An unexpected question has come up this week and I am still pondering it…
Our Part One module convenors are all doing a great job of producing Prezis for our modules descriptions, which we will turn into screencasts. I hope that they will also be voiced by the convenors so that it is not just my voice on every screencast. All well and good, you might think, until we all got together.
One thing became clear as soon as we started to talk about the screencasts – each person was very attached to the Prezi template they had chosen, but they were very different from each other. This is not a huge problem, but it did lead to discussions about how standardised these things should be. Should a department (and/or school) ensure that all of the screencasts issued for a certain purpose (say, module descriptions) are based on the same Prezi/PowerPoint template?
Emma and I had already had a similar discussion, considering whether animated screencasts and Prezi-based screencasts would sit comfortably together in a group of related screencasts, so I should have expected that this discussion would arise with my department colleagues.
For now, we have agreed to create all of the draft Prezis (seven of them) and then compare. Given that Prezi will allow for different colour themes in one template, it would be possible for us to choose one template for all of them, or leave them as they are.
The second question that emerged was about how ‘deep’ the Prezi template should be. Should it comprise a series of connecting sections which sit flat in front of a background, or should the sections draw the viewer through an experience, such as along a road or into a building, or up mountain? I had no idea that colleagues would have such vivid ideas about this, but they do. We talked about whether we wanted our module descriptions to look like a journey with a goal at the end – on a Part One module? Isn’t that meant to be the start of a journey? Also, would it make the process of choosing a module look laborious if they wandered through a labyrinthine screencast to get an overview?
‘Flat’ style Prezi – easier to take an overview? Not interesting enough?
‘Deep’ style Prezi – more interesting and appealing? Too complicated?
I realise that we are academics and so can have a tendency to overthink everything we do, but I take heart from this experience. Who could have predicted that we would all come to care so much about screencasts?!