When asked to write a 10-page essay, or find credible and accurate research sources, or balance academic responsibilities effectively, students often don’t know where to begin. The Learning Commons – a collaborative partnership between the Writing Department, York University Libraries, Learning Skills Services and Career Services – has produced a series of five fun, informational videos that highlight the academic supports available to students who are hoping to refine their skills.
The Access to Success video series takes the viewers on a student centred virtual tour of the Learning Commons Hub, Ask: Chat with a librarian instant messaging service, and the Writing, Library Research, and Learning Skills supports available at York.
Librarian, Kent Murnaghan, initially received 140 applications from students wanting to be involved in the video project. After an interview and audition process the three student participants selected, Farrah Bulsara, Annabelle Li and Myles Marcus, worked collaboratively with Murnaghan and the Learning Commons’ partners to deliver five engaging scripts.
“A lot of planning was involved in getting the videos from pre-production to post-production. We worked as a team to develop and implement ideas – some that were over the top and later found themselves on the cutting room floor – that were entertaining while still communicating the intended message,” explains Marcus, a York student completing the final year of his Communications and Urban Studies double major.
Partnering with Learning Technology Services (LTS), filming of the Access to Success video series began in March 2012 and took five full days to shoot.
“I really enjoyed being a part of the scripting and filming process. It’s important that students know that writing instructors can help them draft an essay, librarians can provide research assistance, and learning skills instructors can help them manage their time effectively,” explains Bulsara, a grad of the Film Production Program. “If I had known these supports were available and so easily accessible I’m positive my coursework and assignments would have been easier to manage.”
Li, a student in the design program, added, “I hadn’t taken full advantage of the research, writing, or learning skills resources because I wasn’t entirely aware of their benefits. Working on these videos was the catalyst for me to seek advice and assistance from the Learning Commons. I hope these videos do the same for other students.”
The overarching goal for the project was to create engaging content that that could easily be shared and disseminated among peers on websites and in social networking sites.
Murnaghan believes these videos can also complement course curricula. “Many if not all faculty members require students to source academic or scholarly journals, write an essay, or manage conflicting academic priorities,” Murnaghan explains. “Faculty members can integrate one or all of the applicable videos into their course curricula and introduce support services that will help students achieve success – not just on that one assignment, but for the rest of their academic careers.”
The Access to Success video series can be accessed via the York University YouTube page.