In the Fall of 2013, Robert Pringle, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, taught EEB 321, Ecology: Species, Interactions, Biodiversity and Society at Princeton. In conversations with his assistant in instruction, Tyler Coverdale, (a graduate student in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), the pair decided to try a new kind of multimedia assignment for the course. This assignment was modeled on stop-motion videos about evolution and biology made in the Dunn Lab at Brown University, under the direction of Professor Casey Dunn. Some of the Dunn Lab videos were later featured by Professor Dunn, in an article published in The New York Times. They are also published on Dunn’s CreatureCast blog.
The first offering of Pringle’s course in Fall 2013 (assisted by Coverdale and Matt Lutz) had 32 students. This year’s offering of EEB321, (assisted by research scholar Joshua Daskin and graduate student Jennifer Guyton), had 42 students. The combined results of two years of video projects have been uploaded to a dedicated YouTube channel. The videos produced for the course were used to satisfy part of the lab requirement for the course and each features a certain niche topic in animal conservation. Both this year and last, the students in the class worked in teams based on lab assignment.
In order to make the videos, Professor Pringle and his instructional team took advantage of the equipment and training opportunities offered by the New Media Center in Lewis Science Library, a teaching and learning lab of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. There, the students were able to use borrowed video equipment, still cameras, various audio equipment, a document camera, and video production software such as FinalCut Pro. Drawing tools, scissors, tape, and much ingenuity were provided by the student videographers. Instructional staff at the NMC as well as the McGraw Center’s Broadcast Center, were on hand to offer support to the student filmmakers, who quickly mastered the art of stop-animation photography.
Want to meet a woodrat? Click on video to watch.