Nordic Studies Online: Summer Update

The digi-leap project Nordic Studies Online has been mostly focusing on video production for our pilot modules, which we will try out within our courses at the University of Helsinki and Gdansk University throughout the fall semester. I summarized our video production experience and tips as below:

  • Training: We first scheduled the Unitube studio training in Alexandria with Mikael Kivelä, who also gave us some advice about technical equipment, which we wanted to buy. Thank you, Mikael, this was incredibly helpful!
  • Equipment: As we want to make videos also outside, we bought some basic equipment (mobile phone stabilizer, wireless microphone) to have a good audio quality in our videos.
  • Writing scripts: It is important to write a script before filming. Usually, we have a draft ready a few weeks before the filming, so the other team members can still give some comments and we can make final changes before the filming starts.
  • Filming: We are making short introduction videos (3-4 minutes) for our MOOC modules. Even though these videos are short, it is still a lot of text to remember, so during the filming we focus on smaller segments and then we edit them together. As I am responsible for the technical support during the filming, I noticed that our lecturers feel more comfortable in front of camera while filming outside rather than in a studio. For this reason, I always book enough time in the Unitube studio, so we can go through the segments several times. Please, be aware that the Unitube has been quite busy lately, as many teachers need to prepare their online lectures. I suggest booking the studio well in advance!
  • Post-production: Make sure that you have enough time for editing, adding visual effects and subtitles. We are discussing to hire a graphic designer, who would make our logo, which we could add in our videos’ intros and outros.

Filming with Andrew Newby in Hanko, 7 August 2020

The Nordic Studies Online is an international team of scholars from the University of Helsinki, Gdansk University and Aarhus University. Our colleagues in Aarhus can produce their videos with the support of the (Aarhus University) platform. In Helsinki, we continue our video production as planned and discussed above. However, the covid-19 pandemic impacted our video production plans with our Gdansk colleagues, who were supposed to make videos with the support of the Helsinki crew in Helsinki and in Gdansk, using the project equipment and Unitube studio. As travelling has been restricted, we were not able to support our Gdansk team members as we wanted to. In the end, we compromised – our Gdansk colleague Maja who is responsible for the Media module, wrote a script and then filmed her video using the Screencast-O-Matic. We will use this video for our fall try-out of the pilot modules; however, we will later remake this video in a studio for our actual MOOC course.

Jana Lainto 


Launching the Nordic Studies Online digi-loikka project

The Nordic Studies Online as a part of the digi-loikka project aims to create a digital learning platform about the Nordics. This project is a joint-initiative of several scholars from the University of Helsinki (Department of Cultures/Centre for Nordic Studies), University of Gdansk (Scandinavian Studies) and Aarhus University (Department of History), and also cooperates with the ReNEW research hub and with the online platform,

First NSO project meeting in Helsinki, 10 January 2020 (photo Maja Chacińska)

The NSO project was officially launched during the first project meeting in Helsinki on 10 January 2020. During this meeting we discussed possible forms, aims and objectives of our project and agreed to divide the project into two parts. The first aim is to develop a smaller scale, “pilot”, version of our MOOC course “The Nordics: Narratives and Practices of a Region”, which we will test with our BA and MA students at the University of Helsinki, University of Gdansk and University of Aarhus. This pilot course will enable us, the organisers, to learn how to use the MOOC platform and how to design and manage a smaller version of a MOOC course. We will collect feedback from our students, which will help us to further develop and improve our course accordingly. The pilot course will be launched in September 2020. The second aim is to develop a version of this MOOC course, which will be open for anyone who wishes to participate. This course will be aimed not only for BA and MA students, but also for professionals who would like to learn more about the Nordic working culture and anyone who is interested in the Nordics and themes such as Nordic cooperation, Nordic exceptionalism, Nordic cultures and societies. We will launch this course in September 2021.

The first meeting was followed by Digi-leap MOOC ABC workshop. This training was organised by the Educational Technology Services at the University of Helsinki and led by Sanna-Katja Parikka. During the workshop we discussed the MOOC platform, development of a course structure and types of assessments. The practical part of the workshop focused on designing the first draft of the MOOC course structure. We have been working on the course structure since this training and currently our course consists of 9 modules.

The project Technical Assistant, Jana Lainto, attended also the Moodle basic training in Viikki campus on 10 March 2020. This workshop introduced the most important tools for constructing a moodle course. Attending of the second training, Moodle & MOOC Clinic, is scheduled for 1 June 2020.

The scheduling of our second meeting, which was supposed to take place in spring 2020 in Aarhus, was bit challenging. The NSO team consists of 8 international scholars from different universities with different schedules and it was difficult to find a suitable date for everyone. In the end we planned the second meeting and training for 29-30 April 2020. Due to the corona virus outbreak, we unfortunately are not able to meet in Aarhus, however, we will proceed with this meeting and training online via a Zoom call during the same time as was previously scheduled.

Jana Lainto