Using the "Green Room" for Original Educational Content

General Idea of the Model

 Here is my first three goes at using a "green room" to develop original educational content for flexible delivery. This is made possible by the University of Canberra with the professional guidance of the very capable Michelle McAulay ().

The purpose of this post is to demonstrate a simple approach to enabling flexible delivery using original content in multimedia formats. Consequently, this is a first draft and I will post more as the concept is developed further. Obviously there are grammatical errors in the text as the first two videos were off-the cuff statements about one of the units I teach and my research specialisation. The third video is my first go at using Teleprompter Lite (the free version) with the iPad gaffer-taped directly under the camera. (Tip for young players: have the iPad as close as possible to the camera and then only look at the iPad - flicking from iPad to camera ruins the mood.) The Lite version does not allow you to customise the speed, so we played around with using line spaces but it was (obviously) not the best tool. The paid version has a custom slider for speed setting so it was worth the small fee for this feature.

In future I will be using the following procedural steps:
  1. Drafting the speech and paste into a blog post using Blogger.
  2. Add hyperlinks to the blog post as required.
  3. Copy the post and paste it into the Teleprompter Pro app.
  4. Film using the teleprompter.
  5. Add background/s to video.
  6. Add video to blog post.
See the first drafts below.

Welcome to 6606 Government-Business Relations

Hello, I'm Michael de Percy, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Canberra, and welcome to 6606 Government-Business Relations. This unit is a foundation unit for all of the degree programs within the faculty. We focus on the generic skills of written communication, and also critical thinking. We will introduce you to a broad range of topics covering both government, business, and their interaction with society. This is a very important conceptual understanding for any of the courses that you will undertake within the faculty. The relationship between government and business is multifaceted and complex and we will teach you how to "unpack" some of those complexities. In the modern era, often the line between government and business is not clear. Indeed, business is increasingly taking on roles that in the past was the sole domain of government. So in this unit we will introduce you to some of the theoretical concepts of liberal democracy, social democracy and also the capitalist economic system. We will look at the varieties of capitalism that exist throughout the world, and also we will look at the international institutions, and the way that governments throughout the world attempt to manage the global economy. In this unit we will also introduce you to models of government-business relations and some of the political ideologies which inform the various approaches to policy. Welcome to the University of Canberra, and I trust that you will enjoy your studies here at Australia's Capital University. Good luck!

My Research

[This was a first take speaking off-the-cuff about my research.We could have had a few more goes at it but I think using the teleprompt will be a much more efficient way of developing content, especially if we will be shooting entire lectures.]

Hello, I'm Michael de Percy, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Canberra. My research focuses on communications technologies, and their interaction with the state. What I am particularly interested in is how communications technologies form critical junctures in institutional development. What I am currently working on is a model of the co-evolution of communications technologies and political institutions. In the Australian case, I am interested in how a long history of government control helps or hinders the deployment of communications technologies, in particular broadband. But it is very difficult to make sense of what is happening today without an appreciation of history. Indeed, right back to the time of the telegraph, we find starting points in institutional design and development which continue to influence the telecommunications industry throughout the world today. By examining in cross-national comparison, I am able to identify the influence of institutions on these technology outcomes. It is a very interesting and challenging approach to study, focusing in particular on the theories and methods of historical institutionalism. Thank you very much.

My Teaching Philosophy

[This was our first attempt using the Teleprompter Lite app. Without a customisable speed slider it wasn't the best, but I would say some more experimenting and the Teleprompter Pro app might see a significant improvement. The video highlights the difference between spoken and written text - I may need to revamp the philosophy so it doesn't sound so staid.]

Having grown up in suburban and regional Australia and lived (in my earlier years, at least) Aristotle’s concept of the ‘unexamined life’, the conscientious study of political science has been an enlightening journey. Through the patience, graciousness and understanding of various great people who have influenced my academic, personal and professional life, I have been able to transcend the vernacular of my socio-cultural influences to achieve a broader, less polemical, understanding of the value of education in a liberal arts sense. The prospect of teaching others the value of independent and critical thinking, then, remains for me a very important component of challenging existing views of the political world.
The consequences of power relationships which exist in the political realm are ubiquitous to the extent that it is pedestrian to suggest that understanding the relationships of power which exist between individuals, groups and ‘the state’ are necessary to understand the concepts of justice , equity and freedom so often captivated by Western ideals of liberal democracy. Indeed, a typical first-year university student will often awake to the discourse of politicians and the news media and accept such positions as not only normative, but ‘right’ – despite the particularly Australian notion of a Dixonian ‘well-informed citizenry’ being crucial to maintaining a civil society within a Westminster-style liberal democracy. Yet many students lack both an awareness and appreciation of the world beyond that which is provided by the so-called ‘common’ values expressed by contemporary politicians and journalists.
As a teacher of political science, I strive to do more than merely present students with facts and figures that they can recite under exam conditions. I attempt to facilitate the learning process, helping students to take the first step on the journey toward thinking critically and for themselves, regardless of their chosen profession, while becoming more responsible and better-informed professionals and citizens of humanity. I strive to achieve this goal within the bounds of the discipline of political science, ever conscious of good intentions which may easily lead to the polemic.
Embarking on this journey, however, requires a willingness to engage in critical thinking. As such, my classroom practices focus on fostering such critical perspectives. I encourage students to challenge not only the conventional wisdom of politics, but also their own preconceived notions, ideals and beliefs. While I am a firm believer in the pedagogical value of lecturing based on sound research, and I make every effort to cultivate discussion in tutorials through the presentation of student’s ideas, collegial critiques and interpersonal reflection. I do not regard myself as someone who simply distributes knowledge in the classroom. Indeed, I attempt to provide students with the opportunity to share in the educational experience by creating a collegial learning environment in which everyone may examine their own perspectives, biases and preconceptions without fear or prejudice - within the bounds of the academy’s normative concept of mutual respect.
Moreover, I believe that it is crucial to incorporate the ‘real world’ in the classroom whenever possible. For instance, I often ask students in my introductory classes to consider how concepts of politics and power relate to their particular courses of study. Often, students cite this approach in their evaluations as a valuable skill which will assist them in their future professions. When I am able to make the connection between theory, empirical reality and professional vocations enlightening for the students, I feel that I have truly accomplished my major goal as an educator.
As Owen Dixon once argued, the fate of liberal democracy in Australia depends upon a vigilant and informed citizenry. As a teacher of political science, I consider it my challenge to help students ‘unpack’ the complexities of the political and social interactions around them and encourage them to develop a greater appreciation of the diversity of political, social, and cultural institutions. I have often told my students that I consider my class to be successful if, at the end of the semester, they have challenged their own beliefs and can at least defend these beliefs on the basis of an empirical understanding that transcends ‘greedy reductionism’. To this end, I believe that it is only through achieving a more thorough understanding of the political world around us that we can begin to change it for the better.

Next Steps

I am hoping we can get a green room as a permanent fixture for staff to develop online content. I've tried with sole-operator office-based equipment but it is much too difficult, and even more difficult if lecturers are to develop their own multi-media content as a going concern. Having another person to work the equipment and provide feedback as you go is essential. I think, too, that breaking up the video with pictures or other film footage (relevant to the spoken content) will be useful (documentary-style). Of course, there are then copyright issues. Nevertheless, I am confident the model will work and will post details as the pilot unfolds.