Discover Your Inner Geek!

Mashups and my final post

So first of all, THANK YOU Cheryl for this great course. You’ve shown me so much and I can truly say that I have learned alot and enjoyed the experience. I think that bringing fun, meaning and learning to people is a great gift and you have given us all that with this course. I now have some new tools to play with that will contribute to and enrich my work with students.

Although this is not a map mashup, it does combine many of my favorite things: Audio – TEDTalks, Visuals – graphics with a wordle look and video all combined to produce a good message. Have a look.

Another application of mashups that I’d like to pursue is an idea from an earlier post about mashups that referred to timelines. I think about how often I’ve heard graduating students say “If only I had known this when I started!” So I thought, what if we put together a timeline mashup with lessons learned or words of wisdom of graduating students. Things that they wish they’d done in first year through to graduation. It could connect new students to activities, programs and services they could benefit from sooner rather than later. I’ll have to work on it!

Video P.S.

I like this as an original use of video, which explains Richard Florida’s theory of the creative class:

I like how it uses video, voice-over, and art together. Kind of a mashup – does this count as my Week 10 reflection? 🙂

Chris G

Where to look

Video catchup

A couple of things about our experience making the video. It was really fun, and I was amazed that you could actually record quite a lot of video with a regular digital camera.

When I was speaking to the camera, I didn’t really think much about how I looked. Then when I saw myself, I was suprised, and not just because I don’t like seeing myself on video, nor because it’s still weird to hear my voice when it sounds so different in my own head. No, it was the fact that I was looking all over the place, just about everywhere but the camera. It’s very different from a workshop or a lecture, in which you try to make eye contact with individual members of the group. Here, your eye contact must be focused, either to the camera, or a little off to the side. So a useful tip is to make sure you focus on one person behind the camera or on the camera itself when you’re being interviewed for video. And if I’m doing a video, I’ll make sure to remind the subject to talk to me or to the camera.

Video is so ubiquitous, it seems obvious we should be using it more in our work. Here at U of T, I’ve seen Engineering, Innis College and the UTM Career Centre all use video really well, and I’m sure there’s more out there.

Thanks to YouTube, the amateur esthetic is the standard now, so there’s no reason to think we need expensive equipment and perfectly composed shots to make video, though we do want to achieve that oh-so-important feeling of “stately warmth”!

Chris G


Well, maybe if I had a lot more time and a lot more ingenuity, I could find that well-crafted video about student life. The truth, though, is that when I googled and youtubed videos about same, I found one of two things: slick promotional material, clearly produced by universities to sell their university to prospective students or choppy, angry, poorly filmed and depressingly, er, boring films by students with a gripe. I looked and looked and looked. But that’s all I found. Then I went to iTunes U and didn’t find anything about student life, but did find some nice things for National Poetry Month. I watched part of a video about the poet Linda Pastan: it was intelligent, aesthetically pleasing, fast-paced without being fragmented. I didn’t feel that I was being sold a bill of goods; I just felt, well, interested, engaged.

A Glimpse of a Student Working on his MFA Thesis

I found a well crafted video, Ian Wang Writing His MFA Thesis, that gives us, with a nice blend of humor and seriousness, a glimpse of a student working toward completing his MFA thesis.  I like the simplicity of the film.  The lighting is good.  The filmmaker doesn’t jump around very much, lets the subject speak.  The drama is the non-drama of writing–a guy working away (slowly) on his MFA thesis, with a goal of producing about 200 words a day.


My reflection in a video

Hello world

(I wonder if that will get me geek points…)

Well, I want to say that I have learned how to make a video! Yeeey! I decided to learn by doing and now I’m ready to share with you all my confused face while trying to make the video (and trying to stop filming). Check it out

It was fun, I actually want to try more and click on every button. I did it with IMovie.

I also want to share a link from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, it has short videos about leadership.



Found this article and video about how the University of Minnesota is successfully using videos. They use YouTube as a publishing tool.

A quote from the article:

“Anyone who’s part of the University of Minnesota, whether they’re students, staff, professors or alumni, can make their own video and then submit it to the University. If the University chooses, it’ll upload it to the channel. ” 

This last link is to the U of M video channel on YouTube. Very polished. The videos get many thousands of views.


Catch up on Videos

I found this fast entertaining video on student life at DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology) on YouTube. The images are fast moving and highlight students groups, student life programs and services, clubs, and activities. Interspersed are students with short sound bites of advice. It is probably the best I came across in my brief YouTube search. I think this one captured my attention because everything was fast and fun. Having a short attention span, I found myself quickly getting bored with many of the other videos I came across …… and I figure if I’m bored after 5 or 10 seconds what would that say about first year students?! This one was well done. Have a look.

Podcasting & Video

This GEEK stuff has really got my attention now. I came back from the video session yesterday and told everyone I could, with confidence, that two years down the line SGS will be using this technology to deliver a broad range of service to grad students and administrators alike – and the best part of it is that I get to be involved up to my ears.

Cheryl give me my GEEK diploma right now – cause I have seen the light.

I went through the podcast material rather quickly. Some of it was way too much text. Should have been in audio and I could have listened to it. However I have down loaded my personal kit on podcasting because even though we here at SGS are a year or two away from putting up our own podcasts – Audacity was just what I was looking for – for some personal applications. But hey – call it off-the-job training.

VIDEO week was a real eye opener too. A Vision of Student Life was quite rivetting example of what can be done relatively low tech. I passed it on and in return was directed to videos shot on people’s cell phones (I have to upgrade my cell now)

That’s when I saw the light. I realized that I didn’t have to have tons of expensive audio tech gear, or have to know everything, let alone do everything. Its already happening and I’m waking up on how to tap into it – or at least to start looking.

Perhaps someone can clear up a question I have though. Why is it that I could view A Vision of Students Today but was blocked from viewing the Class of 2008? When I try to run that video a pop up appears that certain plug-ins are blocked and I’m blocked from manually installing — as far as I know at least. HELP?????

Blogging & Videos

On the topic of media (web-media), I’m sharing some videos that are inspiring, unique, and excellent examples of the power of the internet as a communications source. I know we’ll be touching on video later in March, but I think this could get us thinking of the possibilities.

Where the Hell is Matt?

Matt travels to different locations around the world and videotapes himself dancing. He started dancing alone and created a website where he posted his videos ( He began posting the locations he was going to dance next, and soon found that the internet can create big connections in real life.

There are over 18 million hits on YouTube for this one video.

Playing for Change: Stand By Me

This video is an excellent example of how the internet can be used to pull people together and inspire them to create a better world.
To date there are close to 6 million hits on YouTube alone.

Did you know 2.0

Although it is a bit American-centric, I find this to be a good reflection for why we all do what we do here at the university. It really captures how technology has changed communication throughout the world, and how quickly we’re moving forward.

How to tell people they sound racist

(Thanks to Jude for this one)
I’ve used this twice now for training sessions with our residence student staff, as well as sent it to some people outside the university.
It’s a great example of how the internet can be used to educate.

Love to hear your thoughts and if you know of any videos that are inspiring or get people thinking.