Mauricio Marrone and Murray Taylor are exploring storytelling in their International Business and Accounting classrooms, by creating topic-related animations, video interviews with business experts, and even ‘animating’ podcasts.
Murray: I have 500 students in my unit BUS 201, and Mauricio teaches over 600 in ACCG250. It’s important for us to cater for those large groups, and get the students interested.
Mauricio: We’ve produced 3 minute snippets relating to a range of topics, by employing an undergraduate student to create an animation. For example, here’s one video on China as an emerging market.
Murray: I have another topic on Foreign Exchange in my unit. We used an abstract animation to explain the concept, and then we talked about the real world perspective. We also did industry interviews, for instance one with Peter Meehan, the former Chief Financial Officer of Australia Post.
Murray: We are aiming for storytelling, rather than just presenting content. That means conveying the information in a way that’s accessible and students can relate to it. We really tried to get into the mindset of an undergraduate student.
Mauricio: We also learned a lot from making the China video. We are not the best story-tellers in the world and there is a lot more out there to rely on. It was our first crack at it.
So you’re also making videos for your lectures out of Podcasts?
Murray: Yes. We’re trying to build mental breaks into lectures – short, sharp, entertaining and kind of funny. We took 40 minute podcasts from a very well-known podcast series, cut them down to 3-4 minutes, and added animations.
Mauricio: These are some of the most listened to business or economics related podcasts in the world (i.e. NPR’s Planet Money). We captured the best bits and synthesised them in a way that’s easily accessible to students. We can’t show them on Teche unfortunately because we have an agreement with the podcast producers that these videos can be used only in lectures.
Murray: We want students to be excited about coming to the lectures, to see new material that is not in traditional textbooks. We’re trying to add value to the lecture. Students seem to be receptive – they laugh, they seem to be interested.
Mauricio: The idea is that the videos are not specifically tied to specific subjects. For instance we have one video about Bitcoin that could be used across all management subjects.
Murray: We also want to create a spark, to prompt the question “what can I do after this unit?” If you want to go further, you can. We’re trying to open those doors. Rather than set a reading, I’m trying to get students to listen to podcasts to get interested in what is happening in the field – so the lecture podcasts are kind of ‘gateway’ podcasts.
And let’s not forget the famous Muppet video, starring Murray…
Murray: I think this video applies to 80-90% of units!
Murray and Mauricio’s digital storytelling work was supported by a 2014 Macquarie University Learning and Teaching Enhancement grant. Look out for them at Learning and Teaching Week 2015.