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Services and Communities case study


Services and Communities case study

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									                                    Case Study Template Version 1.2

DVD Production and Skills for Life - Workers Education Association (WEA)

Summary or abstract

This DVD Production course was a pilot project undertaken by Harlech
College and part funded by ELWA (now part of the Welsh Assembly
Government). The aim of the project was to take a group of students
and offer them a new, practical, video/DVD production course,
accredited through the Open College Network (OCN).

The learners chosen for this project were a group of disaffected young
people (20-30), who had previously been expelled from school, along
with their support workers, and members of the project management
team. At the end of the project all eight learners received recognised
qualifications through the OCN.

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       1. Admin Functions

                o Learning & Teaching

Organisational Information
          Name:         Tudur Evans and Paul Richardson
          Job Title:    Workplace Learning Coordinator; ILT Champion
          Organisation: Coleg Harlech/WEA
          Address:      Bryn Menai, Holyhead Rd, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2JA

          Email:        p.richardson@fc.harlech.ac.uk
          Contact Phone: 01248 353254
          Maturity of project: Pilot Project


Holyhead on the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales is a major commercial port. It
has distinct areas of deprivation due to the declining number of industries
which were formerly important, most notably fishing. The Morawelon/ London
Road area is one of the most deprived areas both in economic and social
terms. The work described in this case study was part of a local regeneration
project funded by the Rank Foundation

Coleg Harlech WEA (Workers Education Association), offers a unique form of
education to adults in the community working in partnership with other
organisations to support adults looking to develop new skills and interests.

Students are encouraged to learn in a friendly and cooperative environment.
Equal opportunities are encouraged and students can help decide course

This informal, relaxed but committed approach to learning has proved so
popular that the WEA is now the largest provider of adult education in the UK.

The recent merger of Coleg Harlech and WEA (North Wales) has extended
the opportunities for students who can now learn in both community and
residential settings.

Coleg Harlech WEA is also involved in many work based learning projects.
The college’s aim is to bring relevant learning opportunities to adults wherever
they are located and whatever their circumstances.

Through the Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF1) the college supports those
people who are interested in starting their own business, or who are already
self-employed, including students who want to make plans for when they have
finished their studies.


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Within larger companies the college provides employees with the opportunity
to have tailor-made courses that take place within their workplace. Courses
ranging from Art to Philosophy encourage people to start learning with
colleagues in familiar surroundings.

This case study is about a pilot project run by Harlech College. The learners
chosen for this particular project were a group of disaffected young people
(20-30 years old), who had been expelled from school in their teens, along
with their support workers, and members of the project management team.
The aim of the project was to offer these students a new, practical, video/DVD
production course, accredited through the Open College Network (OCN).

         The aim of the project was to reintegrate a group of learners who had
          previously been excluded from school into mainstream education.

         These learners were to be encouraged to explore their own ideas from
          promoting the Communities First 2 project and to present these ideas in
          the form of a DVD.

         The project called upon the teaching hours of one tutor who also acted
          as the project developer.

             o The hardware and software requirements were as follows;

                     Sony Micro-DV camcorder
                     Canon Mini-DV Camcorder
                     2 Sony Digital8 Camcorder
                     Sony VideoPro HD Camera
                     2 standard photography-type tripods
                     2 Liquid pan tripods
                     2 interfit 500 W video lights (spot/backlights)
                     2 1000 W spot/floodlamps
                     2 Personal Computers + Firewire and DVD writer + 512
                       MB RAM
                     Pinnacle v 10

Coleg Harlech WEA, worked with a group of five disaffected young people,
(plus three others not in this category) from the local area, in order to provide
them with specific technical skills relating to DVD production. These skills
them enabled them to produce their annual report to the funding body in the
form of a DVD.

However, these skills were only part of the story - the aim of the project was
also to boost the confidence of the learners and to provide them with a
broader set of 'skills for life'.

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The course followed by these students was accredited through the Open
College Network (OCN) at level 2 and consisted of 3 units (Pre-Production;
Production, and Post Production). This meant that the formal success of the
project was assessed through students gaining recognisable qualifications.

Seven learners passed all 3 units and 1 learner passed 1unit. (This was not
one of the young people). This gave the learners a sense of their own

Evaluation was only undertaken at the end of the project and at present the
college are still evaluating the project. However, their initial feelings are that it
was a success.

The College say that they would like to continue to offer the course but feel
that there are staffing issues to overcome first. They feel that because the
pilot was taught and developed by a tutor who had clear aims and objectives
and was competent in the use of the production equipment, the project ran
reasonably smoothly.

Barriers & Enablers

   1. The project was hindered by an early decision to allow the different
      groups to choose the formats they worked in. For example some
      choose widescreen while others choose 4X3 screen size. This lead to
      technical difficulties when assembling the final product.

   2. The appointment of a facilitator for each session from within the group
      of young people was considered but in the end a member of the project
      team took on this role. It is possible (but not certain) that this group
      responded better, having been given the responsibilities that a
      facilitator would have undertaken.

   3. There were no technical issues other than the previously mentioned
      problem with the different formats being used by the students.

   4. Learners did not have access to a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
      as a means of communicating. This was overcome by the use of more
      informal and easily accessible means of communication via telephone,
      text and e-mail.

   5. Initial recruitment wasn’t a problem, although it was felt that this course
      was really only suitable for people who already possess a basic
      knowledge of IT.

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Impact, Outcomes & Sustainability

       o Learners.

               This project has shown how using technology has had a positive
                impact on students learning. Many of these students had
                previously been excluded from main stream school, yet all
                completed their course and achieved formal qualifications.

               It was felt that the learners have acquired greater confidence in
                their abilities in the use of ICT and other technologies.

               DVD’s were developed as part of the student’s portfolio of
                evidence. Each student was allowed to choose a topic of
                interest to them for the production of their video. These topics
                were then filmed over time and DVD’s were produced using
                video, sound, music and special effects.

               The loan of sophisticated equipment to learners, who might
                have been considered by many to be untrustworthy, allowed the
                students to feel valued and respected and gave their self
                esteem a valuable boost.

               Learners were assessed and accredited under the Open
                College Network Framework. Each learner produced a portfolio
                of their own work, which included the DVD which they had

               Learners grew in confidence and capability throughout this
                project. The fact that they were entrusted with sophisticated
                technology, and the careful fostering of the peer support
                network, really helped to promote a ‘can-do’ attitude amongst
                the learners.

Transferability / Portability
The college felt that this project is transferable within the organisation but
could quite easily be achieved in other organisations both regional and
nationally across all sectors.

Lessons Learnt
        The most important outcome from this project has been the successful
         completion of the course by all the disaffected young people. These
         people had previously been excluded from schools for a variety of
         reasons and they actually attend college on a regular basis and
         achieve formal qualifications at the end of the pilot project.

        If the course is going to be offered again there may be some staffing
         issues to address first. The college feels that there are very few tutors
         with the knowledge and skills to offer DVD production, at this moment

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         in time. Therefore it is felt that there would be a need for the college to
         invest in appropriate staff training to be able to offer this course to
         future students.

        The extended time between sessions was a valuable period for the
         both the learners and the teacher to reflect and develop their own

        Simple, cheap software and equipment are completely adequate for
         this type of course, providing that each of the learners has individual
         access to equipment.

        Where possible, a residential element should be included, in order to
         enhance peer support and experimentation with different techniques.

The loan of sophisticated equipment had a very positive effect on the
students, it made them felt that they were worthy of someone’s trust.
This resulted in all of the equipment at the end of the courses being
accounted for and in excellent condition.

                             Students who would normally have been excluded
                             from school on a regular basis produced some
                             good work which they could take pride in. This
                             achievement was reinforced by the students
                             receiving formal qualifications.

                             All the end of the project all of the learners were
                             motivated enough to express an in interest in
                             further coursed at the college. To date one of the
                             learners is enrolled onto a video production course
                             at level 2. The other learners are still looking at
                             which courses will meet their individual needs and
                             may enrol at a future date.

                             The groups tutor said ‘this course really brought
                             together learners from a wide range of
                             backgrounds.’ He then went on to say that ‘it was
                             a lot of fun to teach this particular group of

Links and addenda
Source information, references and supporting documentation


Many thanks are due to Cadi Evanson for her hard work and support
throughout the project, and to The Rank Foundation for financial support.

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Keywords for search
DVD, DVD Production, Disaffected learners, young people, technology, e-learning,
community project , video

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