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Lecturer Simon Thompson introduces the first day of UHI's virtual residential module...

So what’s the point of a residential module? What’s in it for 3rd year film students at the University of the Highlands and Islands? Why would a bunch of them from across Scotland (and beyond) have been so looking forward to making their way to Shetland for a 4 days on Multi Camera filming of Live Events?

Well, there’s a real sense of teamwork and camaraderie. It’s hard work, exciting and an incredible learning experience. With the UHI and its students spread far and wide, these opportunities are golden and not to be missed for any student. Who wouldn’t want that experience?

So, the residential started today… Except no one is in Shetland (apart from me - their lecturer)… The Live Event they were going to film on Thursday has been cancelled… and we’re all stuck in our homes.

But we are still having a residential.

Ok, a “non-residential” residential, but this module is still happening, and we are doing everything we can to give these keen students as good a learning experiences as we can… while stuck in our homes awaiting the apocalypse!

Lecturers have worked really hard these last few weeks and we’ve transformed the module into something we can deliver solely online. Admittedly we’re not entirely unfamiliar with this process. Most of the modules are delivered to at least some of the students online. But when you have a residential planned, it’s all about the opportunity for the students to be in the same place at the same time. So a certain amount of re-thinking has had to happen.

Anyway we made it. Day 1 has happened. It worked. The technology all worked. We spent a lot of the day on group video conference. Which worked. The internet is holding together. For now, and for everyone who’s had their Netflix or Disney+ quality downgraded to keep bandwidth available, it’s because of us - and others like us, who need to keep communicating. So thank you. From us!

It’s been all scene setting today. Background and theory and concepts, and far too much of me talking! Tomorrow is the students’ turn, as they’re going to share their wisdom with me as we look at a bunch of example videos of different concerts. This is always fun and I love getting to hear what they make of the various choices, and I always learn something new and get given a fresh perspective from listening to their critical analyses. I’m already enthused by their response so far and their positivity and willingness to adapt to these new circumstances. I’m really looking forward to a fun few days of group learning - non-residential style!

Simon Thompson

Shetland Arts deliver a range of music and film modules and courses in partnership with The University of the Highlands and Islands. Discover more about the Contemporary Film Making in the Highlands and Islands BA (Hons) course here.

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