PowerPoint music video assignment

Length: 2-3 minutes

Value: 100 points

I am asking you to make a music video as the first step in writing with music and writing about new literacy issues.  The genre is probably familiar to most of you, and quite flexible in terms of its style, conventions, purpose, etc.  By giving you a familiar and flexible genre to work with, I hope that you will be able to see, think about, and try-out the "new literacy" issues you will be reading about, then writing about. 

I am asking you to use PowerPoint to put together a music video because PowerPoint is easy to use (relative to video editing), you are likely to use PowerPoint in other classes, and because a finished PowerPoint presentation will likely fit on a 250 MB zip disk or CD; a video would need to be burnt on to a DVD or CD. 

The actual content of this music slide show is wide-open.  I will show you examples that range from fairly abstract combinations of sounds and shapes to tribute videos related to 9/11 to personal stories told through PPT.  My hope is that you have fun with the assignment and develop some of the following skills.

General new literacy skills (some of which might seem old):

  • Finding or making relevant images and text—improving your search skills.
  • Combining images, text, and music into a coherent whole—practicing synesthesia.
  • Visual thinking and expression—figuring out how words and images go together, how you make transitions with images, etc.  
  • Aural thinking and expression—figuring out how music and sound can work effectively with images and words to support, enhance, or extend the expressive possibilities of your music video. 

PowerPoint skills:

  • Working with templates, or better yet, designing your own template or creating a unique look for each slide (not wizard).
  • Importing images (clip art and pictures from files).
  • Using the drawing tools.
  • Using animations.
  • Co-ordinating transitions and moving elements.
  • Working with music files: converting them from mp3 to WAV files, embedding them in PowerPoint.
  • Saving a PowerPoint Presentation as a show.

Technical tips:

  • Start by going to the Sponge Website (http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/sponge/) and select the project "Creating a Slide Show or Music Video in PowerPoint."  View the various help documents at this site.
  • Consider using images as backgrounds for each slide: doing so will automatically size the image, and allow you to write on top of the image easily. 
  • You can convert mp3 files to WAV files by purchasing fairly inexpensive software on the web (http://www.audioutilities.com/mp3-wav-converter/mp3-wav-converter.htm), use Sound Forge (available in IACC 150), or use the freeware Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/).
  • If you link mp3 files to your PPT file, just remember that you will need to put the mp3 file and the PPT file in the same folder, and then turn in the whole folder (either zipped and emailed or burnt to a CD).
  • Look for or ask for help throughout the project: the STS staff will be able to help you, you can find various tips and tutorials online (use your search engines), and your classmates will be a great resource.

Criteria: The finished product is not as important as the process of trying this video out, so the criteria emphasize time commitment, experimentation, and a just a bit about execution.

  1. Evidence of time commitment.  I am giving you a week and a half to do this assignment, and based on my time commitment formula [two hours outside of class (9) for every hour in class (4.5)], a complete effort would be about 13 hours.  A good effort would be 10 hours, an adequate effort would be 7 hours, and a minimal effort would be 4 hours.  A well-developed project is the most obvious way to show this time commitment, but you can also show it in the form of draft files, files for collected images, time spent at the Technology Learning Center (ask for a note from the TLC employee), etc.  If you are particularly skilled at PPT, and can produce an excellent project in under 10 hours, consider helping out those without as much experience.
  2. Evidence that you have experimented with a wide range of skills and features (see lists above): use a variety of kinds of images, experiment with text (although be aware of the limitations of font types), try out different transitions, etc. 
  3. Evidence that you understand some of the concepts of visual communication we cover in class or that are covered in Call to Write, Chapter 19. 

I will ask you to assess your own work on this project, and while I will not necessarily give you the grade you request, I will talk to you if I don't see the evidence of effort, experimentation, or understanding of visual communication.  I might even give you a better grade than you ask for; occasionally students are too modest to ask for the grade they deserve.