, being locked out, or having the site crash during a test. Moodle is a robust, open source, online learning platform that offers incredible flexibility to educators and a robust learning environment to students (Community driven, globally supported, n.d.). Students will have access to rich study material that will be provided as part of the class. For example, guides, video and written tutorials, as well as a special “What if?” section. This special section will include alternatives to the regular lesson that are meant to challenge students to go beyond the normal lesson. For example, it will include advanced methods such as using special filters, editing techniques, rendering using customized format settings, and more. Also, there will be a “Guest” feature which will allow students to show their in-progress work to the charitable or religious organization with which they have partnered. The learning environment will be fully Section 508 compliant for students with disabilities (Section 508 standards for electronic and information technology, 2000; Web accessibility initiative (WAI), n.d.). As for English language learners (ELL), all video tutorials will have captions.
Weaknesses – What are the current weaknesses?
Video/film production and editing is a cooperative activity. While it is possible to have students collaborate, say by sharing experiences while working on their PSAs, it is not the same. According to Concept to classroom (n.d.), cooperative learning involves teams working together face-to-face. It is this experience that the online learning method leaves out. Even though students will be working face-to-face with their chosen charitable or religious organization, it is not on the same level as working with other students because they will not be able to help each other with the more technical aspects present in the industry.
Another weakness is how students will obtain the proper equipment. First time entry into this type of industry requires some highly priced equipment such as microphones, lights, tripods, and of course the camera itself. It is possible to start with some modestly priced equipment, however, it is still an upfront cost that must be considered very carefully. While students can choose to rent instead of buying, which can save them thousands of dollars, at some point they will still have to invest the thousands of dollars required to enter the industry.
Opportunities – What are the future opportunities?
Opportunities will present themselves organically based on student surveys, replies to forums, and of course the actual projects themselves. Based on the forums and the overall coursework, more than likely a particular video tutorial will have to be redone or more video tutorials will have to be added to clear up any confusion. Also, after carefully examining student work, it may be necessary to tweak the course itself in order to help students improve their projects. Then, there is the all-important surveys. This is where an entire upgrade may be needed to the servers in order to support some new app or capability that the majority of students want. One that comes to mind is better video protection, so students will not have to worry about having their videos downloaded when showing samples to the public.
Threats – What threatens those future opportunities?
Unfortunately, some of the wonderful opportunities that will arise from the course itself, can in turn become threats. Specifically, protected video streaming can cost thousands of dollars and as such this is the biggest threat. Another budget buster, though not as severe as video streaming, is server upgrades. While upgrading it is a matter of a few clicks, the cost can be quite high. For example, simply doubling the random access memory (RAM) from 8GB to 16GB drives up the cost to double the price (1&1 Cloud server, n.d.). Of course, the ideal situation would be for the course to finance itself but until this can be achieved, the budget will remain a main concern.
TIP 3: The Planning Process
State Goals and Objectives with Local Strategies and Measures
Environment Because Moodle is strictly an online environment, it is only natural that the entire class will be strictly online. Students will be encouraged to participate in the provided forums because it will be part of their grade. As it has been mentioned before, video production is a cooperative activity and as such this is not possible when learning online (Concept to classroom, n.d.). However, as a way to encourage community among students, the forums will be heavily utilized by posting questions on various video topics that students will be required to answer and offer additional input. As for students who do not have an Internet connection at home and rely on other resources for access, such as the library, they will receive additional time to complete their assignments. The same will apply to special needs students.
Students will be presented with several SVP edited videos featuring before/after segments, animated 3d titles, animated transitions and various audio effects. This will be done in order to demonstrate the power and versatility of SVP. They will also be presented with PSAs from various organizations including PSAs from DBDConnect in order to help them draw ideas and inspiration for when it comes time for them to do their own PSAs. According to Slavin (2015), explaining or modeling concepts, skills, etc. helps students gain valuable insight so they are better prepared to perform a particular task. And this is what the videos are meant to do; they will provide examples so students may use the demonstrated concepts to create their own videos as well as to learn how to use SVP. In addition to all the videos, there will be instructions on the forums as well as in the course guide, and of course plenty of online interaction with their classmates and instructor.
Students will be able to use SVP to edit and render their video files and create their own PSA. They will do so by using higher level thinking acquired by their work in the course and they will be confident in using SVP. In addition to simply knowing how to use SVP, they will be able to make intelligent, real world decisions as to how edit and render a video based on where it will be posted and streamed. Because students will have created a real world PSA under real world conditions e.g. actual organization, discovery meetings, etc., they will be more confident in their abilities and as a result be more encouraged to continue their learning.