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Video, English students to promote NSF-funded university research through several platforms

Monday, Sept. 14, 2015


MANHATTAN — The National Science Foundation has partnered with a university video production class for the first time to produce and distribute videos communicating science to the public.

Tom Hallaq from Kansas State University's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, and Sarah Hancock, documentation technical writer in the university's Office of the Vice President for Research, have coordinated an effort to produce videos that highlight the work of Kansas State University researchers. Undergraduate students in the A.Q. Miller School and the English department, both in the College of Arts & Sciences, were matched with NSF-funded faculty researchers at the university for the semester.

Students in Hallaq's Audio/Video Production course, offered through the Miller School, will produce the videos. Students in Han Yu's Introduction to Professional Writing course, offered through the English department, will collaborate on video scripts and produce social media posts and news releases about the projects.

The Office of the Vice President for Research identified six different university NSF-funded projects that will be promoted. The objective is to train students to produce excellent materials while promoting the work of the university's NSF-supported researchers. The videos will also help NSF communicate the value of basic research.

"This collaboration gives our students a chance to get some solid real-world experience," said Hallaq, assistant professor of digital media. "Along the way they will also get their work noticed by one of the nation's most prestigious agencies with the possibility of national distribution."

When the videos are complete, NSF communications staff plans to distribute them through several NSF websites and broadcast outlets.

"With science key to addressing so many societal issues and impacting nearly every aspect of our lives, NSF believes strongly in the importance of communicating science to the public," said Cliff Braverman, audiovisual officer and executive producer in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at NSF.

"We're excited to see how the students use their skills and creativity to craft stories about some of the terrific NSF-supported research taking place at K-State, and we look forward to featuring their work on some of our Web platforms," he said.

Karen Burg, vice president for research at K-State, says the project helps students learn how research proceeds.

"It's great to highlight the excellent work our researchers are doing, but what's especially wonderful about this opportunity is that graduate students are working on the projects and undergraduates are working to understand and communicate who the graduate researchers are and what they do," Burg said.

"Integration of those populations helps both groups: It publicizes our grad students' efforts and gets undergrads fired up about possible career paths," she said.

More NSF researchers were interested in the program than the classes could accommodate this fall, so Burg is funding student internships in the spring 2016 semester to create more videos. All journalism students must complete an internship to graduate, so it's a good fit for everyone involved.

"The idea is to use this pilot program to foster more collaborations of this kind in the future," Burg said.

For more information about this project, contact Hancock at 785-341-1583 or sarhan@k-state.edu.

Sources

Tom Hallaq
785-532-3950
thallaq@k-state.edu

Sarah Hancock
785-341-1583
sarhan@k-state.edu

Websites

http://jmc.ksu.edu/ and
http://www.k-state.edu/research/leadership/

At a glance

Video production students and students from the English department at Kansas State University are teaming up to promote National Science Foundation-funded research conducted at the university for the NSF through a variety of media platforms.

Notable quote

"This collaboration gives our students a chance to get some solid real-world experience. Along the way they will also get their work noticed by one of the nation's most prestigious agencies with the possibility of national distribution."

— Tom Hallaq, assistant professor of digital media at Kansas State University