This project was conceived in late 2019, when Doug, WI+RE Co-Founder, shared a bus ride with Christine Holten, director of the UCLA Undergraduate Writing Center (UWC). They got to talking about possible ways for WI+RE to collaborate with Peer Learning Facilitators (PLFs) from the UWC. We’ve worked with the UWC before in tutorials such as Writing for Your Discpline, but have not had the chance to collaborate with the students who provide writing advice at the UWC.
We decided to make a series of videos similar to our Reading Strategies series. PLFs would share a favorite writing tip in their authentic voice. And we would add interactive questions to the videos using H5P in order to create a more engaging learning experience.
We made an enormous list of potential writing tips which we shared with the UWC. They narrowed it down to four, and assigned a PLF for each topic.
We sat down with each PLF in an endearingly musty underground office to chat about their topic of choice. It was inspiring to see how each PLF had their own communication style and method of giving writing advice.
Based on that conversation, we created and revised a list of learning outcomes for each Writing Strategies video. Then, we wrote a first draft of the scripts and sent them to the respective PLFs, who revised and reworded each script to make sure it sounded like them. After several rounds of feedback from PLFs and stakeholders, we were ready to film!
Our original plan was to meet the PLFs in person and record them professionally using our cameras and microphones. Then, we would intercut their video with animated sequences created using Hype Pro, our animation software of choice. But after UCLA’s transition to remote learning, we could not meet in person, and we no longer had access to our animation software.
We quickly adapted to then new situation. The PLFs recorded themselves at home with their webcams and cell phone cameras. We created the animations using Google Slides—we were pleasantly surprised with the results!
The Writing Strategies series is not over yet! As remote learning continues, we hope to make more Writing Strategies videos to assist learners who want to improve their writing at home.