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Harvest Time: Scripting


Your intro video is important. And while you don’t want to just read from a script (you don’t want to sound boring!), you do want to have one written down to make sure you’re covering these questions that your prospective students are likely to have. Write up your script in a new Google Doc so you can share it with the Studio. Consider these as you start writing the script to your introduction lecture.

“Is this the right course for me?”

As an instructor, you want to reassure your students that they’ve made the correct choice in enrolling in your course. To do this, imagine completing the sentence: “I built this course for…”

Think about the target student you have in mind when creating your course. The intro lecture is the place to describe that student.

“Is this course covering the right stuff?”

Students don’t know what they don’t know, but they have a sense of what they want to achieve. They are looking to you to tell them what they need to know. Students need a plausible explanation of how the material you cover in your course is going to help them achieve their goals. You don’t have to make a case like a lawyer (unless your course is on becoming a lawyer!), but you do have to articulate how the sections and lectures you’ve created are going to guide your students through the knowledge and skills they are looking to acquire.

To achieve this in your intro lecture:

  • State your course goals
  • Describe where your course fits in with your target students’ larger goals
  • Give a brief overview or walkthrough of the curriculum to demonstrate that it covers all the needed material
  • Focus on the most important things your students will do in the course and how what they learn is relevant to them

“Are you the right instructor to learn from?”

If you’ve got some accolades in your field, now is the time to show them off! Students care about your experiences and can feel more engaged when they feel like they’re learning with a real expert. In some cases, this could be a degree, but in others, it’s simply just a matter of showing some of the successful projects you’ve created. For example, with baking, it would be helpful for the student to see 1) something you’ve baked and 2) someone eating your creation (and enjoying it).

Your intro lecture is the best place for you to demonstrate that you understand your students, their frustrations, and their aspirations. Don’t put distance between you and your students by describing all of the accomplishments you’ve made that they haven’t. Instead, demonstrate that you remember what it was like to grapple with the concepts you’re now teaching, and that you know how to help them learn effectively. This will earn you all the credibility you need.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt if you can make them laugh a little in the process! You don’t have to be too serious here – just relatable.

“Am I going to be bored?”

Let’s face it, sometimes learning feels boring. But it doesn’t have to be! That’s where you come in.

After addressing the 3 questions above, it’s time to inspire your students. One of the easiest ways to inspire students is to share your enthusiasm for what they are learning. You don’t have to sing and dance (unless your course is on singing and dancing!), but you can’t drone on.

Find the joy you have for the topic you chose to make a course on, and share it with your students. If you find something puzzling, express your curiosity. If you think something is particularly noteworthy, make a big deal about it and share your perspective on why.

If nothing else, remember one key fact: If you enjoy teaching, your students are far more likely to enjoy learning.

The Helpful Nature of Scripts

Making a script first will also give you a sense of timing. Are you spending too much time on establishing your credibility? Too little time on addressing student/course fit? Writing the intro script is a great way to make sure you cover all the key questions above, and it’s a way for you to remind yourself just how cool your course really is!

The other reason why you should write an intro script is because you want to make a live action video for your introduction. Establishing credibility and trust is really hard if students never get to see your face. Nothing says: “I believe in this course” like putting your face on screen and describing why, so let’s get started!

Post for Points!

You’ll want to post this back in the Studio so you can get feedback. Follow these steps!

  1. Write your Script, preferably as a shareable Google Doc.
  2. Tag your post with #HarvestTime in the Studio.
  3. If you have a partner, tag your them in your post so they can check out your work and give you feedback. Be sure to give them feedback when they tag you. (If you can’t find them, consider adding them as a friend on Facebook if you haven’t yet, even if it’s just for this exercise!)
  4. Use this rubric to grade your partner’s work (you can also use it to grade your own work). Please try to do this within a few days so your partner can benefit from your thoughts!
  5. Post your Script by October 11th to earn 10 points!

Take a deep breath – you’re just about ready to start recording. Time to read the next post on Filming Your Introduction Lecture!