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December 13, 2011

Thing 22: Finding and sharing YouTube videos

YouTube is the biggest video sharing website on the web. It has a wealth of content and provides some information about that content, such as how many times each clip has been viewed, and from which part of the world it has been viewed. Thing 22 requires you to find and share YouTube content relevant to your research. You will also be asked to provide a short commentary on the videos.

YouTube for researchers
YouTube has two distinct applications for research.

  1. You can use YouTube to present your own research outputs. This is becoming common as a means of reporting on ‘research in progress.’ For practical advice on producing video content, see my guide on video essays for the Wolfson Research Exchange.
  2. You can use YouTube as a primary data source. Always keep in mind the issues of value and validity. Who has uploaded this video, and why? There are also problems over the stability of YouTube as a data source, as this interview with Dr. Fanar Haddad makes clear.


Finding YouTube content
Locating relevant material can be a challenge on a fluid site like YouTube. The site has just updated its design as well, but this handy guide should answer any questions you have about layout or functionality. Sign in, either using your Google account, or creating an account via the button at the top left.

You’re now ready to start searching! Remember:

  • the query bar at the top allows for keyword searches, which you can then filter
  • pay attention to who has uploaded the content
  • if it is a trusted source, explore their other videos
  • it’s worth subscribing to YouTube channels of organisations and institutions directly relevant to your research.


Sharing YouTube content
Thing 22 is to find and share two YouTube videos relevant to your research. We also want you to comment on why you are sharing this content and why you think it is useful.

Embed one video into your blog and share the other via Twitter. The Share button will provide a custom message – you can edit this to provide your commentary.

Additional things

As Dr. Haddad suggests in the video above, downloading YouTube videos is one way of preserving them. Using these step-by-step instructions, download your chosen videos.

Further information


Thing 21: Creating a Prezi presentation

Prezi is a presentation tool that emphasises the connections between ideas. It presents an alternative to Powerpoint for conferences or seminars. Using Prezi can be a good way to ensure listeners remember your message! Thing 21 is to create a dynamic Prezi presentation on an aspect of your research.

Advantages of Prezi
First of all, let’s look at a video of Prezi in action:

As you can see, there’s an exciting freedom to Prezi’s visual style. The tool has two main advantages:

  1. It presents ideas as continuous, not broken into slides. This ‘open canvas’ approach allows you to scale information and images according to importance. It is also useful to focus in on detail, then zoom out to show the bigger picture.
  2. It does not require extra software. All you need to run Prezi is an online computer with Adobe Flash 10. This is particularly helpful in a conference situation, where laptops and flash drives can prove incompatible!


‘Power corrupts. Powerpoint corrupts absolutely!’
This striking statement comes from Edward Tufte, Yale Professor of Political Science, Statistics and Computer Science, quoted in the London Evening Standard. Tufte is one of the most vocal critics of Powerpoint as a presentation tool, arguing that it eradicates nuance and limits creativity. See the links under further information for other reasons to use Prezi over Powerpoint.

Creating your presentation
For Thing 21, we want you to create a simple Prezi presentation and blog about how you get on with it. Perhaps you can repurpose an old Powerpoint: the important thing is that you communicate an idea. Think about how Prezi’s features will help you get your message across.

Sign up to Prezi, selecting the Student/Teacher license which grants you 500MB free. Then watch these videos to get you started:

Now look at this step-by-step tutorial on Prezi basics. Putting your presentation together should take you about an hour – once you’re done, publish your Prezi on your blog! A guide for sharing your Prezi is listed in the further information below.

Further information


December 12, 2011

Creating and sharing multimedia

The author of this week's theme is Nicolas Pillai. Nicolas is an early career researcher in the department of Film and Television Studies. His latest research looks at the comic book's transmedia properties. Nicolas will be supporting your progress this week through comments on your blogs, or you can contact him via his eportfolio.

Multimedia tools allow us to promote research in the wider world. They involve a process of conversion, as we transform our ideas into visual representations. These tools allow us to engage not just with peers and experts, but also with non-academic audiences. Inevitably, this brings with it a unique set of anxieties.

The idea of balance will be important to both of this theme’s “things.” As I suggest in the video, it’s your research that must be the focus of any multimedia presentation. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it look pretty!

We will be exploring two kinds of multimedia:

  • media created by you (Prezi presentations)
  • media created by others (Youtube videos)


How do we, as researchers, make use of both kinds of media? Throughout this week’s tasks, it’s important to keep asking yourself how these tools can contribute not just to your own research activities, but also to teaching and to wider impact beyond the research sector.

Here are some questions to get you started:

How can I use multimedia in my research?
Creating a presentation on an aspect of your research can be a valuable process, allowing you to identify key points more clearly. Presentations are a powerful tool for disseminating your research at conferences and symposia, contributing to your researcher identity as well as provoking questions from your research community. We will also be looking at how multimedia can be used as a research tool, and the methodological issues that raises.

How can I use multimedia in my teaching?
Students respond well to multimedia teaching. Using YouTube in lectures can help to illustrate a point or raise questions. Some academics post videos of their lectures online, a great way of demonstrating confidence and accomplishment.

How can I use multimedia for impact?
Sharing is a social media watchword at the moment. Adding multimedia tools to your repertoire lets you distinguish yourself and stand out from the crowd. As well as creating the opportunity for collaboration, sharing your media allows you to reach non-academic audiences and involve them in your research.


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