Chriscore's Weblog

In Response to Video Projects | November 6, 2008

In Response to Group Filming
For our group project we decided to make a mockumentary about the rumored ghost of the English Building on the quad at the U of I.  Our group of four figured that none of us really knew anything about ghosts, ghost hunting, or the “paranormal” in general, so we thought it would be interesting project if we explored this field from a humorous and satirical fashion.  With the basic concept and themes in mind, we tried to plan out how we wanted our video to be perceived and the nature of the footage that we would collect.
Having worked on similar group projects before at this University, I had some preconceived notions about how the project in general would get down and eventually turn out.  There seems to be a widespread general stigma regarding group projects that require a significant amount of work to be done collectively outside of class because so many factors besides the actual work contributing to the project hinder to a great extent the entire collaborative process.  In thinking about the article, “Intertexts,” discussed in class, the problems considering collaboration in the article focus a lot on authorship, ownership, credit, and basically money.  I would say that the main problem facing collaboration in undergraduate study hides not within the issues of grades (credit, payoff), but rather with time.  In a professional context, the work being done is the singular priority of the parties involved.  That fact alone eliminates problems regarding ability and competence to contribute to a greater work.
In student group projects, the projects are almost always hindered by a plethora of nuisances generally unrelated to the work itself.  Schedules are almost always incompatible.  A quick solution might seem apparent, such as, “Just move our schedules around.”  The problem with this assertion is that they are schedules.  Schedules are made with the intention that they remain set for the sake of reliability.  Also, schedules are constructed around other schedules, and so on, and so on.  Work schedules depend on class schedules, and group project schedules depend on both of those.  Add another group project into the mix, and that project depends on three different factors solely related to time.
Fortunately in my situation, our group managed to get at least three out of the four members together at each meeting time in order to collect enough footage and content so that a coherent final product could be achieved in the end.  With a group project that involves video, or even media in general, the work cannot necessarily be divided into equal, quantifiable chunks that can be pieced together into what might be called a collaborative effort.  Collaborative work seems to more and more require a nonlinear progression of construction, where the workload cannot necessarily be allotted to set duration.  The work must be interwoven.  After filming half of our footage, we decided that none of it ended up having any significance towards what our goal was.  We needed to reconfigure how we were going to show our message without compromising it for the sake of time.  Projects such as this one seem to often require some trial and error.  Trial and error often leads to a better final product, but it also necessitates extension.  Luckily, sometimes an instructor will exercise some leniency for sake of quality work.  Regardless of the situation, important factors regarding the quality of the work get compromised for reasons outside of the work in an undergraduate setting.

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About author

Chris Magiet is a blog editor for TrainSignal Training, writing about the new things going on at TrainSignal. He brings news on training releases, industry updates, and more exclusive content. A recent Liberal Arts grad from the University of Illinois, Chris joined the TrainSignal team to support a great experience for the users of TrainSignal Training.

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