Production of Educational Videos: MIT’s Experimental Study Group Premiers New Subject, CMS.333/ES.333

Spring 2014 "Production of Educational Videos" students

Spring 2014 “Production of Educational Videos” students

This past spring, Experimental Study Group staff members Graham Ramsay and I launched a new subject, CMS.333/ES.333, “Production of Educational Videos: Skills for Communicating Academic and Professional Content.”

As the title suggests, this subject taught students the fundamentals of video production, with a primary focus on educational content targeted for specific populations. The intention of the subject is to give students agency over the skills needed to create compelling video content that can serve them broadly throughout their academic careers.

The class took a soup-to-nuts approach covering a range of topics: identifying problems of interest to teach; analyzing current educational video, preparing proposals; working through concepts of effective video presentation (including the creation of animations, original video footage, and curation of existing footage); scripting and storyboarding; and video editing. The class took students through several short, complete video production cycles, teaching the skills that would be developed for their final projects. These final videos of 6-10 minutes in length were presented in a gala open to the entire MIT community on May 7.

The final class projects covered an impressive array of topics from the chemistry of bread making, to an introduction of the Wheatstone Bridge as a tool for measuring resistance, to an introduction and overview of cosmology.

The class incorporated regular peer-to-peer feedback throughout the semester, drawing on each student’s experiences with the video exercises to offer insight and constructive suggestions on how to develop and improve their work. In addition, social media feedback was also solicited, using YouTube comments features to collect additional end-user data.

The final class videos are available as a YouTube playlist. Our students welcome and encourage your comments.

Originally posted at

Dave Custer

About Dave Custer

Dave Custer has been teaching hands-on, interdisciplinary subjects for MITs Experimental Study Group and Writing Program for 30 years. His research is the testing and evaluation of equipment used in rock climbing and mountaineering.


Share this Post