Jane Batkin – Lincoln School of Film and Media – Senior Lecturer – Staff Profile
In June 2020, after a semester of lockdown, I decided to organise a live online Degree Show for the BA (Hons) Animation & VFX course, to celebrate the fantastic work that our students had achieved, despite the disruption of COVID. Students needed and deserved a morale boost after the year they had had, and I realised that there was a significant amount of creative work to showcase. It could be achieved, as a show, but not in the way we were used to.
After seeking advice from the LALT Team, I decided to host an online Degree Show using MS Teams. We had, at that time, been using Teams and Collaborate as teaching tools and learning resources for some three months, and I was assured by LALT that either platform would be able to cope with a live event attended by a substantial amount of people.
Compiling the showreel itself followed the same process as our normal face-to-face shows of previous years, but in 2020 it was hosted on YouTube, with a link to go live at the time of the show. I marketed the event throughout LSFM, inviting colleagues, and two animation industry guests, Peter Dodd and Denise Dean, to attend and give out awards. I ensured that everyone had the guest link to join, and I created a presentation slideshow to allow the team to announce awards for best work in each year.
I hosted the event on MS Teams on 12 June as part of the Festival of Creativity, and it was comprised of an introduction, a link to the live showreel on YouTube, and a scheduled time to return to the Teams room for the awards. The show was well attended by students and staff alike, with guests numbering around 60. Our industry guests commented on the good work and announced awards, and one of the third-year animation students gave a speech at the end of the show. Most of the students typed their comments into chat throughout and many of our students had joined the show from communal living areas, watching together on large screens.
Outcomes and benefits
The live show on MS Teams was incredibly popular and successful with students and staff alike, evidenced by the chat in the show and by emails I received after the event had finished. Its aim was to motivate the first and second year cohorts, to show them what the third years had achieved, working remotely. The films were a real inspiration to these years. The show was intended to be a live celebration of our students’ creativity in a turbulent year and to showcase the hard work that had been achieved despite the odds. The ability of guests to watch a live link and to then celebrate the work in the Teams room proved successful and we have been able to replicate our online live show again in 2021, with good results.
Microsoft Teams: For support on using Teams for teaching and learning please see this page: Resources Hub: Microsoft Teams – Digital Education Support (lincoln.ac.uk)