ES.333 | Spring 2015 | Undergraduate
Producing Educational Videos


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Course Overview

Production of Educational Videos is an introduction to technical communication that is situated in the production of educational videos; the assignments are all focused on the production of videos that teach some aspect of MIT’s first-year core curriculum. The objective of these assignments is improvement in both communication ability and communication habits; these improvements are effected by providing participants with instruction, practice, feedback, and the opportunity for reflection. In addition to improvements in communication skills, improvement is expected in students’ attitude towards writing, oral presentations, and collaboration; as the semester progresses, students should feel confident of their ability to write, present, and collaborate.

ES.333 instruction focuses on the communication tasks that are integral to the video production process:

  • Identification and analysis of audience, purpose, message, and story.
  • Iterative, collaborative creation and revision of the visual and audio elements that are edited into video.

Students can expect to communicate in a range of genres including informal oral presentations, formal project proposals, project debut, critique, white papers, written proposals, story boards, and video essays. In addition to the assignments specific to video production, a few assignments, especially reading, viewing, and reflection, will address the cultural situation of students, teachers, viewers, and producers in the world at large.

Interdisciplinary, collaborative, multi-media, open ended, fractal, creative, recursive, communication projects are complex and time consuming. Their solutions do not have easy to follow recipes; there are no neat, linear steps that the lead to success. The close coupling of the communication assignments to the video production implies an explicit increase in the complexity of the work load relative to non-integrated communication subjects. In turn, this complexity demands self-motivation, increased attention to planning and detail, a willingness to collaborate, and patience. This is life; if life is not your cup of tea, you should opt for a different subject.

Expect to devote four hours of “scheduled” time per week to ES.333; three of these hours will be “class” time, and one of these hours will be “lab” time that can be used for video editing and / or collaborating with other participants. Outside of the scheduled times, expect individual meetings with the instructors on a regular basis.

The Payoff:

  • Improved command of the communication process.
  • Three videos suitable for a portfolio and the skills to produce more.

Teaching Approach

ES.333 is based on the following premises:

  • Communication is both a process and a deliverable. Students will examine both the results of communication (e.g. text, presentations, images, soundtracks, and video) and the recipes for producing such results.
  • Communication improves with practice. There is no other way. Students will practice communication by communicating as necessitated by the video production process. Feedback, from both peers and instructors, in combination with reflection, results in better communication.
  • Communication is a collaborative activity, a collaboration between the communicator and the audience. Both can reasonably expect cooperation from the other. Without this cooperation, nothing is communicated. Communication is vital to collaboration among colleagues working together on a common task. Students will collaborate often to improve both their communication and their habits as communicators.
  • Writing, speaking, and video production are complementary skills.
  • To write the write, you need to read the read; to talk the talk, you need to listen.
  • Communicators put more time and effort into communicating when subject matter is near and dear.

All work in ES.333 is based on a collaborative design cycle, whereby individual vision develops in a supportive, critical, collaborative community. This collaborative cycle applies to both the communication work and the video production.



Course Requirements

Written work 50%
Videos 20%
Oral presentations 10%
Collaborative work 10%
Class participation 10%
Course Info
As Taught In
Spring 2015
Learning Resource Types
group_work Projects with Examples
assignment Written Assignments
assignment Media Assignments