Monday, 3 June 2013

ScHARR MOOC Diaries - Part XII: Designing an advert for the Health Inequalities MOOC

The challenge: “To design and produce a short advert for the Health Inequalities MOOC. It must be something that grabs people’s attention and, importantly, gets people to sign up to the Health Inequalities  MOOC”.

By boo lee [CC-BY-2.0 (http://
by/2.0)],  via Wikimedia Commons
Piece of cake right? Well, not quite.

Step one: Decide on your target audience 

Whilst we were all excited about the chance to demonstrate our creative flair, given the newness of the MOOC (i.e. we’re still deciding on the content) and the subject matter, we had some trouble deciding how best to pitch it. MOOCs are freely available to anyone – so who exactly are our target audience? Should we expect that anyone who is interested in undertaking the health inequalities MOOC will already have a basic understanding of key concepts and terms, or should we work on the premise that most people are completely new to it? Disagreements over this question led to a number of team discussions about the types of language that we could use: those of us who wanted to speak in sociological terms versus those of us who preferred a plain English approach as far as possible. In the end I think that we have gone for the middle ground.

Step two: Design and record 

The team hard at work recording voiceovers
As the Health Inequalities MOOC lead, Katie had the creative vision for the advert: Contrasting images of poverty and wealth with voice overs from the MOOC team members talking about what health and health inequalities mean to us and stating some powerful health inequalities facts and statistics. So with the storyboard decided, we met up on a Wednesday afternoon to record the voice overs. Dan talked us through the process – talking clearly (and very closely) into the microphone. Some of us took to it a bit more easily than others and I (Jill) have to admit that I certainly feel I am more of a behind the scenes person. Still after a couple of hours Dan reckoned we had enough quality material for him to take away and work some magic on.

Step three: Hand over to the technical staff for those finishing touches

Now the tech boys in our team had the difficult job of finding appropriate images to tell the story of our MOOC. We needed good quality images that depicted the health and social problems we wanted to flag up in our advert – images to highlight that ‘health inequalities’ is about real people suffering unnecessarily. Finding contrasting images of wealth and poverty was easy – but when we pieced these together, we realised that this doesn’t quite convey the complexity of the story we wanted to tell. Many of the images we had access to showed people living in real poverty – difficult to look at and yet horribly familiar from our TV screens and perhaps therefore, tainted with many other associations. How could we predict how our audience would react to these? Secondly, we had to get the music right…. What tone did we want to set? This is a serious subject so maybe something sombre, but we also wanted to inspire people to think that participating in this MOOC was a chance to join a movement for change. A difficult task indeed.

Step four: Review and reflect 

A few weeks later the finished advert was ready. So have we got it right? Well we certainly feel that it looks the part. However, we’ve had a few comments that it reminds people of a charity plea for donations (not quite what we are aiming for).

Jill & Katie

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