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Rationale for video

By Steve Draper,   Department of Psychology,   University of Glasgow.

This page is to document the design rationale for a video about EVS (Electronic Voting System) use.


Our purposes in making the video "An example of using the PRS voting equipment" showing the statistics class tutorial were:
  1. To show the reality of us using EVS for people who can't be there when a class is actually running.
  2. To do something my website doesn't for prospective clients: give them some sense of what it all feels like in practice. Hence
  3. Sneak in some direct evidence from interviews as well as just showing it in use. I.e. some evaluation, not only demonstration.
  4. Bring out the special features of this class, rather than of EVS use in general. These were:

The main issue, as brought out in Quintin's comments below, is that being realistic, which is good for clients who are already serious about seeing what is involved in practice, is in tension with making a video that is both interesting to watch, a general introduction to PRS, and perhaps also communicates as many points as possible about the subject as a whole. This edit of this video went for the realism, but really would need to be re-edited to be a good (standalone) introduction.

Critique / possible re-edits

Comments from Quintin

Here are some comments from Quintin.


  • The quality of the presentation was very good - by this I mean the video work, editing etc. I liked the fades and the text over at the start, all of it really.
  • It clearly shows how the system works and one typical way in which it might be used - your major purpose in making it.
  • I loved the clips at 27:12 and 27:25 of two blokes and two girls respectively thinking, discussing and then answering - I thought these showed well how the system promoted processing/discussion - shame these weren't in the trailer.
  • As I said, the trailer was extremely useful in a seminar I gave for showing the major aspects of the system in a very short space of time.

    I wouldn't say worst, rather, the bits that struck me or puzzled me. The main one of these undoubtedly is how little interaction is portrayed in the film. It doesn't appear that PRS has promoted discussion, instead there seem to be many long silences, and many shots of quiet students. I guess they do all look attentive though. This is why I liked the two shots above so much - they really showed engagement through discussion. There probably are other instances, yet these ones just stood out to me.

    I wasn't convinced the third question was necessary, since it was very similar in nature to the second, apart from that it demonstrated that the students were doing well, keying in John's harder question. But as a viewer I was a little bored by it.

    Programme notes and discussion
    The notes were a useful intro on what to expect, but I didn't find them too easy to use alongside the DVD as it was running, and also not very necessary.

    I think the question here is one of familiarity. I of course didn't really need the notes, as I knew about the context already. But they'll certainly be necessary for others.

    However, I didn't know the stats material being covered because I've never taken a stats course of any kind. This made the film harder to watch, interestingly, or cut me out a bit, because I couldn't play along with the questions - make my own guess, see how I did etc. Bringing me into the experience in that way might improve the viewer's experience (why do folk enjoy Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?). There's a problem here of course since all films of real use are going to be subject specific (one assumes), and so non-subject folk will find the questions hard/meaningless. My unfamiliarity with the material made it hard to hold the question in my mind while the response options were revealed. It frustrated me a bit, and oddly made me think John wasn't doing a very good job (although I'm sure in context he is doing just fine!).

    I wondered whether you could make more of the quiet parts of the film - there are a number - by including comments in the form of text. For me, this would be embedding the programme notes into the film itself. An easy example is to make a comment about the waiting time - one to two minutes - while students answer, by saying that lecturers have found it useful thinking time, or time to talk to one or two students or, or, ... Another would be a comment about student feedback that the breaks are good for concentration. What I'm saying is that much of what is we now know about handset use could be incorporated into the presentation itself, since I perceive a few slow bits.

    The use of peer discussion/instruction in Q4/5 is against most of the literature I've read on this kind of use - Mazur, Novak, Boyle and others. Most of them indicate that it's only worth using peer discussion when the split between right/wrong is no greater than 30/70 - ie at least 30% of students need to have got it right. In this use, only about 5-10% of the class got the question right. In fact, this was an even more subtle interaction, because John actually asked them to consider a different question in their discussion from that on the board, and to use the result to influence the result to their first - he asked them to talk about "What value does Cramer's V statistic take?" rather than directly about the question. I'm not sure if the students would have picked that up, and might rather have just attempted to justify their answer. Don't know what this means exactly - but it's an interesting observation! John's comment/question was leading and helpful, but I'm concerned that they may not have really picked it up. This all came over to me in the relatively quiet class discussion. Well it seemed a little quiet to me. You only had this one opportunity I know, but in a future version, it might be nice to get a more intense discussion.

    That's another example of a use of captions in the film - one could emphasise the point that Stats 1C is a quiet class who don't interact much, and that the feedback (you could give stats) shows that the class do gain from having the system there. And that in other class, students are more forthcoming with student-lecturer discussion after a vote.

    I see the captions as a cheap way of increasing the information content in the film for viewers. It doesn't require any further filming, just some text box overlays on the existing edited work, in the quieter parts of the presentation.

    The examples of use in the film really amplify what the students sometimes say - that the lecturer gets the most out of it - whilst minimising what the students get. The students don't look enthralled in the film, and John says in the interview that whilst "I hope the students get something too...", he finds that the information for lecturers is the most useful. This is mitigated only to some extent for me with the student interviews - in that they do state that the handsets are useful, but not very articulately, apart from one girl. She's good.

    So, in summary:

    Possible re-edits

    Alternative types of EVS video

    Future plans

    We'd like to have about three contrasting uses on film. Probably they would all fit on a single DVD.

    So ideally the set would range over:

    More realistically, probably plan to film Jim Boyle's class, and one of Quintin's; and search for a non-science class.

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