This short paper demonstrates how The University of Sheffield has been scaling up media production training for students across increasingly broader disciplines at our Institution, in which the power of creativity is harnessed to deepen students’ learning of their specific, and often fairly “traditional” (non-media based) disciplines. We review how the impact of a new dedicated physical and virtual learning space has enabled a step-change in this capacity, resulting in embedding innovation across both a greater range of individual subjects, and impacting on large scale Institution-wide projects. This new capacity also feeds an increased development of staff’s media skills, in parallel with investment in a new media hosting platform.
We conclude our session with lessons learned, and how we plan to develop in the future.
Early pioneering work at Sheffield and other Institutions demonstrated how the creation of multimedia work by students as an alternative form of assessment, provides a highly potent means of enabling students to gain deep understandings of their topics, and in developing new ways of articulating these. (Allam, 2008, McElearney and Middleton, 2013). These early developments were supported at Sheffield on an ad hoc basis via the initiative of a few innovating colleagues.
Since 2010, there has been an incremental recognition of the value of this work, with a progressive increase in the number and variety of modules supported. In response to this, we sensed there was a need to add consistency and cohesion to the way that this was supported, alongside enabling a growth in capacity.
In 2016 this has undergone a step change, as a result of this service being relocated to the University’s flagship new learning space, and crucially, addition of three new staff. This has enabled the mode and amount of training to diversify and grow hugely. In the current academic year, this has enabled over 2,100 students (over 10% of our undergraduate population) to be taught across 31 modules on subjects including Physics, Dentistry, History, Management, Education, Engineering and beyond.
More students are now receiving more comprehensive training across more aspects of media production, including pre-production, filming, editing and animation. As well as face-to-face module specific training, we have also run new Institution wide courses. The first one has been delivered online via our VLE since 2013, and since 2015 has been approved as part of the University’s Higher Education Achievement Report programme. A second example demonstrating a significantly increased scale of provision has been the training of over 900 students from an entire Faculty, as part of the University’s Achieve More (cross-curricular/interdisciplinary) programme.
As this capacity has increased, so have we also started to train more staff in media production, identified as a key component of our broader Institutional vision for transforming the use of digital media across the University. This goes alongside our investment in a new media hosting platform.
Allam, C. (2008) Creative activity and its impact on student learning–issues of implementation. Innovations in Education and teaching International. Taylor & Francis
McElearney and Middleton (2013) “Valuing podcasting — students talk about their experience of educational podcasting”
In Andrew Middleton (Ed) . Digital Voices —a collaborative exploration of the recorded voice in post-compulsory education, first published by the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group and Sheffield Hallam University, 2013″