Professors often need students to view an entire mainstream Hollywood movie as a course requirement. Some traditional solutions that faculty have found to provide access to movies include:
- reserve a copy in the Library
- require students to buy the DVD
- point students to Netflix or the local video store
In some cases the title may be obscure, older, or otherwise hard to find. The NI recently helped adjunct Communications faculty Katy Roybal provide student access to a movie in a new and exciting way. She needed students in her online Conflict Resolution course to watch the entire film entitled, “Ordinary People” filmed in 1980. It was critically acclaimed and included big name stars, but it was still difficult to find in video stores.
Digital Campus, a newer product from industry leader Swank Motion Pictures Inc., provides access to over 18,000 film titles with a viewer that integrates directly into course management systems. Swank has been around since 1937 and is the largest non-theatrical distributor of movies in the industry. They represent most, but not all of the major film studios (Fox being a notable exception).
There are other benefits to using Digital Campus (DC) besides convenience. DC provides an interactive feature integrated into the movie viewer that allows the professor to custom-build a lesson plan around the movie, pointing the student to specific sections of the movie, embedding notes, questions, other documents, and gathering comments from students. Plus the instructor is assured of equal access among students (high speed internet connection required of course) and students have the convenience to view anytime and multiple times.
You buy the service “by-the-title” relatively inexpensively. Roybal’s film cost $125 for her course section and it can be used for a full calendar year. The movies are higher quality without needing excessively high network bandwidth and the system is highly available.
Of course you can still navigate the maze of copyright requirements and exceptions as it applies to the educational use of media such as ”fair use” and the “Teach Act“. If you follow “fair use” guidelines carefully you can show short excerpts of films from publicly available sources such as YouTube. Also, many movies and government documentaries are in the public domain.
Let us know if we can help you with any of your course media needs: email@example.com 405.425.1850