(Video) Lessons learnt the hard way last forever

Hello, I am Katerina Lazidou, a research student working on a small project funded by the Digitally Ready team. This small project is being conducted for the School of Biological Sciences here at Reading, with Dr Teeroumanee Nadan and Dr Kimberly Watson.

This project is part of a larger HEA-funded initiative. This initiative has, at its heart, the student experience in all its definitions and particularly focuses on improving global employability skills of our students.

The School of Biological Sciences has been leading an initiative focused on ‘Creating a Global Agenda in the Biosciences’, which started in March 2012. To date, focus has been on several areas of the student experience, namely: teaching methods, learning styles, assessment methods, academic support (including tutorial teaching), technical support, and career management.

Work to date on this project, particularly student-led, has illustrated some key factors contributing to the enhancement of the student experience and especially toward improving the ‘global employability’ of our students.

In this small project, we wish to further improve our understanding of students’ and employers’ perception of employability skills through further focus group discussions and case studies with our students who have undertaken placement.

My present focus of the project is on interviewing home students who have undertaken placement/work experience abroad. I have successfully conducted my first case study and Tee has provided me support in recording interviews and editing the video. My personal experience so far is that interviewing is fun, but also requires a lot of planning.

When it comes to getting the interviewing part right, future notes of references to self are listed here:

  • What to wear? Or what not to wear? Inform the interviewee of dress code and make sure that they something formal enough to be in front of the camera.
  • Hiring the equipment: Make sure there is a camcorder, tripod and mike on loan at least 2 weeks before the interview is schedule. For my first interview I had to arrange for alternatives as those available from the University’s Multimedia Loans service were on loan and fortunately Tee knew from who to borrow a good quality camcorder.
  • Location matters all the time: Getting a quiet, spacious and nice looking room is near impossible during term time and working with what we have can be sometimes challenging. During the recent interview conducted, we had to borrow panels and posters to create an interview set in a rather poorly embellished room. A trip to the interview room beforehand is a must, and a test recording in that room would help me in the future. I learned the hard way that air-conditioning in a room can really interfere with sound quality in a video.
  • Shoot the ideal shot: Stabilizing the camera and getting the person in the right side of the window frame is a perfect shot for me. Although editing allows a certain flexibility, getting the shot right is important, especially with some people who tend to move their body while talking and they go out of the window frame.

Good luck being on my side, my recent interviewee was a student who was very comfortable in front of the camera and who understood exactly what was required of him and naturally avoided long pauses and uhs and ums, with well-formed sentences.

After interviewing the student, I spent most of my time learning how to use the video-editing software, Adobe Premiere Elements, from Tee. Hence I am still in the process of editing the video, but watch this space to read my first case study soon.

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