Student Video Fellowship: Brenda Neece

Brenda Neece
Curator, Duke University Musical Instrument Collections

During the 2008-2009 academic year, Brenda Neece, title, participated in the CIT’s Student Video Fellows program.  This Fellows track offered a group of faculty from a range of disciplines the opportunity to investigate how to effectively design student video assignments, assess video work in the courses, and technology and support options available at Duke for them and their students.  Neece developed two assignments for her course.

The first video assignment, a Video Musical Instrument Dictionary Definition, was designed to get students familiar with the process of making and video and to become more familiar with the history and function of particular instruments.  Students chose one instrument and produced a short video that defined the instrument, how the instrument is used in contemporary music, and how the instrument works – parts of the instrument, its range, and so on.  They turned in a written draft script before shooting the video and their grade was based on the quality of their definition.  The videos allowed the students to use multimedia to show how the instruments sounds and how it is played – key aspects in their understanding of the course materials.

Neece was pleased with the results.  The students were able to either demonstrate the instruments themselves or find someone in the local community to play the instrument and became familiar with using the technology to present stories and information.  In addition, the students had a session with a librarian and learned how to cite video and audio excerpts in the work they produced.  In the video clip below, Neece discusses the results of the assignment in depth.

The second assignment, a group activity, was creating a video tour of their ideal musical instrument museum.  In the past, this museum tour was done as a written piece with illustrations.  With this new approach, using video for the students’s work, they were able to bring in interviews, demonstrations, outside sources into a compelling piece that mirrors a “virtual” exhibit or informational video they might be called on to produce when working in a museum.  Students were given clear guidelines and steps for producing the video and how it would be assessed.  In this video, Neece discusses how the assignment was constructed and graded.

Neece plans to continue using video assignments in the course in the future.  The assignments did have some glitches – an online video editing service she planned on using was taken down during the course and, with consulting from the CIT, came up with alternative for the students to use to complete their work.  So, she plans on being better prepared with specific software for the students to use when she teaches the course again.

Neece believes that video and multimedia are important in the student experience – the technology is allowing scholars to communicate in new ways and students need to be prepared to use this way of presenting their work and lets faculty and students bring the work of experts into the classroom.